Progressive groups urge Kavanaugh to recuse himself from Facebook case

Progressive groups urge Kavanaugh to recuse himself from Facebook case
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A coalition of progressive groups is calling on Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Names to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE to recuse himself from a case against Facebook because of his ties with the platform's chief of policy, Joel Kaplan.

Kaplan, a former member of the George W. Bush administration, appeared behind Kavanaugh during his contentious Senate confirmation hearings and played a role in ushering him through the process.

After the hearing, Kaplan called Kavanaugh and his wife his "closest friends in D.C.”

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The groups, including the American Economic Liberties Project, Blue Future and Demand Progress, say that friendship means the justice should recuse himself from a class action case against Facebook scheduled for next term.

“Brett Kavanaugh must recuse himself from this case based on his deep, personal connections to the top leadership at Facebook," the groups said in a statement Friday.

"The top lobbyist at Facebook called Kavanaugh his ‘closest friend in Washington’ and even hosted a private celebration for Kavanaugh at his home after he was confirmed despite multiple, credible allegations of sexual assault. Brett Kavanaugh cannot possibly claim to be neutral in this case."

The case is asking what should be considered an "autodialer" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The plaintiff in the case, Noah Duguid, claims Facebook used an autodialer to warn him via text that someone accessed his account, although he does not have one.

Duguid claims he was unable to unsubscribe from the messages.

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There is precedent for justices recusing themselves from cases involving friends.

Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorNames to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court READ: Supreme Court justices mourn death of Ginsburg, 'an American hero' READ: Supreme Court justices offer tributes to Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE, for example, recused herself from a case over faithless electors earlier this year because of her friendship with one of the parties involved in the lawsuit.

Fix the Court, a transparency group focused on urging justices to avoid conflicts of interest, said Kavanaugh probably doesn’t need to recuse himself in this case, although future Facebook cases may be a different story.

Justices have recused 145 times over the past term, according to the group.