Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh lobbied in support of the controversial judge who is handling the dozens of ethics complaints filed against Kavanaugh during his confirmation process, according to The Guardian.
> Emails sent to the Senate judiciary committee and obtained by the Guardian show that beginning in 2001, Kavanaugh was involved in a high-stakes campaign to ensure that Timothy Tymkovich, another staunch conservative and a former Colorado solicitor general, would secure a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.
> Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the supreme court this month, worked on the judicial campaign in his role as a senior staff member for President George W Bush. Tymkovich was confirmed in 2003, after a long delay in the Senate. He is now chief judge on the 10th circuit court of appeals, in Colorado.
The move only heightens concerns for those who believe the nation’s highest court has become increasingly politicized and are doubtful Kavanaugh will face formal disciplinary action over his partisan rant before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
> Critics, including hundreds of law professors, legal experts and senators, have said that Kavanaugh’s performance, in which he lashed out at Democrats over allegations he committed sexual assault, lacked judicial temperament. Kavanaugh fiercely denied the sexual assault allegations.
> The chief justice of the supreme court, John Roberts, asked Tymkovich to examine more than a dozen judicial ethics complaints filed against Kavanaugh while he was technically still a circuit court judge. The complaints were not sent to Tymkovich until after Kavanaugh was confirmed to sit on the supreme court, where judges are in effect immune to disciplinary action by lower-court justices and are meant to police their own actions.
Kristine Lucius, who worked for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) during Tymkovich’s confirmation process, said all three judges are “in the same professional circle.”
> “John Roberts and Kavanaugh and Tymkovich are all in the same professional circle,” she said. “They are all tied to the Bush administration and these are all men who certainly knew each other and now are in very powerful positions on the bench.”
> They also share a conservative judicial ideology.
Kavanaugh admitted during his 2004 confirmation hearing that he “participated in the meetings of a judicial selection committee that was responsible for making recommendations to the president”.
> Emails obtained by the Guardian, which were sent to the judicial committee during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, show the Tymkovich nomination was one of several he was watching closely and that Kavanaugh helped plan a lobbying effort in newspapers in support of Tymkovich.
Lucius said Roberts only added to the perception that Supreme Court justices are above the law by choosing Tymkovich to review the complaints against Kavanaugh, as opposed to picking a judge appointed by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.
> That perception was ingrained in her, she said, in 2004, when Vice-President Dick Cheney was revealed to have gone duck hunting in Louisiana with supreme court justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia later declined to recuse himself from a case involving Cheney.
> “When I think of judicial ethics, I think of that moment with Scalia as an ‘emperors have no clothes’ moment, and the realization that there were no ethics rules that apply to those judges,” Lucius said.
> Leslie Proll, a civil rights lawyer who worked on judicial appointments when Tymkovich’s nomination was pending and now advises the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on judicial nominations, said Roberts’ efforts would not inspire public confidence in the judicial process.
> “This is the wrong judge at the wrong time,” she said. “Any other chief judge in any other circuit would have demonstrated more impartiality and less conflict. Appearance of bias is important in the law and this fails the test.”