Federal judges reviewing complaints lodged against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh said Tuesday that the allegations against the former federal appeals court judge are "serious" but that they must dismiss them without determining their merits because of Kavanaugh's October confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
Timothy Tymkovich, the Chief Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, wrote in an order that "the complaints must be dismissed because an intervening event — Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court — has made the complaints no longer appropriate for consideration under the [Judicial Conduct and Disability Act]."
The decision was widely expected.
The Judicial Conduct and Disability Act outlines procedures for filing complaints against federal judges, but the 1980 law does not cover Supreme Court justices.
In the order, Tymkovich said that most of the complaints include allegations of false statements under oath during Kavanaugh's D.C. Circuit confirmation hearings in 2004 and 2006 as well as during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings earlier this year. Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's second nominee to the top court, was accused of sexual misconduct before he was confirmed. He emphatically denied the allegations.
Tymkovich disclosed copies of the complaints with identifying information redacted on the 10th Circuit's website.
They included allegations that Kavanaugh "falsely testified about his personal conduct, behavior, and recollection of events" prior to joining the federal judiciary and that he "displayed partisan bias and lack of judicial temperament."
Kavanaugh was dogged by allegations during the confirmation process that he sexually assaulted women decades ago while in high school and college. Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who accused Kavanaugh of misconduct, testified before Congress that Kavanaugh pinned her down on a bed in the early 1980s, groped her, and attempted to remove her clothing.
Kavanaugh denied all of the allegations against him. In his testimony rebutting Ford's claims, he castigated Democrats for holding up his nomination because they were "fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election" and seeking "revenge on behalf of the Clintons."
That prompted thousands of law school faculty to sign onto a letter opposing Kavanaugh's confirmation because "he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land."
Tymkovich, a George W. Bush appointee, declined to recuse himself from the probe into Kavanaugh after a complaint was filed requesting that he do so. The complaint, Tymkovich said in a separate order, alleged that Kavanaugh advocated for Tymkovich's confirmation.
"The source for the allegations appears to be documents provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing," Tymkovich wrote. "A search of those documents reveals only that Justice Kavanaugh sent an email shortly after I was confirmed proposing a press release about numerous judicial nominees, one of whom was me."