U.S. Supreme Court

Kavanaugh has worst favorability rating of any SCOTUS justice, despite conciliatory opinions

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had the worst favorability rating among his colleagues in a March poll, but the numbers still “understate the vehemence of the opposition,” according to a story by Bloomberg Law.

Thirty-two percent of the respondents viewed Kavanaugh unfavorably in the Marquette University Law School poll, while 21% viewed him favorably, Bloomberg Law reports. The only other conservative justice with a negative net-favorability rating was Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“Kavanaugh is at the center of the conservative court, joining the majority more than any other justice in the past two terms,” the article reports. “He’s less confrontational than some colleagues, often acknowledging the force of the other side’s arguments. In casting key votes to eliminate constitutional abortion protections and expand gun rights, he wrote separately to lay out limits to those rulings.”

Melissa Murray, a professor at the New York University School of Law, who testified against Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings in 2018, told Bloomberg Law that Kavanaugh’s concurrences tried to portray the court’s conservative rulings as “perhaps less doctrinaire and less extreme than they actually are.” He also may be trying to curtail “the more extreme tendencies” of his conservative colleagues, she said.

Yet opponents continue to express hostility, especially following the decision that he joined striking down Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion. Protests happen outside Kavanaugh’s home. An armed man was arrested after telling police that he intended to kill Kavanaugh. Late-night comedians continue to make jokes.

At a Morton’s the Steakhouse in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, protesters gathered out front, leading Kavanaugh to exit through a back door, the Washington Post reports. In a rare but bland speech by Kavanaugh in 2019 at the Federalist Society, protesters blew rape whistles and dressed as characters from The Handmaid’s Tale, Bloomberg Law reports.

Some of the hostility may be due to accusations during confirmation hearings by Christine Blasey Ford, who had alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed during a party when they were in high school. Ford said Kavanaugh tried to pull off her swimsuit, groped her and covered her mouth with his hand. Kavanaugh denied the accusations.

Despite his emotional confirmation-hearings testimony in response to Ford’s accusations, Kavanaugh does not appear resentful, at least not in public, according to Bloomberg Law. Christopher Bartolomucci, a former colleague of Kavanaugh, told Bloomberg Law that he hasn’t detected even “a trace of bitterness” when he sees Kavanaugh in private settings.

Kavanaugh “is a nice, kind, sweet guy and bears no resemblance to the worst caricatures that came out of the confirmation process,” Bartolomucci said.

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