News Release

Kavanaugh and the Federalist Society

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh claimed Monday night: “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked to more people from more backgrounds to seek input for a Supreme Court nomination.”

FRANCIS BOYLE,  fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is a longtime critic of the Federalist Society. See this in-depth piece on the group in Emerge magazine, “Hijacking Justice.”

He said today: “Brett Kavanaugh was chosen off a list of possibilities put to Trump by Leonard Leo, who is ‘on leave‘ as executive vice president of the Federalist Society.

“Kavanaugh drafted portions of the Starr report, a political hit job. Perhaps more importantly, he drafted parts of the Ken Starr ‘referral’ to the U.S. Congress recommending that Bill Clinton be impeached for a blowjob and lying about a blowjob.

“Kavanaugh worked for then-Republican nominee George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, which effectively robbed the American people of the presidency.

“Kavanaugh amusingly invoked the name of Elena Kagan in his remarks last night, as if her hiring him at Harvard made him some kind of moderate. But it was Kagan who said ‘I love the Federalist Society.’

“The fact that if Kavanaugh gets through, the entire Supreme Court will have gone to Harvard or Yale is terrible for the country. And I say that as having graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law.

“Trump acknowledged Edwin Meese last night, which is fitting because in addition to being Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, he was a leading founder of the Federalist Society. The Independent Counsel in the Iran-Contra Scandal Judge Lawrence Walsh found that Meese was the architect of its cover-up by the Reagan administration.

“Almost all of the Bush administration lawyers responsible for its war and torture memos are members of the Federalist Society. Many members of the Federalist Society say that Brown v. Board of Education [which struck down ‘separate but equal’] was decided wrongly and practice to overturn it at the United States Supreme Court.”

Boyle said in a recent interview with The Real News “Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Retirement: End of Roe v. Wade?” that since the Robert Bork nomination “all these nominees have learned that lesson, and they will present their narrative, their script, and they will stick to it to the end. … And the Democrats aren’t going to call them. They didn’t really call Gorsuch on anything. So this is all about raw power politics.”

Boyle added: “I first received the ire of the Federalist Society when they had a meeting about how to stop me from helping expose them, when I passed around a quote from Lawrence Walsh about the group. He, a lifelong Republican, wrote: ‘I was concerned about the continuing political allegiance of Republican judges as manifested in the Federalist Society. Although the organization was not openly partisan, its dogma was political. It reminded me of the communist front groups of the 1940s and 1950s, whose members were committed to the communist cause and subject to communist direction but were not card-carrying members of the Communist Party. In calling for the narrow construction of constitutional grants of government power, the Federalist Society seemed to speak for right-wing Republicans. I was especially troubled that one of White House Counsel Boyden Gray’s assistants had openly declared that no one who was not a member of the Federalist Society had received a judicial appointment from President Bush.'”