Judge Brett Kavanaugh: ‘A Fair-Minded Jurist Who Believes In The Rule Of Law’

Legal Scholars & Experts Laud Judge Kavanaugh As ‘A Terrific Judge’ With ‘An Impeccable Résumé’ Who Is ‘Enormously Skilled’


Yale Law Professors: ‘Several Of Judge Kavanaugh’s Most Important Ideas And Arguments … Have Found Their Way Into Supreme Court Opinions,’

‘I Love Teaching His Opinions Because They Are Smart, Thoughtful, And Clear’

KATE STITH, Former Acting Dean of Yale Law School: “[Judge Kavanaugh] is a terrific judge…. In my federal criminal law class, I love teaching his opinions because they are smart, thoughtful, and clear. He’s also been a wonderful mentor and teacher to our students—not just to those who clerk for him, but those who meet with him during one of his many visits to Yale Law School.” (“Brett Kavanaugh ’90 Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court,” YLS Today, Yale Law School Website, 7/09/2018)

HEATHER K. GERKEN, Dean of Yale Law School: “I have known Brett Kavanaugh for many years…. I can personally attest that, in addition to his government and judicial service, Judge Kavanaugh has been a longtime friend to many of us in the Yale Law School community. Ever since I joined the faculty, I have admired him for serving as a teacher and mentor to our students and for hiring a diverse set of clerks, in all respects, during his time on the court.” (“Brett Kavanaugh ’90 Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court,” YLS Today, Yale Law School Website, 7/09/2018)

ABBE R. GLUCK, Yale Law Professor and former special counsel to Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ): “Brett Kavanaugh is a true intellectual--a leading thinker and writer on the subjects of statutory interpretation and federal courts; an incomparable mentor--someone who picks law clerks of all backgrounds and viewpoints; and a fair-minded jurist who believes in the rule of law.  He is humble, collegial and cares deeply about the federal courts.” (“Brett Kavanaugh ’90 Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court,” YLS Today, Yale Law School Website, 7/09/2018)

AKHIL REED AMAR, Yale Law School Professor: “The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice is President Trump’s finest hour, his classiest move.” (Akhil Reed Amar, Op-Ed, “A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh,” 7/09/2018)

  • AMAR: “Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer it. Several of Judge Kavanaugh’s most important ideas and arguments — such as his powerful defense of presidential authority to oversee federal bureaucrats and his skepticism about newfangled attacks on the property rights of criminal defendants — have found their way into Supreme Court opinions.” (Akhil Reed Amar, Op-Ed, “A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh,” 7/09/2018)
  • AMAR: “Most judges are not scholars or even serious readers of scholarship. Judge Kavanaugh, by contrast, has taught courses at leading law schools and published notable law review articles. More important, he is an avid consumer of legal scholarship. He reads and learns. And he reads scholars from across the political spectrum.” (Akhil Reed Amar, Op-Ed, “A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh,” 7/09/2018)


Legal Experts: Judge Kavanaugh Is ‘An Outstanding Lawyer And Judge,’ And ‘There Are No Objective Or Qualification-Based Reasons To Oppose Him’

DAVID LAT, Above The Law: “The selection of Judge Kavanaugh — a deeply respected, long-serving judge of the D.C. Circuit, the second most important court in the country after the Supreme Court — makes perfect sense…. Judge Kavanaugh has an impeccable résumé: Yale College, Yale Law School, a SCOTUS clerkship, government service (the Justice Department and White House), Biglaw practice (partnership at Kirkland & Ellis), and more than a dozen years of distinguished service on the D.C. Circuit. There are no objective or qualification-based reasons to oppose him. Judge Kavanaugh is not just brilliant but also extremely likable, and he will perform superbly at his hearings (even better than Justice Gorsuch, I predict).” (David Lat, “Meet President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh!,” Above The Law Blog, 7/09/2018)

