In 2006, The Bar Association Questioned Kavanaugh’s Temperament And Honesty

White House photo by Eric Draper

The American Bar Association downgraded Brett Kavanaugh's rating in 2006 after questioning his temperament and honesty.

As Brett Kavanaugh prepared for his second confirmation hearing in 2006, when he was up for a seat on a federal appeals court, the American Bar Association revised his rating downward after initially giving him its highest rating, according to The New York Times.

> The revised rating, the group explained, was prompted by new concerns about Mr. Kavanaugh’s demeanor and veracity, foreshadowing some critiques of his testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to accusations of sexual misconduct.


> The bar association’s new rating in 2006 — “qualified” instead of “well qualified” — was still quite positive. It meant, the committee explained, that Mr. Kavanaugh had met its “very high standards with respect to integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.”

The change in his rating did not keep Kavanaugh from the bench — he was confirmed that year to the United States Court of Appeals to the District of Columbia Circuit.

> But the group’s 2006 statement, based in large part on confidential interviews, has received renewed attention in light of recent questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s temperament and truthfulness.


> “The 2006 interviews raised a new concern involving his potential for judicial temperament,” Stephen L. Tober, the chairman of the bar association’s standing committee on the federal judiciary, told the Judiciary Committee at the time.


> Mr. Tober summarized a handful of unflattering comments from unnamed judges and lawyers to support that conclusion. One judge called Mr. Kavanaugh simultaneously unprepared and sanctimonious. A lawyer said he had dissembled in his handling of a case. A third interviewee questioned Mr. Kavanaugh’s “ability to be balanced and fair should he assume a federal judgeship.”

But in a 2006 conference call with senators and their aides, bar association representatives offered a bit more information — particularly regarding emails stolen from Democratic members of Congress during the time Kavanaugh worked for the White House.

> In a transcript of the conference call, [Marna S.] Tucker raised concerns about documents concerning judicial nominations stolen from the computer servers of Democratic lawmakers and passed along to Mr. Kavanaugh when he worked in the White House Counsel’s Office. He has said he did not know the documents had been stolen.


> Ms. Tucker said she was surprised by Mr. Kavanaugh’s attitude when she asked him about the matter.


> “He did not express any concern that the process had been compromised or that there was the need for a White House investigation,” she said. “We were concerned about his lack of interest in that particular matter, considering we felt that the process for which he was responsible had been tainted.”

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