John Roberts Received Several Complaints About Kavanaugh. None Were Investigated

Franz Jantzen, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/PublicDomain

The Chief Justice chose to sit on multiple complaints about Brett Kavanaugh, rather than refer them for investigation.

Judicial misconduct complaints against Brett Kavanaugh were not investigated and likely will never see the light of day after Chief Justice John Roberts opted against referring them to a judicial panel for investigation, according to The Washington Post.

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday.

> A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — the court on which Kavanaugh serves — passed on to Roberts a string of complaints the court received starting three weeks ago, said four people familiar with the matter.

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> That judge, Karen LeCraft Henderson, had dismissed other complaints against Kavanaugh as frivolous, but she concluded that some were substantive enough that they should not be handled by Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit.

Henderson said in a statement that the complaints regard Kavanaugh’s statements during his confirmation hearings:

> Under the law, “any person may file a misconduct complaint in the circuit in which the federal judge sits,” she said in the statement. “The complaints do not pertain to any conduct in which Judge Kavanaugh engaged as a judge. The complaints seek investigations only of the public statements he has made as a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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> People familiar with the matter say the allegations made in the complaints — that Kavanaugh was dishonest and lacked judicial temperament during his Senate testimony — had already been widely discussed in the Senate and in the public realm. Roberts did not see an urgent need for them to be resolved by the judicial branch while he continued to review the incoming complaints, they said.

Legal experts said this situation is unprecedented: “Never before has a Supreme Court nominee been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review.”

> Roberts’s decision not to immediately refer the cases to another appeals court has caused some concern in the legal community. Now that he has been confirmed, the details of the complaints may not become public and instead may be dismissed, legal experts say. Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims.

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> “If Justice Roberts sits on the complaints, then they will reside in a kind of purgatory and will never be adjudicated,” said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University Law School and an expert on Supreme Court ethics. “This is not how the rules anticipated the process would work.”

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> Roberts, an appointee of President George W. Bush, has for many years hired Kavanaugh clerks to work for him at the Supreme Court. Bush credits Kavanaugh in his book with helping him choose Roberts for the high court when Kavanaugh was a White House lawyer.

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