Embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week is at odds with his own standards for how judges should behave.
During a speech called “The Judge as Umpire” at Catholic University in 2015, Kavanaugh said that a “good judge” should possess the “proper demeanor,” keep “our emotions in check,” be “calm amidst the storm,” and to “demonstrate civility.” Kavanaugh also said to his fellow jurists: “don’t be a jerk.”
He added that there exists “a danger of arrogance, as for umpires and referees, but also for judges. And I would say that danger grows the more time you’re on the bench. As one of my colleagues puts it, you become more like yourself—and that can be a problem.”
David Corn of Mother Jones dug up the full text:
“To be a good judge and a good umpire, it’s important to have the proper demeanor. Really important, I think. To walk in the others’ shoes, whether it be the other litigants, the litigants in the case, the other judges. To understand them. To keep our emotions in check. To be calm amidst the storm. On the bench, to put it in the vernacular, don’t be a jerk. I think that’s important. To be a good umpire and a good judge, don’t be a jerk. In your opinions, to demonstrate civility—I think that’s important as well. To show, to help display, that you are trying to make the decision impartially and dispassionately based on the law and not based on your emotions. That we’re not the bigger than the game…There’s a danger of arrogance, as for umpires and referees, but also for judges. And I would say that danger grows the more time you’re on the bench. As one of my colleagues puts it, you become more like yourself—and that can be a problem.”
Kavanaugh also said that a good judge “first and most obviously” cannot be a “political partisan.”
Watch the full clip below:
During his testimony last week, however, Kavanaugh railed against a supposed left-wing conspiracy to keep him from the bench, going so far as to blame the Clintons for somehow orchestrating the slew of sexual assault allegations that have scarred his nomination.
Kavanaugh also refused to answer questions, often lobbing them back at the Senators asking them, which many people interpreted as a method of deflection.
Corn asked Twitter if Kavanaugh’s behavior at last week’s hearing upholds “his own standards for judicial temperament.”
Does Brett Kavanaugh meet his own standards for judicial temperament? Look at what he said three years ago. https://t.co/F72B9YQtiR
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 1, 2018
Twitter’s response: no.
By his own criteria as well as by the Code of Conduct, Judge Kavanaugh is demonstrably unfit for a seat on the Supreme Court.
— Tia Will (@medwoman1) October 1, 2018
No. No, he doesn’t.
— Lisa Fybush (@LisaFybush) October 1, 2018
— Thomas Carano (@carano_thomas) October 1, 2018
He meets no one's standards.
— Arkantart (@arkantart) October 1, 2018
No he doesn't!
— AMY MCCORD (@amccord92) October 1, 2018
Well, no, no he does not.
— Elinor (@Elinor27652146) October 1, 2018
I think not….,
— d_moto 🌊 (@deb_moto) October 1, 2018
— Kristen Spivey 🏳️🌈 (@KristenSpivey2) October 1, 2018
In the same speech at Catholic’s Columbia Law School, Kavanaugh reminisced about his days at Georgetown Preparatory School, where the students held a certain mantra.
“We had a good saying that we’ve held firm to to this day as the dean was reminding me before the talk,” Kavanaugh said.
“What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.”
“That’s been a good thing for all of us, I think,” the judge joked.
Kavanaugh has been accused of the attempted rape of a classmate at a high school house party in the 1980s. At the time, Kavanaugh was 17 and attended Georgetown Prep, a prestigious private school for boys in Bethesda, Maryland. His accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist, was 15 and attended Holton Arms School, a private all-girls academy also located in Bethesda.
Since Ford’s account was made public last month, two more women – Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick – have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his time at Yale.
The Senate has delayed a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending an FBI investigation, which the Bureau has until Friday to complete.