HALLOWELL — After sitting on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court for 293 days without holding a single hearing, the U.S. Senate is now rushing to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the end of September, despite recent revelations – including an allegation of sexual assault – that raise serious questions about Kavanaugh’s credibility and integrity.

Kavanaugh testified repeatedly at his 2004 and 2006 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmation hearings that he had nothing to do with “Memogate,” the name given to the illegal access and “electronic theft” of 4,670 computer files that belonged to six Democratic senators or their staff. According to Kavanaugh, he was not involved in the theft of those computer files, nor had he ever knowingly received purloined documents.

During the three days of hearings recently held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh again testified that he was never aware, nor even suspected, that any document or information that he had received was ill-gotten. However, a number of recently released emails show that in order to get President George W. Bush’s judicial nominations through the Senate confirmation process, Manuel Miranda – then Republican counsel to the Judiciary Committee and one of the perpetrators of Memogate – had regularly shared stolen information and documents with Kavanaugh when Kavanaugh was working in the White House Counsel’s Office.

Kavanaugh was an experienced and effective operative in the White House. The nature of the documents he received should have raised serious suspicions about their origin.

If Kavanaugh were truthful that he never even suspected that information and documents he received were stolen, then concerns about his honesty should be immediately replaced with concerns about his acuity or judgment.

How could he not have even wondered how Miranda acquired internal memorandums from Democratic senators and staff? How could he have “never suspected anything untoward” when he was given internal Democratic strategy memos? Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony regarding Memogate in 2004, 2006 and 2018 is simply not believable.


Kavanaugh’s apparent lack of honesty regarding Memogate was not singular. In 2006, Kavanaugh testified that he had no involvement with the Bush administration’s rules for detention of combatants, but The Washington Post later reported that Kavanaugh had discussed the topic with then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-Solicitor General Ted Olson. At the very least, the evidence so far calls for the release of the 100,000 pages currently being withheld by Kavanaugh’s former deputy, Bill Burck, under a blanket claim of executive privilege.

While not made under oath, Kavanaugh’s statement when nominated by President Trump – “no president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination” – shows a reckless disregard for the truth, especially when one considers that President Trump outsourced the nomination work to Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Toobin reported in April 2017.

Recent allegations of a sexual assault when Kavanaugh was in high school add to concerns regarding the nominee’s integrity and character that warrant slowing down this process to be sure he is worthy of this lifelong and deeply impactful position.

In addition, Kavanaugh has demonstrated thinking outside the mainstream with his ideological opposition to the Supreme Court’s holding in Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to make their own reproductive choices and his hostility to other unenumerated rights, such as the right to privacy and the right to marriage for same-sex couples. There is little doubt that if confirmed, Kavanaugh would further limit, if not eliminate, the aforementioned unenumerated rights and would be the nail in the coffin of the Affordable Care Act and access to affordable health care.

Finally, Kavanaugh’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s holding and even its assertion of jurisdiction in the U.S. v. Nixon case, although dated, is a cause for major concern, considering that President Trump is more likely to face criminal charges than any president in the last 100 years. President Trump believes that he is above the law. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins should ensure that she doesn’t add a justice to the Supreme Court who holds a similar belief.

These concerns about Kavanaugh’s honesty and integrity give more than enough reason to reject his nomination to the Supreme Court. They certainly justify a more thorough vetting and more transparent confirmation process. With a lifetime appointment and the stakes so high, the Senate has an obligation to conduct a fair, objective and transparent review of Kavanaugh’s record.

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