July 10, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh, One of the Nation’s Most Widely Respected Judges

Prepared SenateFloor Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, SenateJudiciary Committee
JudgeKavanaugh, One of the Nation’s Most Widely Respected Judges
July 10, 2018
Mr. President, last evening I joined many of mycolleagues at the White House as the President introduced Judge Brett Kavanaughas his nominee to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most widely respectedjudges in the country. He is an outstanding choice to serve as a Justice on theSupreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is a former law clerk of the Justice he has beennominated to replace: Justice Kennedy.
Judge Kavanaugh earned both his undergraduate and lawdegrees from Yale University. He then clerked for judges on the Third and NinthCircuits before joining the chambers of Justice Kennedy.
He served in the Office of the Solicitor General and alsothe Office of the Independent Counsel. After several years in private practice,Judge Kavanaugh returned to public service, working in the White HouseCounsel’s Office and as Staff Secretary for President George W. Bush. In 2006,he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, where he has served since. He is also awell-regarded law professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown.
Judge Kavanaugh is a leader not only in the law, but inhis community. He volunteers at Catholic Charities and he coaches hisdaughters’ youth basketball teams. The Committee has received a letter fromformer law clerks of Judge Kavanaugh, people who represent views across thepolitical and ideological spectrum. Many judges describe their former lawclerks as adopted family members. Law clerks know their judges best.
Judge Kavanaugh’s former law clerks write that he is aperson with immense “strength of character, generosity of spirit, intellectualcapacity, and unwavering care for his family, friends, colleagues, and us, hislaw clerks.” They continue:
He is unfailingly warm andgracious with his colleagues no matter how strongly they disagree about a case,and he is well-liked and respected by judges and lawyers across the ideologicalspectrum as a result. . . . He always makes time for us, his law clerks. Hemakes it to every wedding, answers every career question, and givesunflinchingly honest advice. That advice often boils down to the same habits wesaw him practice in chambers every day: Shoot straight, be careful and brave,work as hard as you possibly can, and then work a little harder.
Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record is extraordinary. TheSupreme Court has adopted his view of the law in a dozen cases. JudgeKavanaugh’s opinions demonstrate profound respect for the Constitution’sseparation of powers. He understands that it’s Congress’s job to pass laws andthe Judiciary’s role to faithfully apply them.
That’s why his opinions emphasize that judges must focuson the text and apply laws as written by the people’s representatives inCongress—not by unelected and largely unaccountable federal judges. Courts maynot rewrite laws to suit their policy preferences.
Judge Kavanaugh has a record of judicial independence. Hehas shown a willingness to rein in executive branch agencies when they abuse orexceed their authority.
As he has explained in numerous opinions, executivebranch agencies may not assume more power than Congress has specificallygranted them. And he has emphasized that judges may not surrender their duty tointerpret laws to executive branch agencies.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing forJudge Kavanaugh’s nomination in the coming weeks. As I noted in my speechyesterday, liberal outside groups and Democratic leaders decided weeks ago toblock whoever the President nominates. They’re already pushing feeble argumentsto cause needless delays.
For example, some Democrats say we shouldn’t confirm anominee nominated during a midterm election year. But the Senate has neveroperated like this. Sitting Justices Breyer and Kagan—and numerous of theirpredecessors—were nominated and confirmed in midterm election years.
The American people see this argument for the obstructionit is. After all, Democratic leaders announced that they will oppose anyonenominated by President Trump.
In fact, some Democratic senators announced theiropposition to Judge Kavanaugh mere minutes after the President nominated him.It’s clear that a number of my Democratic colleagues have chosen the path ofobstruction and resistance, not thoughtful advice and consent.
Here we have a highly qualified nominee who has authorednumerous influential judicial opinions. Leading liberal law professor AkhilReed Amar endorsed Judge Kavanaugh in the pages of the New York Times.But some of my colleagues can’t even bring themselves to at least considerJudge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Also, as I mentioned yesterday, liberal outside groupsand their allies are trying to convince senators to ask Judge Kavanaugh hisviews on specific cases and Supreme Court precedent. I want to emphasize thatthese questions are inappropriate.
Justice Ginsburg announced during her confirmationhearing that a nominee should offer “no hints, no forecasts, no previews.”Justice Kagan declined to state her views on Roe v. Wade, saying “theapplication of Roe to future cases, and even its continued validity, areissues likely to come before the Court in the future.” I expect that JudgeKavanaugh will likewise decline to comment on his views of particular casesdecided by the Supreme Court.
I want to congratulate Judge Kavanaugh on thisnomination. I had the opportunity to meet with Judge Kavanaugh earlier.
I know he looks forward to answering questions from mycolleagues in the coming weeks. And I look forward to hearing from him againwhen he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee.