Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh submitted his responses to Senators’ questions on Wednesday. As would be expected, he plays it close to the fairway and his answers do not give much of substance. His very lengthy responses, available online, leave many questions about Kavanaugh: his finances, his relationship with Judge Alex Kozinski, among other things. He is asked about how he came to clerk for Judge Kozinski:
21a. Did your clerkship spot with Judge Kozinski become available when another student resigned or was fired from his clerkship with Judge Kozinski? If so, please explain your understanding of the circumstances around the former clerk’s departure.
RESPONSE: Yes. I replaced another male clerk. I am not aware of the precise circumstances surrounding the former clerk’s departure.
What has been confirmed was the person he replaced was Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. A fellow Yale Law School alum, someone who Kavanaugh clerked with, worked with on the Starr Investigation, and they’re known to be friends. Kavanaugh was contacted by his Yale Law School professor to replace Azar. If not aware of the “precise circumstances,” what did he know?
More interesting are his responses to questions about his financial disclosure forms, which saw his massive personal debt mysteriously vanish overnight. He was asked about that, and his response was the ranges are broad, and never stated how they went away, regardless of where at in the ranges. His response to question 11 does state that his house was a never-ending money pit and that he is a huge sports fan. He never is asked about his country club initiation fees around the same time of $92,000 or how a man in public service tight for cash can swing that.
Finally, when it came to the father of the Parkland victim, he responded: “As I was leaving the hearing room for a recess last Tuesday, a man behind me yelled my name, approached me from behind, and touched my arm….When I turned and did not recognize the man, I assumed he was a protestor. In a split second, my security detail intervened and ushered me out of the hearing room. In that split second, I unfortunately did not realize that the man was the father of a shooting victim from Parkland, Florida.”
Daniel Cotter is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and married father of two boys living in Chicago, Illinois.