Brett Kavanaugh was re-nominated by President Bush in January to serve on the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. For those not familiar with the federal court system, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is considered the second most important court in our nation. It has jurisdiction to hear complex and critical matters, including appeals from federal agencies. How important is the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals? Four of the nine members of the Supreme Court served on that court.
Today, the New York Times comes out against Kavanaugh's nomination:
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.
You can read more about Kavanaugh's political background here and here. He is undeniably a champion for the Republican cause--whatever that cause may be at the particular moment. Is it appropriate to nominate such a partisan individual, one who has dedicated his legal career to serving the interests of the Republican Party, to the second most important court in the land? Senate Democrats are critically examining his record, and Minority Leader Reid has stated that a filibuster is possible.
Democrats want another hearing on Kavanaugh so that they can question him on his knowledge of the NSA scandal, Abramoff's dealings with the White House, and the administration's torture policy. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter is reportedly reluctant to grant another hearing, though he has not ruled it out. Tomorrow, the committee will consider Kavanaugh's nomination. If a vote is taken then, it is expected to be along party lines.
And that brings us to the floor of the Senate again, to continue with the rhetorical foreplay of "constitutional" options and "up-or-down" votes. Bill Frist expects Kavanaugh to be confirmed by the end of May.
Speaking of Frist, if you want a good chuckle, head on over to Frist's VOLPAC and check out the comments on Kavanaugh's nomination.