The newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has already fulfilled one of his promises.
After weeks of contentious hearings, the Senate voted to confirm the polarizing nominee Saturday evening. And Kavanaugh was already on the job Sunday morning with the court’s first-ever all-women team of law clerks by his side, The New York Times reports.
Even before sexual assault allegations rocked his confirmation process, concerns swirled around Kavanaugh’s stance on women’s right.
Specifically, Democratic senators feared he would provide the court with a conservative majority that could facilitate the rolling back of Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh tried to counter those concerns at his first round of confirmation hearings, touting that he had started to take action to address the underrepresentation of women among law clerks after reading a 2006 article in The New York Times noting that only seven of 37 Supreme Court clerks were women.
“A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “In my time on the bench, no federal judge — not a single one in the country — has sent more women law clerks to clerk on the Supreme Court than I have.”
He also said he had four female law clerks ready to work for him “on a moment’s notice,” which would make him “the first justice in the history of the Supreme Court to have a group of all-women law clerks.”
Those four women — Kim Jackson, Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy, and Sara Nommensen — were at the Supreme Court on Sunday, aiding Kavanaugh ahead of his first case hearings this week, the Times details. Jackson will become one of three black law clerks working at the Supreme Court this term. She has previously worked for Kavanaugh, along with one of the other black clerks, per The Washington Post.
Kavanaugh will kick off his Supreme Court career Tuesday with a case about crimes involving firearms.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose vocal and impassioned support for Brett Kavanaugh helped secure his confirmation, told Fox News that Democrats’ attacks on the incoming Supreme Court justice made him more “pissed” than he had ever been in his life.
Graham also told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that he had “never campaigned against a colleague in my life.” He added: “That’s about to change.”
During a dramatic Judiciary Committee hearing in September, Graham seemingly energized Kavanaugh with a fiery condemnation of Democrats’ tactics, which included questioning Kavanaugh about vague slang references in his high school yearbook.
“Boy y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it,” Graham yelled at Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee. “I hope the American people can see through this sham.”
“I’m happy because the effort to humiliate and railroad a man I’ve known for 20 years, who’s never been banned from a mall, unlike Roy Moore, failed,” Graham told Wallace, referring to the failed Alabama GOP Senate candidate who was accused of sexual misconduct. There were unconfirmed reports he had been barred entry from a local mall for menacing behavior.
“I’m happy that those that tried to destroy his life fell short,” Graham continued. “I’m glad those who tried to overturn the rule of law and replace it with mob rule lost. I’ve never been more pissed in my life.”
He added: “I voted for [Justices Sonia] Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagen; I would never have done this to them, this was character assassination, this was wanting power too much. To the extent that I came to the aide of this good man and helped defeat this debacle, I am happy as a clam.”
In the hours since Kavanaugh’s confirmation, top Democrats have suggested the issue of the uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegations won’t soon go away.
On Saturday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced she planned to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain documents related to the FBI’s supplemental probe of Kavanaugh, which senators said showed no corroboration of the decades-old sexual misconduct allegations against him. FBI background checks on judicial nominees have traditionally been kept confidential so that only senators, White House officials, and certain aides can view them.
“In purposefully limiting the FBI investigation, it is clear the Republicans were not seeking the truth,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in a statement. “They were seeking cover to do what they wanted to do anyway. To add insult to injury, they blocked the public’s access to the report.”
Responding to those and other efforts, Graham told his Democratic colleagues, “If you want to pick judges, then you need to win the White House.”
Graham added that he planned to play golf with President Trump on Sunday. The president has repeatedly praised Graham for hitting back hard against what he has characterized as Democratic smears. Meanwhile, critics have charged that Graham is trying to raise his profile for a potential position in the Trump administration.
Also on “Fox News Sunday,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Kavanaugh’s confirmation was among his proudest moments in the Senate. He also noted that this has been an “extraordinarily accomplished Congress,” owing to its record-setting pace of judicial appointments.
Republicans under McConnell have already seated two Supreme Court justices and 26 federal appellate judges in the past two years alone, with several more planned in the coming weeks.
McConnell also emphasized that Republicans have never engaged in a character-based “search-and-destroy” mission against appellate judge Merrick Garland.
Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court by then-president Barack Obama in 2016, but Republicans announced they would not consider his nomination during the president’s lame-duck last year in office. Garland lacked the votes for confirmation in the majority-Republican Senate.
“The Senate’s not broken,” McConnell said. “And we didn’t attack Merrick Garland’s background and try to destroy him. We didn’t go on a search and destroy mission. We simply followed the tradition in America, which is that if you have a party of a different – a Senate of a different party than the president, you don’t fill a vacancy created in a presidential year. That went all the way back to 1888.”
He concluded: “I agree with Chuck Schumer. This has been a low-point in the Senate. I have a different view about who caused the low-point.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 8th, 2018