An unqualified nominee? We report, you decide
The NYTimes has recently blasted Brett Kavanaugh as an unqualified nominee
An Unqualified Judicial Nominee
Published: May 3, 2006
Senate Republicans have announced plans to push for a quick vote on Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination for a powerful appeals court judgeship has languished since 2003. There are good reasons the nomination has been kept on hold. Mr. Kavanaugh was unqualified then, and he is unqualified now. Moreover, since his Senate hearing in 2004, new issues have been raised that he should be questioned about, including what role, if any, he played in Bush administration policies like the National Security Agency's domestic spying program.
Mr. Kavanaugh has been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often called the nation's second most important court. A young lawyer with paltry courtroom experience, Mr. Kavanaugh does not have the legal background appropriate for such a lofty appointment. What he does have is a résumé that screams political partisanship.
He worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent prosecutor, and helped draft possible grounds of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. He became a partisan in the impeachment battles that followed, co-writing an op-ed article in 1999 that presented Mr. Starr as an "American hero," while railing against a "presidentially approved smear campaign against him." Mr. Kavanaugh has spent much of his legal career since then in the Bush White House, where he helped select many of the administration's far-right judicial nominees.
Since Mr. Kavanaugh's nomination was first considered, information has come to light about a number of troubling policies that he could have had a hand in, including domestic spying, torture and rendition of detainees to other countries. Senate Democrats would like to question Mr. Kavanaugh about these programs, and about what connection he had, if any, to the Jack Abramoff scandal.
It is not clear, however, that they will get the chance. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has so far resisted calls for another hearing before Mr. Kavanaugh's nomination is brought to a vote. The Republicans have long used judicial nominations as a way of placating the far right of their party, and it appears that with President Bush sinking in the polls, they now want to offer up some new appeals court judges to their conservative base. But a lifetime appointment to the D.C. Circuit is too important to be treated as a political reward.
Absent from all this is any discussion of Mr Kavanaugh's actual accomplishments. Here's his resume:
Brett M. Kavanaugh Resumé
Birth: February 12, 1965; Washington, D.C.
Legal Residence: Washington, DC
Education:1983 - 1987, Yale College; B.A. degree, cum laude. 1987 - 1990, Yale Law School, J.D; Notes editor of the law review.
Bar Admittance:1990, Maryland; 1992, District of Columbia.
Experience:1990 - 1991, Law Clerk to the Honorable Walter K. Stapleton, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 1991 - 1992, Law Clerk to the Honorable Alex Kozinski, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 1992 - 1993, United States Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General. 1993 - 1994, Law Clerk to the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy, Supreme Court of the United States. 1994 - 1997, Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr. 1998, Associate Counsel. 1997 - 1998, Kirkland & Ellis. 1999 - 2001, Partner. 2001 - present, President George W. Bush: Associate Counsel to the President, 2001 -2003. Senior Associate Counsel to the President, 2003. Staff Secretary, 2003-present.
You will notice that the NYTimes stayed carefully silent about this "unqualified" nominee's two degrees from Yale, his position on the law review, or his clerkship for the Supreme Court. Of all this "news that's fit to print", the Times couldn't spare a word. He worked for Ken Starr and the President, so that was enough to dismiss him as a political hack.
Of course, the problem isn't that Kavanaugh isn't qualifed. It's that he's well-qualified and conservative--but the Times can't be upfront about the real issue here.