U.S. Supreme Court

10th Circuit council won't revive Kavanaugh complaints; 2 judges would send appeals elsewhere

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Brett Kavanaugh. Supreme Court of the United States.

A judicial council in Denver has affirmed its December decision to toss 83 ethics complaints against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The Judicial Council of the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday rejected 20 appeals in a 6-1 decision, with an eighth judge recusing, the National Law Journal reports. How Appealing links to the order.

The judicial council affirmed its earlier finding that the federal law governing misconduct complaints against federal judges does not apply to justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The lack of jurisdiction over Justice Kavanaugh precludes an investigative and fact-finding process, even over conduct allegedly committed while Justice Kavanaugh was a covered judge,” Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich wrote for the council.

Many of the complaints filed against Kavanaugh argued he had made false statements under oath during hearings on his nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2004 and 2006 and to the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Other complaints accused Kavanaugh of making inappropriate partisan statements, or claimed he treated members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with disrespect.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had referred the complaints to the 10th Circuit Council after Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A judge who dissented from the order on Friday, Mary Beck Briscoe, argued that the 10th Circuit Judicial Council was disqualified from considering the appeal because it had heard the case in the first instance. Instead, she said, the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability should consider the petitions for review.

Another judge, Carlos Lucero, recused himself, saying he considered himself disqualified for the reasons stated by Briscoe in her dissent. He said he would reassign the appeals to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for referral to a different circuit’s judicial council “or for other disposition as he may determine.”

A lawyer who filed one of the appeals, Jeremy Bates, told the National Law Journal he intended to file a petition for review with the judicial conference.

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