May 02, 2006

Kavanaugh: Too "young and inexperienced?"

Human Events and Matthew Franck at Bench Memos have reported that one of the Senate Democrats claims against Brett Kavanaugh is that he is too “young and inexperienced.”

However, a brief look at the history of both the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court shows how ridiculous these claims are on their face.

What do Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Harry S. Truman and Theodore Roosevelt all have in common? They all nominated someone to the D.C. Circuit who is the same age or younger than Brett Kavanaugh is currently.

George H.W. Bush nominated current Chief Justice John Roberts to the D.C. Circuit Court in 1992 at age 37.

Ronald Reagan nominated one-time Supreme Court nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg to the court in 1986 when Ginsburg was just 40. Kenneth Starr was only 37 when President Reagan nominated him in 1983.

Harry T. Edwards was appointed to the court in February 1980 after being nominated by Jimmy Carter. At the time Edwards was 40 years-old.

In 1949 Harry Truman made three recess appointments to the D.C. Circuit who were later confirmed by the Senate. Two of them were as old as or younger than Kavanugh: George T. Washington (age 41) and David L. Bazelon (age 40). Bazelon was eventually replaced by Edwards.

In 1906 the Senate confirmed Charles Henry Robb, one of Theodore Roosevelt’s nominees to the court. Robb was 39 when he began his tenure on the court.

None of these nominees came to the bench with any previous judicial experience. Of these nominees only John Roberts was not confirmed and that was due to the election of Bill Clinton, not Roberts’ youth.

The Democrats criticisms also don’t hold up very well when you take into consideration the history of the highest court in the land. The U.S. Supreme Court has had several justices who were nominated before they reached the age of 42.

Liberal icon William O. Douglas was still 40 when he was confirmed by the Senate in 1939. This Franklin D. Roosevelt nominee had absolutely no judicial experience before ascending to the nation’s highest court.

Justice John Archibald Campbell was still two months shy of his 42nd birthday when he was confirmed by the Senate after being nominated by Franklin Pierce.

President Millard Fillmore made Benjamin Robbins Curtis a recess appointment to the Supreme Court when Curtis was 41.

One of the greatest Supreme Court Justices in history, Joseph Story, was only 32 when he was appointed by the “Father of the Constitution,” President James Madison.

The “Father of Our Country,” President George Washington, appointed the 38 year-old James Iredell to the Supreme Court in 1790.

A look at the biographies of the current U.S. Supreme Court also undermines the Democrats claims. Along with Roberts, Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito were nominated to the federal bench before their 41st birthdays. Neither man had any prior judicial experience before being circuit court judges.

Obviously, the Democrats’ hypocritical and bogus claim simply does not stand up to the historical record.