Kavanaugh complained about media characterizations of him in 2001: report

Anna Moneymaker

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh once complained about the media’s characterization of him, according to a March 2001 email chain obtained by CNN.

“While you cannot possibly respond to every false statement in the press reports, you may want to (or at least have the press office do so) point out obvious whoppers to some of these reporters/writers,” wrote Kavanaugh, then associate counsel to former President George W. Bush, according to CNN.

CNN reported that Kavanaugh was referring to press claims that multiple members of the Bush administration had worked for Ken Starr at the Office of the Independent Counsel, when Kavanaugh said he was the only one.


Kavanaugh also disputed the media’s claim that he was still a member of the Federalist Society. Kavanaugh said he and a number of others had resigned from the society and worried that the claim wrongly suggested that he had an “ongoing relationship” with the organization.

CNN reported that Kavanaugh wrote in an email, “this may seem technical, but most of us resigned from the Federalist Society before starting work here and are not now members of the Society.”

The group, founded by conservative students and professors in 1982, quickly became a leading voice advocating for a limited role for judges’ in solving societal issues, the outlet reported. The group has drawn criticism for working closely with Republican administrators in their selection of judges, including in recommending judicial nominees to the Trump administration.

“[T]he reason I (and others) resigned from Fed society was precisely because I did not want anyone to be able to say that I had an ongoing relationship with any group that has a strong interest in the work of this office,” Kavanaugh wrote in the email chain, according to CNN.

However, CNN reports that Kavanaugh indicated in his Senate Judiciary questionnaire last month that he had been a member of the Federalist Society since 1988 without interruption.

A source close to Kavanaugh told CNN that the Supreme Court nominee had been a member since 1988 “save for a brief lapse at the beginning of his time in the White House Counsel’s Office,” though the source could not say exactly when Kavanaugh took a break from the organization.

According to CNN, Kavanaugh’s emails show that he has remained close with the Federalist Society.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump George W Bush Originalism Supreme Court The Federalist Society

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