Bush Scandals List

137. Stacking of federal judiciary with hacks

The stacking of the federal judiciary with unqualified rightwing hacks. A bipartisan group of Senators known as the Gang of 14 (7 Democrats and 7 Republicans) came together to avoid the nuclear option (the elimination of the Senate filibuster) and pushed through hyper-conservative judicial choices: Priscilla Owen to the 5th Circuit on May 25, 2005 (55-43), Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit on June 8, 2005 (56-43), and William Pryor to the 11th Circuit on June 9, 2005 (53-45). No agreement could be made on two others: William Myers and Henry Saad. Their names were eventually withdrawn.

The Gang of 14 was also responsible for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (again to the important DC Circuit) on May 26, 2006 by a vote of 57-36. Kavanaugh was the most inexperienced candidate to the circuit in its more than 100 year history. He had no trial experience but had worked for essentially partisan causes: Kenneth Starr’s investigations into Bill Clinton for 5 years, the 2000 Florida recount, and and the nomination and confirmation of unqualified, radically conservative candidates rather like himself as Associate Counsel in the Bush White House.

On June 27, 2007, Senator Patrick Leahy sent a letter to Alberto Gonzales referring Kavanaugh to the DOJ for possible prosecution for a false statement he made during his confirmation hearings (still waiting for a response on that one, surprise). In his responding to a question by Senator Durbin (D-IL), Kavanaugh said he had taken no part in developing the Administration’s policy with regard to enemy combatants. A June 25, 2007 article in the Washington Post and an NPR report the following day indicated that he had taken part in at least one meeting on this subject in 2002.

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