Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has referred a slew of ethics complaints against Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a letter to Chief Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich, Roberts referred more than a dozen such complaints against Kavanaugh from September 20 - October 5.
"I have selected the Judicial Council of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to accept the transfer," Roberts wrote, "and to exercise the powers of a judicial council with respect to the identified complaints and any pending or new complaints relating to the same subject matter."
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson went public with the complaints in a statement on Saturday:
"After the start of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, members of the general public began filing complaints in the D.C. Circuit about statements made during those hearings. The complaints do not pertain to any conduct in which Judge Kavanaugh engaged as a judge. The complaints seek investigations only of the public statements he has made as a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States."
The complaints, originally filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, stem from Kavanaugh's testimony during his confirmation hearings last month. Chief Justice Merrick Garland recused himself from the proceedings, and the chief executive of the court expressed "concern that local disposition may weaken public confidence in the process."
One of the filings alleges that Kavanaugh was not truthful in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee relating to receiving and using stolen Democratic Party documents from Republican operatives while working in the George W. Bush White House.
"In 2002, Manuel Miranda, a Republican staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stole thousands of documents belonging to committee Democrats…In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 5, 2018 and September 6, 2018 related to his confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States, Kavanaugh falsely testified under oath that he had no knowledge that Miranda had infiltrated Democratic files, concealed the fact that he knowingly received and read information about the stolen documents and concealed his prior false testimony to the Senate in 2004 and 2006. The July 28, 2002 email from Miranda to Kavanaugh and other emails recently released to the public establish that Kavanaugh gave false testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee…"
Kavanaugh's hyper-partisan attacks on Democrats during his confirmation hearings were also the basis for some of the complaints.
Another complaint states that Kavanaugh "lied about the sexual assault allegations against him.”
Filed September 27 by the Democratic Coalition's Scott Dworkin, the complaint states:
"In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 26, 2018, while Kavanaugh remained under oath he, state: “the truth is that I have never sexually assaulted anyone–not in high school, not in college, not ever.”…In his written testimony, he characterized the reports of sexual abuse made by Ramirez and Switnick [sic] as “smears, pure and simple.” He went on to claim that their reports of sexual abuse were “grotesque and obvious character assassination.” Kavanaugh demonstrated his lack of fitness to be a judge by falsely attacking the witnesses against him in this manner."
Both of the aforementioned complaints are based on the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act (JCDA) and the Judicial Conference of the United States’ Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability, which set standards for judicial behavior and temperament.
While anyone can file a complaint against a federal judge within their own circuit, we're in uncharted territory as Kavanaugh now sits on the Supreme Court. Justices are not subject to lower courts' misconduct procedures, nor can the Supreme Court investigate one of its own.
It's possible, therefore, that all of the complaints may ultimately be dismissed.
This is not sitting well with those closely following the Kavanaugh saga.
@ZoeTillman @Hegemommy Did John Roberts wait until Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed (as #SCOTUS) to transfer these eth… https://t.co/JR1UgmuyW8— Roslyn #Kamala2020 #ForThePeople 🇯🇲 🌊🌊 (@Roslyn #Kamala2020 #ForThePeople 🇯🇲 🌊🌊) 1539206874.0
@emfinn20_finn @jdbillio @ZoeTillman Also dc circuit recused itself as they worked with kavanaugh and couldn’t be i… https://t.co/cfQcHQYplN— Lissa Guillet (@Lissa Guillet) 1539217146.0
@PDelarios @ZoeTillman @maddow Calculated.— 🇺🇸Physique Athlete🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸Physique Athlete🇺🇸) 1539213718.0
@ZoeTillman @maddow Justice Roberts sat on these complaints until AFTER Kavanaugh was confirmed. I don’t think the… https://t.co/T86qE26vdX— bdelirious #FBR (@bdelirious #FBR) 1539209717.0
@ZoeTillman The question is why Chief Justice Roberts sat on these complaints. According the article the 10th court… https://t.co/p0w6nVRK8Y— Liz #FireSonnyPerdue Dylan (@Liz #FireSonnyPerdue Dylan) 1539204859.0
@ZoeTillman @maddow WOW!!! Thats a lot of complaints. How do we find the text of those complaints. I transcribed th… https://t.co/gMCt0JptiH— Dan G (@Dan G) 1539214247.0
@ZoeTillman @Michelle9647 Unfortunately to be dismissed as moot.— Stanley Cohen (@Stanley Cohen) 1539211552.0
@kylegriffin1 Unfortunately, or deliberately, Justice Roberts waited until Kavanaugh was on the SCOTUS. The Judici… https://t.co/4BXqnAVcum— Maggie Jordan (@Maggie Jordan) 1539229383.0
Some people are seeing a broader narrative - that Republican corruption has breached the Court.
What a terrifying thought that is.
@kylegriffin1 Corruption in @GOP is so open and they don’t even care anymore #VoteBlueAndBringAFriend— 🇨🇩LadyJM (@🇨🇩LadyJM) 1539225074.0
@kylegriffin1 Roberts sat on the complaints and welcomed Kavanaugh with open arms. Time to open an investigation on all the GOP SC Judges.— TABSURVIORCDN (@TABSURVIORCDN) 1539225561.0
@kylegriffin1 It wouldn’t of mattered. The senators who voted for Brett would of done so regardless. He lacked temp… https://t.co/ZtvjVqKI0p— Hobbit From Mt Doom (@Hobbit From Mt Doom) 1539228797.0
As icing on the cake...
@kylegriffin1 Not to throw gasoline on the fire, but the chief judge, to whom Roberts referred the complaints, just… https://t.co/i0OZMJkbx2— Jax (@Jax) 1539234788.0
@kylegriffin1 Flag on the play! Conflict of interest! The judge is on Trump's short list of Supreme Court candidates.— Nancy Terhune (@Nancy Terhune) 1539227008.0
Tymkovich, the presiding judge to whom Roberts sent his letter, is reportedly on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court short-list if he gets to appoint a third justice.