The Chatter

Five Things to Know About New Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Bethesda native was selected by President Trump to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

By Michelle Evans | July 10, 2018, 1:34 pm

-CBS News
The Chatter

Five Things to Know About New Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Bethesda native was selected by President Trump to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

By Michelle Evans | July 10, 2018, 1:34 pm

-CBS News

President Donald Trump nominated judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy following his retirement at the end of the month. Kavanaugh, an appellate courts judge in Washington, D.C., who worked in George W. Bush’s White House, will be Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee since taking office.

“In keeping with President Reagan’s legacy, I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions,” Trump said in the announcement. “What matters is not a judge’s political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”

While many may not have heard of him until yesterday, here is some background on the latest Supreme Court Justice nominee, who is a native of Bethesda:

Kavanaugh has decades of experience as a federal judge.
After graduating from Yale Law School, he was plunged into politics when he was charged with investigating President Bill Clinton’s deputy counsel Vincent Foster. He also later laid the groundwork for impeaching Clinton following the president’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In December 2000, with the presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush undecided, Kavanaugh joined the Republican legal team that won the fight to stop the ballot recount in Florida. He was then nominated in 2003 by President George W. Bush to the appeals court and was confirmed in 2006. Since then, he has written nearly 300 opinions and has taken stances on several Obama-era environmental regulations including efforts to limit greenhouse gases and hazardous air pollutants.

He describes his judicial philosophy as “straightforward.”
Kavanaugh has said in the past that he does not believe that there is a such thing as Democratic or Republican judges. He believes that there is only one kind of judge under the constitution.

“A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law,” Kavanaugh said. “A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”

He portrays himself as an advocate for women.
The judge spoke at length about his wife and two daughters, even mentioning that it was his mother who first introduced him to law. These comments are particularly examined because his nomination is expected to center around his views on abortion and access to contraception.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are prepared to rally in defense of Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights decision. They also fear that LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage could be overturned by the court with Kavanaugh’s nomination. But, it is unclear how soon those decisions will be made.

Kavanaugh once worked for his predecessor.
He clerked for Kennedy on the Supreme Court in the early 1990s alongside Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court pick. Although Kavanaugh is a protégé of Kennedy, he is more conservative and may not share his views on cases regarding civil and women’s rights.

His history in D.C. will provide the opposition with ammunition to deny his appointment. Last fall, Kavanaugh ruled against an immigrant teenager in federal custody who sought to terminate her pregnancy. But he did not go as far as another D.C. Circuit judge who said the teen had no constitutional right to an elective abortion.

He values family, church, and basketball.
Kavanaugh grew up in Bethesda and attended Georgetown Preparatory School, the same Jesuit high school as Gorsuch. He is an observant Catholic, regularly attending church at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Northwest D.C.

He met his wife, Ashley, while they were both working at the White House under President Bush. The couple has two daughters together and Kavanaugh has coached their basketball teams for the past seven years. Following President Trump’s announcement, Kavanaugh event cracked a joke about Duke’s men basketball coach Mike Kryzyzewski.

“I have two spirited daughters,” he said. “Margaret loves sports and she loves to read. Liza loves sports and she loves to talk . . . The girls on the [basketball] team call me Coach K.”




Meet The Author

Michelle Harris is the digital content producer for Baltimore, where she covers news, community, sports, and beauty.



You May Also Like


The Chatter

Greedy Reads Plans Remington Expansion for Late Fall

The Fells Point bookstore will open its second location in a space across from R. House.

The Chatter

Baltimore City Takes on Trump after President’s Vitriolic Attacks

Donald Trump adds people of Baltimore, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Congressional District to growing list of black and brown targets.

The Chatter

Clavel Chef Carlos Raba Opening Jiu-Jitsu-Focused Youth Center in Remington

The martial arts devotee shifts his attention to another passion with the new community space.


The Chatter

Protests Planned Ahead of Trump Visit to Baltimore Thursday

Groups will make voices heard outside of House Republican Retreat in Harbor East area.

The Chatter

As Hurricane Dorian Travels Up The Coast, Experts Assess Baltimore’s Storm Readiness

Taking stock of the city’s preparedness in the case of a major weather event.

News & Community

Just the Facts

A diversity-training board game gains local and national attention.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Reopening of Harlem Park Recreation Center Marks a New Beginning: The West Baltimore hub is back, serving as a model for future Rec and Parks projects.

Greedy Reads Plans Remington Expansion for Late Fall: The Fells Point bookstore will open its second location in a space across from R. House.

Baltimore Clayworks and City Youth Create Tile-Mosaic Mural in Park Heights: Ceramic arts center partners with community organizations to bring the project to life.

Male/Female Statue: Should It Stay or Go in Penn Station Overhaul?: The future of the long-controversial 52-foot sculpture could be in question with train station redesign.

Ami Dang Uses Music to Transcend Boundaries: The local artist’s new record explores her Indian heritage and intersectional identity.