Jurist / Lawyer / Political Figure
Date Of Birth:
12 February 1965
Place Of Birth:
Best Known As:
The U.S. Supreme Court justice confirmed by a 50-48 Senate vote in 2018
Brett Kavanaugh is the U.S. Supreme Court justice who replaced the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. He was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump in 2018, and confirmed by a 50-48 vote of the Senate. Brett Michael Kavanaugh was born in Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown Preperatory School, a Jesuit boarding school in Bethesda, Maryland. (Future Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch was two years behind Kavanaugh there.) He majored in History at Yale, graduating in 1987, and then earned a law degree from Yale in 1990. He clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy and then worked for Ken Starr in the Office of the Independent Council; at the time, Starr was investigating President Bill Clinton and his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky; Kavanaugh helped Starr bring charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against Clinton, who was impeached but then acquitted. After a stint at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, he worked on the legal strike force that ensured that George W. Bush was chosen as the winner of the Florida's electoral votes in 2000, thereby giving Bush the presidency. Kavanaugh became associate White House counsel under Alberto Gonzales (2001-03) and then staff secretary to President George W. Bush (2003-06). Bush nominated him to the D.C. Circuit Court in 2003, but Democrats held up his confirmation for three years, saying that Kavanaugh was too politically partisan to be an effective judge. He was finally confirmed in 2006. The website ScotusBlog reported that "Kavanaugh generally brings a pragmatic approach to judging, although his judicial philosophy is conservative, and he has applied principles of textualism and originalism espoused by the late Justice Antonin Scalia." His youth, conservative history and Washington connections made him a much-talked-about candidate for a Supreme Court spot, and indeed, President Donald Trump nominated him to replace retiring Justice Kennedy on July 9, 2018. At his introduction that day, Kavanaugh praised Trump by saying, "No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination." On September 16, 2018, a high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh's, Christine Blasey Ford, stepped forward to say that Kavanaugh had assaulted her at a high school party, pinning her to a bed, tearing at her clothes and putting his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. She and Kavanaugh both testified briefly before the Senate, after which the FBI made a limited four-day investigation of Ford's claims (which, upon orders from the White House, did not include interviews with either Ford or Kavanaugh about the alleged incident). On October 6, 2018, after what TheNew York Times called a "bitter partisan battle," Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote. The vote was entirely along party lines, with the exception of Democrat Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
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