While I would not be so presumptuous as to assume that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an avid Nation reader, it seems that President Trump’s nominee to serve on the Supreme Court has some familiarity with this publication. Unfortunately for Kavanaugh, his apparent interest in The Nation’s writing about the judicial selection process adds to the argument against confirming him for a life term on the nation’s high court.
The evidence that Kavanaugh used his legal skills to promote aggressively conservative and aggressively partisan judicial activism—which I’ll discuss in a moment—is just too overwhelming. And the evidence that he perjured himself in testimony to the Senate is just too troubling.
The controversy regarding Kavanaugh’s deceptive testimony has roots in his work almost two decades ago as an associate in the White House Counsel’s Office. It was there, as part of a closely knit team of partisan lawyers and political operatives, that he helped manage the judicial nominations that were advanced by President George W. Bush and, though this is still too little noted, Bush White House political czar Karl Rove.
Between 2001 and 2003, two Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee regularly hacked into the private computer files of six Democratic senators, including me. They stole 4,670 files, and they used them to assist in getting President Bush’s most controversial judicial nominees confirmed. This became public in late 2003 when The Wall Street Journal happened to print some of the stolen materials.
The ringleader behind this massive theft was a Republican Senate staffer named Manny Miranda. The scandal amounted to a digital Watergate—a theft not unlike Russia’s hacking of the DNC.
During all of this, Judge Kavanaugh worked in the White House Counsel’s Office on judicial nominations. He worked hand-in-hand with Miranda to advance these same controversial nominees. Not surprisingly, Judge Kavanaugh was asked extensively about his knowledge of the theft during both his 2004 and 2006 hearings. And I mean extensively: 111 questions from six senators, both Republicans and Democrats.
He testified under oath—and he testified repeatedly—that he never received any stolen materials, and that he knew nothing about it until it was public. He testified that if he had suspected anything “untoward” he would have reported it. At the time, we left it there. We didn’t have evidence to suggest otherwise.