Panel clears Supreme Court justice of misconduct
WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh cannot be disciplined for his behavior during last year’s calamitous Senate confirmation battle, a federal judicial panel ruled Thursday.
The decision by the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the United States agreed with a panel of federal judges that Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court put him out of their jurisdiction.
“Our committee, judicial councils, and chief circuit judges all lack statutory authority to review the merits of complaints against an individual no longer covered under the (Judicial Conduct and Disability) Act,” the panel said. “As a Supreme Court justice, Justice Kavanaugh is not a judge subject to the Act.”
The action followed last December’s dismissal of 83 ethics complaints against Kavanaugh by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which had been asked to conduct an investigation. The complaints alleged that he violated the code of conduct for federal judges in part by “making inappropriately partisan statements and behaving in a demonstrably hostile manner during the hearings” last year, as well as in 2004 and 2006 for a federal appeals court seat.
Kavanaugh, 54, was confirmed by a 50-48 Senate vote last October after surviving Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation of sexual misconduct while he was a high school student in the 1980s.
As President Donald Trump’s second nominee following Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the Maryland resident kept a low profile in his first term. He voted with the majority of justices more often than any of his colleagues and agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts 94% of the time.