Civil Rights Coalition Decries Confirmation of Kavanaugh

Media 05.26.06

“The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s largest civil and human rights coalition, vehemently deplores the Senate’s action that has given Brett Kavanaugh, a political operative with virtually no judicial experience, a lifetime seat on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, our nation’s second highest court.

Kavanaugh’s lack of legal experience is a grave concern. Of the ten most significant “litigated” matters he reported to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two consisted only of filing friend-of-the court briefs and several others did not involve court appearances at all. He has less legal experience than virtually any Republican or Democratic D.C. Circuit judicial nominee in more than 30 years.

During his nomination hearings, Kavanaugh failed to answer critical questions about the role he played in the White House Counsel’s Office when that office helped devise controversial policies that authorized the president to ignore U.S. law and violate civil and human rights, including permitting the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps of American citizens and ignoring the Geneva Convention by allowing the military to hold detainees, including U.S. citizens, as “enemy combatants” without criminality.

Far from merely adding a simple conservative voice to the courts, this appointment, according to a new nonpartisan study, adds to the list of recently appointed judges that are more conservative on civil rights, civil liberties, and worker and consumer protections than any Democratic, or for that matter, Republican appointees.

In his work for President Bush, Kavanaugh has been key in helping to select some of the most controversial nominees to the courts– men and women whose records show that they seek to undermine the authority of Congress and weaken federal civil and human rights protections for persons of color, individuals with disabilities, women, workers, gays and lesbians, older Americans and children.

Kavanaugh’s aggressive support for such nominees raises substantial and weighty questions about his own legal philosophy and his commitment to interpret and not make law from the bench.

We can only hope that Kavanaugh will rise to the standards of impartiality and judicial rigor that this appointment requires. As a federal judge, he will have the enormous responsibility of making decisions that affect our everyday lives.

Sadly, we think his nomination signals the onslaught of more egregious candidates to come, such as Terrence Boyle, who has a long-established record of disregard for established procedural rules, legislative mandates and precedent. He has been reversed more than 150 times by the Fourth Circuit – twice the rate of the average judge.

For senators to ignore this trend will be to begin the dismantling of the safeguards of our American way of life. For as Abraham Lincoln said: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”