Court Battles

Judicial panel dismisses ethics complaints against Kavanaugh


A judicial panel has ruled to dismiss ethics complaints filed against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, finding that his confirmation to the court excludes him from the ethics rules in question.

The Judicial Conference’s Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability said it did not have authority to review the claims against Kavanaugh due to his current position on the high court. The rules in question only apply to those on lower courts, such as circuit, district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges.

“As a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Kavanaugh is not a judge subject to the Act,” Thursday’s order states, referring to the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act, a 1980 law that sets out a process for complaints against federal judges to be filed.

{mosads}The complaints against Kavanaugh were filed when he was a judge on the D.C. Circuit. They largely centered around allegations of misconduct during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, during which he furiously denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

The complaints went after Kavanaugh for allegedly “making inappropriately partisan statements and behaving in a demonstrably hostile manner during the hearings.”

Thursday’s order echoes a similar ruling from last year, which also found that the laws did not apply to Kavanaugh because he is now on the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Conduct and Disability Conference Committee was asked to revisit those claims. But a panel of judges said that because the law in question does not explicitly cover Supreme Court justices, they cannot review the claims, even if they were filed before Kavanaugh was sworn in.

“Since Justice Kavanaugh, the subject of the pending complaints, resigned his post as a covered judge and is currently a Supreme Court Justice, we lack authority to review the merits of any complaints against him,” the order states.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing captured national interest, as he sought to defend himself from allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his years in high school and college. He was eventually narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and attempted to grope her while they were both in high school in the 1980s, a claim that Kavanaugh vehemently denied.

Kavanaugh later defended his testimony, labeling it “emotional” in an op-ed for The Washington Post. But he conceded that his “tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.”

Tags Brett Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegations Supreme Court
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