JACK GOLDSMITH, Harvard Law Professor And Hoover Institute Senior Fellow: “Brett Kavanaugh is immensely qualified for the Supreme Court: an outstanding lawyer and judge; a great teacher and serious scholar of the law; and a generous, honorable, kind person.” (Jack Goldsmith, @jacklgoldsmith, Twitter, 7/09/2018)

TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBlog Publisher and Lecturer at Harvard Law School: “[W]hat I think the president did is he picked someone who is a really well-known person, has a lot of very strong credentials, a lot of experience …” (MSNBC, 7/09/2018)

JONATHAN H. ADLER, Case Western Reserve University Law Professor: “Judge Kavanaugh is widely respected on the Supreme Court. Many of his clerks go on to clerk at One First Street. More importantly, his opinions attract notice from the justices. Several of his dissents have been vindicated by subsequent Supreme Court decisions…. Judge Kavanaugh takes separation of powers seriously … Like his former boss, Justice Kennedy, Judge Kavanaugh has a broad understanding of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment …” (Jonathan H. Adler, “Justice Kavanaugh, The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, 7/09/2018)

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: “You saw a very graceful, gracious nominee…. [I]f he’s confirmed, one assumes that he will be an enormously influential member of the Court, and very quickly…. He is, as I said, an enormously skilled … jurist, who, as far as I can tell, gets along with his colleagues very well … And that is the picture of somebody who is, potentially, a very influential member of the United States Supreme Court.” (MSNBC, 7/09/2018)

EUGENE VOLOKH, UCLA Law Professor and Volokh Conspiracy Blog Founder: “I just wanted to briefly praise Brett Kavanaugh, whom I know from clerking, and whose work I've followed since he has been on the D.C. Circuit. He's extremely smart and thoughtful, an excellent writer, and, if confirmed, is likely to be an intellectual leader on the Court.” (Eugene Volokh, “Kavanaugh Nomination,” The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, 7/10/2018)

ILYA SHAPIRO, CATO Institute: “One of the most scholarly members of the judiciary, Kavanaugh’s more than 300 opinions are read widely and influence courts across the country — including the one that he now hopes to join. There are few if any more respected lower-court judges.” (Ilya Shapiro, Op-Ed, “Trump Makes A Shrewd Political Move With Supreme Court Pick,” New York Post, 7/10/2018)


Judge Kavanaugh’s Former Clerks Say ‘He Masters Every Detail And Rereads Every Precedent’ And ‘Listens Carefully To The Views Of His Colleagues And Clerks,’ ‘Especially’ ‘When They Differ From His Own’

34 OF JUDGE KAVANAUGH’S CLERKS: “Each of us has had the privilege of clerking for Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We have gone different ways since then; among us are prosecutors, professors, state and federal public officials, and attorneys at private law firms, corporations, and non-profits. Our views on politics, on many of the important legal issues faced by the Supreme Court, and on judicial philosophy, are diverse. Our ranks include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. But we are united in this: our admiration and fondness for Judge Kavanaugh run deep.” (34 Clerks for Judge Cavanaugh, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 7/09/2018)

  • “Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications to join the Supreme Court are beyond question….  It is in his role as a judge on the D.C. Circuit that we know Judge Kavanaugh best. During his time on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh has come to work every day dedicated to engaging in the hard work of judging. We never once saw him take a shortcut, treat a case as unimportant, or search for an easy answer. Instead, in each case, large or small, he masters every detail and rereads every precedent. He listens carefully to the views of his colleagues and clerks, even – indeed, especially – when they differ from his own. He drafts opinions painstakingly, writing and rewriting until he is satisfied each opinion is clear and well-reasoned, and can be understood not only by lawyers but by the parties and the public.” (34 Clerks for Judge Cavanaugh, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 7/09/2018)
  • “[T]his letter is signed by every single one of Judge Kavanaugh’s clerks not prohibited by their current or pending employment from signing …” (34 Clerks for Judge Cavanaugh, Letter to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein, 7/09/2018)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court