WASHINGTON — A day after the bitter combat over his nomination resulted in his elevation to the Supreme Court docket, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was in his new chambers on Sunday, making ready for the arguments the court docket is to listen to because it enters the second week of its time period.
His supporters hope he can settle into the court docket’s work, display that he’s an in a position decide and put accusations of sexual misconduct and questions on his temperament behind him. His critics say the court docket could by no means absolutely get well from a affirmation course of marked by uncooked anger and partisan polarization.
Justice Kavanaugh met along with his 4 regulation clerks, all ladies — a primary for the Supreme Court docket — in chambers that had till just lately been occupied by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who has moved to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s previous chambers.
It was Justice Kennedy’s retirement that set off a fierce battle for his seat, one which concluded on Saturday with a 50-to-48 Senate vote to substantiate Justice Kavanaugh — the tightest margin for a profitable nomination since 1881.
Within the second spherical of his affirmation hearings final month, Justice Kavanaugh fiercely denied accusations that he had assaulted Christine Blasey Ford whereas the 2 had been in highschool. He mentioned he had at all times handled ladies with respect, noting his sturdy report of hiring ladies as regulation clerks in his dozen years on america Court docket of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He added in his testimony that he had provisionally employed his 4 Supreme Court docket clerks earlier than allegations of sexual misconduct in opposition to him had surfaced. “All four are women,” he mentioned. Counting Justice Kavanaugh’s new clerks, ladies make up a majority of Supreme Court docket clerks for the primary time.
Justice Kavanaugh’s critics mentioned his efforts had been laudable, given Supreme Court docket clerkship is maybe essentially the most coveted credential in American regulation. However they added that it could take greater than hiring feminine clerks to undo the harm left by Justice Kavanaugh’s affirmation hearings.
“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,” mentioned Elizabeth B. Wydra, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Heart, a liberal group that opposed Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“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.”
Justice Kavanaugh’s supporters mentioned he ought to be judged by his hiring report. “He’s been promoting professional opportunities for women his entire career,” mentioned Porter Wilkinson, who served as a regulation clerk to Justice Kavanaugh when he was an appeals court docket decide and who was on his affirmation workforce.
New justices usually rent their former clerks after they begin on the court docket, however solely considered one of Justice Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court docket clerks, Kim Jackson, labored for him on the appeals court docket. The opposite three — Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy and Sara Nommensen — labored for appeals court docket judges appointed by Republican presidents.
Ms. Lacy had additionally labored for Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who helped push via Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Justice Kavanaugh mentioned in his testimony final month that he had began to take motion to handle the underrepresentation of girls amongst regulation clerks after reading a 2006 article in The New York Times noting that solely seven of 37 Supreme Court docket clerks had been ladies.
“A majority of my 48 law clerks over the last 12 years have been women,” he instructed the Senate Judiciary Committee. “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.”
Whereas some justices have expressed worries about harm to the court docket’s picture by the rancorous affirmation course of, Justice Kavanaugh has deep connections to the court docket, ones that may ease his transition.
He served as a regulation clerk to Justice Kennedy in 1993 and 1994, early within the tenures of the 2 longest-serving members of the court docket, Justices Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He attended highschool with President Trump’s first appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.
Justice Kavanaugh will see different acquainted faces on the courthouse. He was a number one “feeder judge,” sending regulation clerks from his appeals court docket chambers to justices throughout the ideological spectrum. This time period, six of his former clerks are working on the Supreme Court docket, double the variety of every other appeals court docket decide. 4 of them are ladies.