Friday, June 29, 2007

Brett Kavanaugh Apparently Lied To The Senate Judiciary Committee -- Leahy Is Outraged

According to the official White House Announcement Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on May 26, 2006, as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DC Circuit hears appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and reviews the decisions of a number of administrative agencies.

He was sworn in on June 1, 2006. For Brett Kavanaugh life must have seemed good. A wonderful legal career. He had already passed one confirmation process. If one of those old geezers on the Supreme Court retired before the end of Bush's term, who knows. Yeh, Leahy had been a bit of a prick during the confirmation process when he asked all those questions about the President's detention policy. The same could be said of Durbin, but no worries.

No worries that is until Wednesday when Chairman Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to Alberto Gonzales. It seems when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh testified that he was not aware of the Administration's legal justifications relating to the treatment of detainees until it became public in 2004.

In answering a direct question from Senator Leahy he said detainee policy "was not part of my docket, either in the counsel's office or as staff secretary." He gave similar answers to questions from Senator Durbin.

It turns out that this week an article in the Washington Post and a story on NPR dispute Kavenaugh's claim that detention policy wasn't part of his job. From Leahy's letter

According to a June 25,2007, article in the Washington Post and a June 26 report on National Public Radio, Mr. Kavanaugh took part in discussions by White House lawyers in 2002 about whether the Supreme Court would uphold the Administration's detention policies. Both reports confirm that Mr. Kavanaugh advised that Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he had served as a law clerk, would reject presidential discretion to lock up U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without representation by counsel.
Leahy's letter concludes:
I take the inconsistency between these news reports and Mr. Kavanaugh's testimony very seriously. False testimony by any witness is troubling and undermines the Senate's ability to fulfill its constitutional duties on behalf of the American people. But my concern is heightened because the subject matter of the possibly false testimony was highly controversial and played a critical role in many Senators' consideration of Mr.Kavanaugh's nomination for a lifetime appointment to one of the courts most involved in reviewing those very same detention policies. For these reasons, I have no choice but to refer the matter to you for appropriate investigation and prosecutorial action.
Kavenaugh's Cadillac ride to the Supreme Court might have just suffered a blowout. It's probably time for the Judge to lawyer up.

This story expands on Gadfly's post from earlier in the week.