“A group of Kavanaugh’s female former clerks wrote, ‘It is not an exaggeration to say that we would not be the professors, prosecutors, public officials and appellate advocates we are today without his enthusiastic encouragement and unwavering support.’”
Kavanaugh’s clerk hires: inside the diverse, ivy-heavy group of 48
By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro
The National Law Journal
July 26, 2018
Nominees rarely boast about their clerks as their nominations are announced. But Kavanaugh did just that on July 9 at his White House debut. “As a judge, I hire four law clerks each year. I look for the best,” Kavanaugh told a nationwide audience. “My law clerks come from diverse backgrounds and points of view. I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”
The National Law Journal collected the available data on Kavanaugh’s 48 clerks. Here are some of the findings.
Gender diversity. As Kavanaugh stated, he has hired more women than men: 25 females and 23 men, to be exact. All four of his law clerks from 2014 to 2015 were women. And 21 of the women went on to U.S. Supreme Court clerkships.
In a July 12 letter to U.S. Senate leaders, a group of Kavanaugh’s female former clerks wrote, “It is not an exaggeration to say that we would not be the professors, prosecutors, public officials and appellate advocates we are today without his enthusiastic encouragement and unwavering support.”
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate Kathryn Cherry, an African-American woman who clerked for Kavanaugh from 2013 to 2014, said he was “very interested in making sure that we have a seat at the table. He thought it was important, even necessary.” She added, “He urged me to talk more.”
Race and ethnicity. Thirteen of the 48 Kavanaugh clerks are minorities: five African-Americans, six Asian Americans, and two Hispanics. All but four of the minority clerks have gone on to the Supreme Court, though two of those four are recent clerks whose plans are pending.
Latham & Watkins partner Roman Martinez, a Hispanic who clerked for Kavanaugh in 2008, attributes Kavanaugh’s interest in diversity in part to his mother, who became a lawyer, prosecutor and judge. “He saw firsthand some of the stumbling blocks his mom faced,” Martinez said.
The justice network. From his start as judge in 2006, Kavanaugh became known as one of the top “feeder judges,” a prestigious position for him as well as his clerks. He sent 39 of his 48 clerks to the high court, including clerks hired for the upcoming term.
But not all of Kavanaugh’s clerks are conservative, and he sent two clerks to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, two to Elena Kagan, and one to Stephen Breyer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the only member of the court not to have hired a Kavanaugh clerk.
“Policy and politics do not alter his approach to judging. This country would be fortunate to have Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice,” [former Kavanaugh clerk Zac] Hudson said in statement the White House posted.