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Friday round-up

For The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Nicholas Fandos report that “[t]he senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee referred information involving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, to federal investigators on Thursday, but the senator declined to make public what the matter involved.” Additional coverage comes from Seung Min Kim and Elise Viebeck for The Washington Post, Richard Wolf for USA Today, Kristina Peterson and Jess Bravin for The Wall Street Journal, Burgess Everett and Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politico, and Jennifer Haberkorn for the Los Angeles Times, who reports that the Intercept, an online news publication that originally revealed the existence of the letter, “said the letter apparently describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a young woman while they were in high school, but included no details.” Nina Totenberg reports for NPR that “[t]he White House is accusing Senate Democrats of an unfounded ‘11th hour attempt to delay’ a vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.” The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal asserts that “[t]he episode says more about the desperation of Democrats than it does about Mr. Kavanaugh, and the real disgrace would be if Republicans did anything other than move promptly to a confirmation vote.”

For The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim reports that “[t]he Senate Judiciary Committee delayed its vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh until next week, as the deeply bitter fight over his confirmation intensified and a handful of moderate senators continued to deliberate privately over whether to support him.” Additional coverage comes from Richard Wolf at USA Today, who reports that “[t]he action keeps Kavanaugh on schedule to win Senate confirmation before the Oct. 1 start of the court’s 2018 term,” despite attempts by Democrats during yesterday’s committee meeting to gain access to additional documents from Kavanaugh’s years in the Bush White House.

At USA Today, Christal Hayes reports that “[a] watchdog group is asking the Justice Department to investigate a number of groups they say may be illegally pressuring Sen. Susan Collins to gain her vote against … Kavanaugh,” which “Collins says she sees … as an attempt to bribe her for the vote.” Geof Koss and Ellen Gilmer report for E&E News that “Sen. Lisa Murkowski is scrutinizing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s record on tribal issues, as pressure grows from Alaska Natives to oppose President Trump’s latest pick for the high court.”

For this blog, in a post originally published at Howe on the Court, Amy Howe offers highlights from Kavanaugh’s responses to over 1,200 written questions submitted by Judiciary Committee members in the wake of the hearing. At Education Week, Mark Walsh reports that Kavanaugh explained in response to one question “that he assumed the father of a student killed in the Parkland, Fla., shooting who had approached him on the chaotic first day of his confirmation hearing was a protestor.”

At Rewire.News, Imani Gandy argues that both sides in the dispute over whether Kavanaugh was expressing his own views or those of a litigant when he used the term “abortion-inducing drugs” at the hearing to describe contraceptives “are overlooking the important part: the fact that Kavanaugh’s opinion in Priests for Life … suggests a willingness to allow evangelicals, by claiming a sincerely held religious belief, to be exempted from laws intended to provide people with contraceptive access through their employers, even when following those laws would require said employers to do nothing more than sign a piece of paper.” In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Paul Waldman writes that “a Supreme Court with Kavanaugh on it could create a free-for-all when it comes to the influence of money in politics, a new era in which corruption is absolutely rampant — and completely legal.” At The Daily Signal, Thomas Jipping deplores “the misdirection, the fake indignation, the sudden interest in a once-irrelevant confirmation process, [and] the most creative obstruction tactics” of Senate Democrats who “already had their minds made up” to oppose the nomination.


  • At The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro reports that in response “to continued #MeToo scrutiny of the federal judiciary, the Judicial Conference,” headed by Chief Justice John Roberts, “on Thursday proposed significant changes in its code of conduct and rules to make it easier for employees to file complaints, and harder for perpetrators to escape punishment.”
  • At the Yale Journal on Regulation’s Notice & Comment blog, Bernard Bell offers the second in a series of posts on the issues in a case involving the scope of the Freedom of Information Act’s trade-secrets exemption, in which the Supreme Court recently recalled the mandate.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman assesses the performance of “attorneys [who] have argued cases across the last five Supreme Court terms, from 2013 through 2017.”

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Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Sep. 14, 2018, 7:39 AM),