Fresh off of an unprecedented confirmation hearing, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has made an unprecedented impact on the workings of the court.
Because Kavanaugh hired four female law clerks to work for him, women now hold the majority of clerkships for the first time in court history, according to The New York Times.
One of the four women is black, which means that in his very few days on the court, Kavanaugh has equaled the number of black clerks hired by liberal Justice Ruth Baser Ginsburg, according to a USA Today analysis of court clerks. That same analysis found most Supreme Court clerks were while males.
Kavanaugh had promised during his hearings that while serving on the Supreme Court, he would follow the precedent he set over 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit when most of the clerks he hired were women.
“My women law clerks said I was one of the strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers,” Kavanaugh said at the hearing, The Washington Post reported. “And they wrote that the legal profession is fairer and more equal because of me.”
Kavanaugh used his position as a feeder for those seeking to move up.
“In my time on the bench, no federal judge — not a single one in the country — has sent more women law clerks to clerk on the Supreme Court than I have,” he said.
To be ready to hit the ground running, Kavanaugh had already made a plan to hire his clerks so that as soon as he was on the court, his team could be in place.
“If confirmed, I’ll be the first justice in the history of the Supreme Court to have a group of all-women law clerks. That is who I am,” he told senators.
Clerk Kim Jackson, who is black, formerly worked for Kavanaugh. His other clerks — Shannon Grammel, Megan Lacy and Sara Nommensen — worked for other judges. All began work Sunday.
The spokesman for a liberal group that opposed Kavanaugh said that this type of diversity would normally be applauded, but not now.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more than female clerks to undo the damage to the legitimacy of the court done by this travesty of a confirmation process. Women will feel much more confident in the court when their fundamental rights are protected and their equal dignity is respected in the rulings handed down by the justices,” said Elizabeth B. Wydra, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
One of Kavanaugh’s supporters said the move was business as usual for the judge.
“He’s been promoting professional opportunities for women his entire career,” said Porter Wilkinson, who was on Kavanaugh’s confirmation team.
The website Law.com broke down the numbers of Kavanaugh’s clerks. If found that as an appeals court judge, he hired 25 female clerks and 23 males. Of the 25 women, 21 went on to Supreme Court positions as law clerks.
Of those who went to the Supreme Court, 13 were hired by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., but members of the court’s liberal wing also hired his former clerks. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan each hired two of his clerks, while Justice Stephen Breyer hired one.
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