U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Confirmed May 26, 2006
Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on May 26, 2006, as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DC Circuit hears appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and reviews the decisions of a number of administrative agencies.
Throughout his career as an appellate lawyer, a prosecutor, and an Assistant to the
President, Brett Kavanaugh has demonstrated legal excellence and the fair-minded
temperament to serve as a federal appellate judge.
The American Bar Association (the Democrat's "gold-standard") rated Judge Kavanaugh
"Well Qualified" to serve on the DC Circuit.
Judge Kavanaugh has an extraordinary range of experience in the public and private sectors
that makes him uniquely qualified for the D.C. Circuit. He has dedicated the majority of
his 15 years of practice to public service.
Prior to his appointment to the United States Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh served as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. In that capacity, he was responsible for coordinating all documents to and from the President. Before that, he served for two years as Senior Associate Counsel and Associate Counsel to the President. In that capacity, he worked on the numerous constitutional, legal, and ethical issues handled by that office.
Prior to his service in this Administration, Judge Kavanaugh was a partner at the
law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where his practice focused on appellate matters.
Judge Kavanaugh served as an Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent
Counsel, where he handled a number of the novel constitutional and legal issues
presented during that investigation.
Judge Kavanaugh specialized in appellate law and has extensive experience in the federal
appellate courts, both as a law clerk and as counsel.
Judge Kavanaugh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, as well as
Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Walter Stapleton of the Third
Prior to his Supreme Court clerkship, Judge Kavanaugh earned a prestigious one-
year fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States. The
Solicitor General's office represents the United States before the Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh has argued both civil and criminal matters before the Supreme
Court and appellate courts throughout the country.
Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable academic credentials. He received his B.A. from Yale
College and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he served as Notes Editor of
the Yale Law Journal.
In addition to devoting most of his career to public service, Judge Kavanaugh has regularly offered his legal expertise and personal time to serving his community.
While in private practice, Judge Kavanaugh took on pro bono matters,
including representation of the Adat Shalom congregation in Montgomery
County, Maryland against the attempt to stop construction of a synagogue in the
Judge Kavanaugh represented, on a pro bono basis, six-year-old Elian Gonzalez after the Immigration and Naturalization Service decided to return him to Cuba.
People from across the political spectrum supported Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the D.C. Circuit and have expressed their admiration for his professional acumen and his personal integrity and fairness.
Judge Walter Stapleton said of Judge Kavanaugh, "He really is a superstar. He is a
rare match of talent and personality."
William P. Barr, former Attorney General of the United States and current Vice
President and General Counsel of Verizon wrote, "Brett quickly established
himself as one of the key outside lawyers I went to on some of my toughest legal
issues. He has a keen intellect, exceptional analytical skills, and sound judgment.
His writing is fluid and precise. I found that he was able to see all sides of an
issue and appreciate the strengths and weakness of competing approaches. He
was particularly effective in dealing with novel issues which required some
original thinking. ... In addition to his powerful legal skills, I can say
unequivocally that he possesses precisely the temperament we seek in our federal
judges. He has a profound sense of humility and the intellectual curiosity and
honest to explore and consider contending positions. He is patient and highly
considerate of others. Above all, he is blessed with a delightful sense of humor."
Professor Robert M. Chesney from Wake Forest University School of Law wrote,
"I have come to learn that [Judge Kavanaugh] is an immensely bright lawyer who
combines intellect and experience with a tremendous work ethic. Equally
significant, moreover, through all of my conversations with him on a wide variety
of subjects I have found him to be a very reasonable and open-minded thinker.
He is not an ideologue; on the contrary, he is intellectually open and moderate. It
may be a cliché, but it is fair to say that he has a judicial temperament. Because
he combines these essential judicial qualities intelligence, experience, diligence,
and open-mindedness I whole-heartedly support his nomination."
According to Mark H. Tuohey III, former President of the District of Columbia
Bar, "[Judge Kavanaugh] is exceptionally well qualified to serve on one of the
nation's most important appellate courts, as he possesses keen intellectual
prowess, superior analytical skills and a strong commitment to applying the role
of law in a fair and impartial manner. As well, Mr. Kavanaugh's interpersonal
skills will enable him to become a strong collegial member of a court where
personal relationships lend themselves to a better administration of justice."