Dozens of complaints accusing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of improperly conducting himself during his contentious Senate confirmation process have been thrown out by a panel of eight federal judges.
The judges said the complaints of misconduct, including accusations that Kavanaugh made false, unduly partisan, and disrespectful statements to senators, must be dismissed because he has been confirmed to the Supreme Court and the federal law governing judicial conduct applies only to lower court judges.
Kavanaugh was a federal appeals court judge when President Donald Trump appointed him in July. He was confirmed in October.
In all, 83 complaints were filed against Kavanaugh by “lawyers, doctors, professors and concerned citizens, among others,” according to Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Some complaints also related to Senate testimony Kavanaugh gave in 2004 and 2006 when he was a nominee to become a federal appeals court judge.
“Congress has not extended the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act to Supreme Court justices,” Tymkovich wrote for the panel of judges, part of the Judicial Council of the 10th Circuit (pdf).
As they piled up at the Washington appeals court, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts in October transferred the complaints to be handled by that council.
During hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a California professor when the two were teenagers in Maryland in the 1980s. He said that he was a victim of “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” fueled by anger on the left about Trump’s 2016 election win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Senate Judiciary Committee released a 414-page report on Nov. 3 that cleared Kavanaugh of the allegations against him made by the professor and five other women. Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) referred three of the women for criminal investigation.
“It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct Committee investigations,” Grassley said in a Nov. 2 tweet.
The Senate voted 50–48 to confirm Kavanaugh.
By Andrew Chung. The Epoch Times’ Petr Svab contributed to this report.