Brett Kavanaugh isn’t qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.
He’ll likely be confirmed anyway, but the fact bears repeating. Kavanaugh mischaracterized evidence and very likely lied repeatedly under oath while responding to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations. When he lashed out at a Democratic conspiracy orchestrated to destroy his nomination and good name, revealing the reactionary, partisan judge he truly is.
But concerns about Kavanaugh’s instability, inexperience and partisanship span back at least a decade. In fact, some elected leaders talked about them pretty openly. Journalist Eoin Higgins compiled a series of quotes from Democratic senators about Kavanaugh during his nomination for the Washington, D.C Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2006. After combing through Senate speeches and questionnaires, he noticed some familiar-sounding comments on Kavanaugh’s abilities and politics.
“I knew that he’d gone through this process before, and several people have mentioned [recently] that he might’ve perjured himself back then,” Higgins says. “I found there were a lot of similar reactions to Kavanaugh’s testimony and his nomination [in 2006].”
Some of the quotes indeed sound as if they were spoken yesterday. Several Democratic senators noted Kavanaugh’s lack of experience on the bench. Following his 2006 testimony, the American Bar Association lowered Kavanaugh’s rating as a federal judicial nominee from “well qualified” to “qualified.”
Kavanaugh’s overt partisanship was also a major concern for Senate Democrats in 2006. Kavanaugh served on George W. Bush’s legal team in the early 2000s and eventually became the president’s staff secretary. He also worked under Ken Starr during the latter’s famous Clinton investigations in the late 1990s. After his politicized rant before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday (during which he used the term “Clinton revenge”), it seems like nothing changed. Republicans saw Kavanaugh as a reliable conservative vote, just as they do today.
“His appointment to the D.C. District Court [in 2006] was a partisan exercise in the first place,” Higgins says. “They were just trying to get somebody with his views on the court.”
Democratic senators delayed his nomination for almost three years. They weren’t just worried about inexperience and partisanship. They also noted his troubling tendency to dodge questions or ignore them entirely—something that sounds achingly familiar after his testimony last Thursday.
During his testimony in 2006, Kavanaugh denied selecting partisan judges on behalf on the Bush White House and being involved in the administration’s use of torture. But as Higgins notes—with CSPAN video evidence—there’s a pretty good chance Kavanaugh perjured himself.
Christine Blasey Ford’s extremely credible allegations against Kavanaugh should be disqualifying. So too should his potentially perjurous statements about his drinking and behavior in high school and college.
But even a brief look into Kavanaugh’s past proves his success is based in political connections and naked partisanship. All those pieces add up to a judge who shouldn’t be where he is in the first place.
“Kavanaugh was supremely unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, even before any of these allegations of sexual misconduct and assault came out,” Higgins says. “I think it’s important to separate those two things.”