Judge Brett Kavanaugh is Stunningly and Totally Qualified for This Job

‘So, let’s reclaim this moment for what it should be -- a chance to elevate a stunningly talented and impressive jurist to an important office for which he is so well-qualified. So completely and totally qualified. A golden opportunity to give our great nation precisely the kind of brilliant, fair-minded, and collegial Supreme Court justice that the Court deserves.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

“The Senate is considering the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. When the noise fades, when the uncorroborated mud washes away, what’s left is the distinguished nominee who stands before us. An acclaimed judge whom peers and colleagues praise in the strongest terms.

“A jurist whom the American Bar Association awarded its very highest rating, unanimously well qualified. Here’s what the ABA says it takes to earn that designation. Quote: To merit a rating of “Well Qualified,” the nominee must be at the top of the legal profession in his or her legal community; have outstanding legal ability, breadth of experience, and the highest reputation for integrity; and demonstrate the capacity for sound judicial temperament.

“This is the nonpartisan test that my friend the Democratic Leader – among others – used to call the gold standard. Judge Kavanaugh passed with flying colors. To be clear, this seal of approval comes from the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary -- an independent entity within the organization. Even after the ABA’s president tried to play politics with the nomination last week, the Standing Committee reaffirmed its rating yet again. Unanimously well-qualified. That’s Brett Kavanaugh.

“So, how did we end up where we are today? How did we get here? How did we get from a chorus of expert praise and professional respect to wild tales of violent gangs, sexual assault rings, fistfights on boats in Rhode Island harbors, and the possibility of – get this – an argument in a college bar? Several weeks ago, a confidential allegation of misconduct from nearly 40 years ago was leaked to the press. Since then, other allegations have poured forth. Many were just patently ridiculous. A feeding frenzy of ridiculous accusations.

“Well, while some cheered on the feeding frenzy for political purposes, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and his staff rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They promptly investigated the varied allegations that materialized at the last minute. Chairman Grassley re-opened the public hearing so Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh could speak directly to these claims under oath.

“That was after he offered Dr. Ford the option to tell her story at any place of her choosing, either here or in California; either in public or in private; either with staff or with Members. An offer that, according to Dr. Ford’s testimony, was seemingly never actually communicated to her by her lawyers, despite a professional requirement to do so. And now, of course, the FBI has completed a supplemental background investigation and delivered its results to the Senate.

“This is now the seventh time the FBI has thoroughly reviewed Judge Kavanaugh’s background. Seven FBI investigations. So -- what have we learned? What do the facts and the evidence tell us after seven FBI investigations? The fact is that these allegations have not been corroborated. None of the allegations have been corroborated by the seventh FBI investigation. Not in the new FBI investigation, not anywhere. None of these last minute allegations have been corroborated, as is confirmed by the seventh and latest FBI investigation.

“As Chairman Grassley stated this morning, neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations. No backup from any witnesses – including those specifically named as eyewitnesses by the people who brought these allegations in the first place. Let me say that again: no backup from any witnesses – including those specifically named as eyewitnesses by the people who brought these allegations

“In addition, one person has completely recanted their whole wild story. Another accuser went on television and backpedaled from many of their own ridiculous charges. So the facts do not support the allegations leveled at Judge Kavanaugh’s character. Instead, many of the facts actually support Judge Kavanaugh’s strong, unequivocal denial, which he repeatedly stated to committee investigators under penalty of felony. Which he firmly restated under oath last Thursday before the full Committee and the American people. Which aligns with the testimony of hundreds – literally hundreds – of character witnesses who have known him over the years.

“For goodness sake, this is the United States of America. Nobody is supposed to be guilty until proven innocent in this country. The Senate should not set such a fundamentally un-American precedent here. Judge Kavanaugh’s right to basic fairness does not disappear just because some disagree with his judicial philosophy. Our society is not a place where uncorroborated allegations of misconduct from nearly 40 years ago—allegations which are vigorously disputed—can nullify someone’s career or destroy their reputation. Is that what the Senate’s going to be known for? Your nomination comes up here and we destroy your reputation. Is that what the Senate is going to participate in?

“So, above the partisan noise, beyond the shameful spectacle which is an embarrassment to the Senate, what will endure are the actual facts before us. The actual facts. Upon reviewing them, only one question is left for us to answer: Is Judge Brett Kavanaugh qualified to serve on the Supreme Court?

