ABA On Bush Nominee: ‘Insulated,’ ‘Very Stubborn,’ and ‘Sanctimonious’

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today to consider the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the current White House staff secretary. Bush has nominated him for lifetime seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2003, the American Bar Association rated Kavanaugh “well-qualified” despite acknowledging “he had never tried a case to verdict or judgment” and “he had very little experience with criminal cases.”

Yesterday, the ABA expanded upon those earlier concerns and announced it had downgraded Kavanaugh’s rating to “qualified” after conducting new interviews with judges and associates familiar with his work. (The ABA only offers ratings of well-qualified, qualified, and not qualified.)

Stephen Tober, the chairman of the 14-member committee, released a statement yesterday explaining why Kavanaugh was downgraded. The ABA contacted 91 individuals in the legal community, and here’s a sampling of what they said about Kavanaugh:


One judge who witnessed the nominee’s oral presentation in court commented that the nominee was “less than adequate” before the court, had been “sanctimonious,” and demonstrated “experience on the level of an associate.”

A lawyer who had observed him during a different court proceeding stated: “Mr. Kavanaugh did not handle the case well as an advocate and dissembled.” Other lawyers expressed similar concerns, repeating in substance that the nominee was young and inexperienced in the practice of law.

[T]he recent supplemental evaluation contained comments from several interviewees with more recent experience with the nominee, which caused them to characterize the nominee as “insulated.”“(He is) immovable and very stubborn and frustrating to deal with on some issues.”

Another heckuva qualified Bush nominee.