A federal judicial council has dismissed 83 complaints filed against Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice. The council said it lacked authority under judicial misconduct law, which limits its oversight to lower-court judges.
The council summarized the complaints as alleging Kavanaugh “made false statements,” “made inappropriate partisan statements that demonstrate bias and a lack of judicial temperament,” and treating members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with disrespect.
The council didn’t adjudicate whether the complaints were valid—it said it “makes no findings on the merits of the complaints”—but stated that they were “serious.”
While the complaints were filed with the D.C. Circuit, on which Kavanaugh served as a circuit judge from 2006 to 2018, that court asked Chief Justice John Roberts to pass them to another district to avoid any appearance of impropriety by judges who had served alongside Kavanaugh making a determination about the matter. Roberts had the federal appeals court based in Denver handle it.
Kavanaugh’s nomination was imperiled following his initial testimony when allegations emerged that a former high-school acquaintance, Christine Blasey Ford, had accused him of sexual assault during a pool party when both were teens. Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh testified before Congress, and political observers generally believe his angry refutation of the claims met with President Donald Trump’s approval, as well as satisfying a few wavering GOP senators required for his confirmation to succeed.
The complaints address his testimony during confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006 about a position on the D.C. Circuit and in September 2018 for his Supreme Court nomination. The council said despite the issues raised occurring before his confirmation to the highest court, because he now occupies a seat on that bench, they no longer have jurisdiction to proceed against him.