Federal Courts and Nominations

Brett Kavanaugh First To Hire All-Female Clerk Team

New Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has hired an all-female law clerk staff, a first in the history of the body, according to the New York Times Sunday.

Kavanaugh was besieged by charges of sexual misconduct by several women near the end of the confirmation process. In an additional hearing, one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, testified against him in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

That led to a one-week delay in his confirmation vote while the FBI completed a supplemental background check. The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land on a 50-48 vote, according to CBS News.

The New York Times wrote that while some of Kavanaugh’s critics grudgingly praised him for hiring the women for the four coveted clerkships, they found it hard to let go the contention that surrounded his nomination.

“I applaud in general a commitment to hiring a diverse group of clerks, and hope all the justices encourage applicants of color, women and those with backgrounds beyond the usual elite,” Elizabeth B. Wydra, the president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, said, per the newspaper.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more than female clerks to undo the damage to the legitimacy of the court done by this travesty of a confirmation process. Women will feel much more confident in the court when their fundamental rights are protected and their equal dignity is respected in the rulings handed down by the justices,” Wydra continued.

During the confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh said most of his law clerk hires have been women, addressing a lack of female Supreme Court law clerks pointed out in a 2006 New York Times story.

“A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women,” Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee, per the Times. “In my time on the bench, no federal judge — not a single one in the country — has sent more women law clerks to clerk on the Supreme Court than I have.”

Kavanaugh was a law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, the judge he replaced on the Supreme Court, from 1993 to 1994 and attended high school with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch was appointed to the court last year by Trump, per the Times.

Trump praised the Senate action Saturday in a Twitter post, despite the bitter divide inside Congress.

For the Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sought to capitalize on Kavanaugh’s appointment by calling on those upset about the Senate vote to go to polls in the midterm elections.

“If you believe Dr. Ford, and other brave women who came forward, and you want to vindicate their sacrifice, vote,” Schumer said, per CBS News.

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