Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1965, Judge Kavanaugh attended Catholic elementary and secondary schools. He earned both his B.A. (1987) and his J.D. (1990) at Yale College, serving as Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following his graduation from law school, Kavanaugh clerked for a year under Judge Walter Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, then Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kavanaugh then briefly worked in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General, and in the fall of 1993, he became law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 1994, Kavanaugh became an associate counsel for Kenneth Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel in Washington, D.C., retaining that position until 1997, and again briefly in 1998. He entered private practice in Washington, D.C., before going on to serve as counsel in the George W. Bush White House. Kavanaugh then became Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary.
President Bush first nominated Kavanaugh to the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2003. After receiving a hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 24, 2004, Kavanaugh did not receive a vote, and his nomination expired. The President renominated Kavanaugh on February 14, 2005, and after a second hearing and a senate vote of 57-36, he was appointed to the position on May 30, 2006. Kavanaugh and his wife have two children.
Judge Kavanaugh is highly regarded on all sides for his judicial experience and commitment to thorough preparation and thoughtful analysis. In his second Senate hearing, however, Kavanaugh referred to Roe v. Wade as “binding precedent,” and promised to follow Roe “faithfully and fully.”
A transcript of Judge Kavanaugh’s first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee can be viewed here. A transcript of the second hearing can be viewed here.
Kavanaugh, Brett M. The Judge as Umpire: Ten Principles, 65 Catholic University Law Review 683-692 (Spring 2016).
Tyler, Amanda L., et al. A Dialogue with Federal Judges on the Role of History in Interpretation, 80 George Washington Law Review Arguendo 1889-1921 (November 2012).