United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has withheld more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh he received in recent weeks and has chosen not to refer them to a judicial panel for investigation, reports The Washington Post.
Karen LeCraft Henderson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the same court on which Kavanaugh serves, sent the complaints to Roberts starting three weeks ago, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Henderson dismissed other complaints against Kavanaugh as frivolous, but she determined that some “were substantive enough that they should not be handled by Kavanaugh’s fellow judges in the D.C. Circuit.”
Henderson released a statement on Saturday acknowledging the complaints and said they centered on statements Kavanaugh made during his Senate confirmation hearings.
“The complaints do not pertain to any conduct in which Judge Kavanaugh engaged as a judge,” Henderson said in a statement. “The complaints seek investigations only of the public statements he has made as a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
“The situation is highly unusual, legal experts and several people familiar with the matter said,” The Post explained. “Never before has a Supreme Court nominee been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that a series of misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review.”
Justice Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush, who revealed in his memoir that Kavanaugh had helped him decide to nominate Roberts to the court.
“If Justice Roberts sits on the complaints then they will reside in a kind of purgatory and will never be adjudicated,” New York University Law School Professor Stephen Gillerse explained. “This is not how the rules anticipated the process would work.”