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Brett Kavanaugh
Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh Official Portrait.jpg
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Assumed office
October 6, 2018
Appointed by Donald Trump
Preceded by Anthony Kennedy
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
May 30, 2006 – October 6, 2018
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Laurence Silberman
Succeeded by Vacant
White House Staff Secretary
In office
June 6, 2003 – May 30, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Harriet Miers
Succeeded by Raul F. Yanes
Personal details
Brett Michael Kavanaugh

February 12, 1965 (1965-02-12) (age 57)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Ashley Estes (m. 2004)
Children 2
Education Yale University (BA, JD)

Brett Michael Kavanaugh (born February 12, 1965) is an American judge. He is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since October 6, 2018. He was the United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was Staff Secretary in the Executive Office of the President of the United States under President George W. Bush.

Kavanaugh played a lead role in drafting the Starr report, which urged the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump on July 9, 2018, to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, following the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

According to polling, Kavanaugh has the lowest measured approval rating of any Supreme Court Justice in the modern era.

Early life

Kavanaugh was born in Washington, D.C.. He was born to Martha Gamble (Murphy) and Everett Edward Kavanaugh Jr. He was raised in Bethesda, Maryland. He attended the same high school as Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch (just two years apart).

Kavanaugh, very active in college sports, attended Yale University. He graduated from Yale in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude. He graduated from Yale Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1990.

Early career

Kavanaugh first worked as a law clerk for Judge Walter King Stapleton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Kavanaugh was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1990 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1992.

Kavanaugh then earned a one-year partnership with the Solicitor General of the United States, Ken Starr. Kavanaugh next clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy 1993–1994.

From 1997 to 1998, Kavanaugh was a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. In 1998 he rejoined Starr as an Associate Counselor.

Kavanaugh was a principal author of the Starr Report to Congress, released in September 1998.

George W. Bush administration (2001–2006)

In December 2000, Kavanaugh joined the legal team of George W. Bush, which was trying to stop the ballot recount in Florida following the 2000 election. After Bush became president in January 2001, Kavanaugh was hired as an associate by the White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales.

In July 2003, he became Assistant to the President and White House Staff Secretary.

U.S. Circuit Judge (2006–2018)

Brett Kavanaugh Takes Oath
Kavanaugh being sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy with President George W. Bush near him

President George W. Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 25, 2003. His nomination stalled in the Senate for nearly three years. Democratic senators accused him of being too partisan. In 2003, the American Bar Association had rated Kavanaugh as "well qualified".

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended he be confirmed on a 10–8 party-line vote on May 11, 2006, he was confirmed by the Senate on May 26 by a vote of 57–36. He was sworn in June 1.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (since 2018)


The Kavanaugh family and Donald Trump
Kavanaugh and his family with President Donald Trump on July 9, 2018

Kavanaugh was one of four U.S. Court of Appeals judges to receive a personal 45-minute interview by President Donald Trump as a possible replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy. On July 9, 2018, Trump nominated Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Political commentators said that Kavanaugh's nomination would push the Supreme Court to the right for many years. He is a known critic of abortion and Roe v. Wade decision. He is a supporter of the Brown v. Board of Education decision calling it the "single greatest Supreme Court decision in history".


On September 28, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to confirm Kavanaugh to a full Senate vote in early October 2018. He was confirmed on October 6, 2018 with a 50 to 48 vote.

Personal life

Kavanaugh swearing in ceremony 01
Kavanaugh being sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts, October 2018

Kavanaugh met his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, while working at the White House in 2001. They have two daughters. Kavanaugh is a Catholic. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Kavanaugh ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 and 2015.

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