Brett Kavanaugh is the second judge, following the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch in April 2017, to be nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States during his administration.
Kavanaugh is a Yale Law School graduate, who clerked for a number of Judges before working in the Office of Independent Counsel and then the White House under the Bush Administration. He has subsequently served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals from which he hopes to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, although his path to that position is being blocked by sexual assault allegations from a number of women.
His Early Life
Kavanaugh was born Brett Michael Kavanaugh on the 12th of February 1965 in Washington, D.C. but was raised in Bethesda, Maryland. Due to his family’s strong religious beliefs, young Kavanaugh attended an all-boys Catholic high school, Georgetown Preparatory School, which turns out to be one of the most selective boarding schools in the United States. He earned a place in the school thanks to his very good academic performances and athletic abilities.
After graduating from Georgetown Prep in 1983, Kavanaugh attended Yale University where he was a history major. During his time at Yale, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and also played for the school’s junior varsity basketball team after failing to make the cut on its senior team. Kavanaugh also spent some time writing articles on various sports for the Yale Daily News before graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude. He, however, remained at the university for three more years to fulfill the requirements for a Juris Doctor degree which he got in 1990.
Having already worked as a law clerk for a number of judges, Brett Kavanaugh was admitted into the Maryland Bar the same year he graduated, and then two years later to that of the District of Columbia. In D.C., Kavanaugh earned a one-year fellowship with Ken Starr who was the Solicitor General of the United States. After the expiry of his fellowship, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a year before again returning to work for Starr.
In 1997, Brett Kavanaugh became a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. After working with the legal team of George W. Bush in 2000, Kavanaugh was hired as an associate by White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales. By July 2003, he rose to the position of Assistant to the President and White House Staff Secretary as he was also nominated by President Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Kavanaugh’s nomination stalled for three years in the Senate before he was confirmed on May 26, 2006.
In 2018, after the retiring of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court of the United States, Kavanaugh, who happened to be Kennedy’s former clerk, was nominated to replace him by President Donald Trump.
His Family Life
Brett Kavanaugh was clearly inspired to study law and become a jurist by his parents; Everett Edward Kavanaugh, Jr. and Martha Kavanaugh, who were both officers of the court in one way or another. His father, Everett Edward Kavanaugh, Jr, was an attorney who later took up the position of president at the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, what is today known as the Personal Care Products Council. He held the position for twenty years before moving onto other things.
Kavanaugh’s mother, on the hand, began life as a history teacher at a number of high schools in the 60s and 70s. By 1978, she earned a law degree from Washington College of Law and began practising as a lawyer. Martha Kavanaugh rose to the position of Assistant State’s Attorney in Montgomery County before she was in 1995, appointed a Maryland state Circuit Court Judge. She served until 2001 when she retired.
Brett Kavanaugh is married to the former personal secretary to President George W. Bush, Ashley Estes. The couple got married in 2004 and have two daughters; Liza and Margaret Kavanaugh.
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Other Interesting Facts About Brett Kavanaugh
During his time at Kikland & Ellis LLC, Brett Kavanaugh authored two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court which supported the expression and conducting of religious activities in public places. In his time as an attorney, however, he only argued one case before the Supreme Court, which he lost.
He was also a principal author of the Starr Report to Congress which argued for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton following the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton sex scandal.
Kavanaugh, himself, has been accused of hiring female law clerks based on looks, with more than half of the law clerks he has had being women. This came to light during his Senate hearing for the Supreme Court position as some women have come forward to say he sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers or in college. One of such women is Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey Ford who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15. Another woman is former Yale University student Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis against her face at a college party.