“Well, there’s a good reason the political opponents of this nomination have never wanted to litigate that issue. Oh no, they didn’t want to talk about that. There’s a good reason why they let the politics of personal destruction run way ahead of the facts, in an effort to dodge this very question. Because Judge Brett Kavanaugh is stunningly and totally qualified for this job. We already know this, but bor starters, his academic and legal credentials are second to none. He graduated from Yale College, with honors; then from Yale Law School. Then came not one, not two, but three clerkships in our nation’s federal courts -- most notably, with Justice Anthony Kennedy. His career continued with work in the Office of the Independent Counsel and the Office of White House Counsel. And that was only the beginning.

“For the last twelve years, Brett Kavanaugh has served on what is widely considered the second highest court in our land: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He’s written more than three hundred judicial opinions. Several have formed the basis of later rulings by the Supreme Court, itself. This litany of accomplishments is a fact. It’s a matter of public record. But just as telling are all the accounts of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the man, that have been volunteered by those who’ve known him every step of the way over the years.

“We’ve heard from hundreds of character witnesses who have heaped praise on the Brett Kavanaugh they know: The loyal friend and teammate; the standout student; the talented, hardworking colleague. The brilliant legal writer; the respectful role model and mentor, particularly to women. The devoted husband, father, and coach. These letters and recorded testimony were offered by men and women with nothing to gain for themselves. They were just glad to tell the truth about a nominee who they know possesses the character, temperament, and qualifications for this important job.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s professors and others who knew him at Yale describe, quote, a true intellectual, a leading thinker, and a wonderful mentor and teacher. One goes so far as saying, It is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh. His former law clerks, in full-throated support, say that Judge Kavanaugh’s work ethic, quote, flows from a fundamental humility. They say he gives unflinchingly honest advice, and listens carefully to the views of his colleagues and clerks, even – indeed, especially – when they differ from his own.

“His legal peers here in Washington -- of all political persuasions -- haven’t minced words either. They deem him, quote, unquestionably qualified by his extraordinary intellect, experience, and temperament, and warn the Senate not to miss this opportunity to put, quote, such a strong advocate for decency and civility on our Nation’s highest court.

“Let us not lose sight of the opportunity before us. This process has been ruled by fear, and anger, and underhanded gamesmanship for too long. It’s time for us to stand up to this kind of thing. We owe it to the American people not to be intimidated by these tactics. We owe it to the American people to underscore that you are innocent until proven guilty. It’s the Senate that’s on trial here. What kind of image will we convey to the public? Can we be scared by all of these people rampaging through the halls, accosting Members at airports, coming to their homes? They’re trying to intimidate the Senate into defeating a good man. Are we going to allow this to happen in this country?

“We will not pretend that partisan histrionics take away the basic fairness that every American deserves. We will not be hoodwinked by those who have tried hard to smear this good man, to drag him through the mud. And then, when that didn’t work, they turned on a dime and started claiming his real sin was that he spoke up too forcefully in defense of his good name and his family. They decided he didn’t have judicial temperament. Because he aggressively defended his good name against this outrageous smear conducted in conjunction with Senate Democrats. 

“Who among us would not have been outraged by having a lifetime record dragged through the mud with accusations that cannot be proven. And a blatant attempt to decide – on the part of at least some Senate Democrats – that the presumption of innocence no longer applies in this country. What kind of person couldn’t have been upset about that? They claim he spoke too forcefully in defense of himself? After being accused of such outrageous behavior that cannot be proven? I admire him for standing up for himself. For standing up for his family. I’d be shocked if it were not done in an aggressive fashion, for goodness sake.

“So, let’s reclaim this moment for what it should be -- a chance to elevate a stunningly talented and impressive jurist to an important office for which he is so well-qualified. So completely and totally qualified. A golden opportunity to give our great nation precisely the kind of brilliant, fair-minded, and collegial Supreme Court justice that the Court deserves. This is the good that Senators will have the opportunity to do. We have a chance to do good here and underscore the basic tenant of fairness in our country. So I filed cloture on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination yesterday evening. And I will be proud to vote to advance this nomination tomorrow.”

Related Issues: Nominations, Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats, Supreme Court