Arnold & Porter partner Lisa Blatt, a self-described liberal feminist who testified on behalf of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, became one of a litany of reasons cited by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine—a critical confirmation vote—for endorsing Kavanaugh on Friday.
Collins, who kept her confirmation vote closely held until Friday afternoon, said she would support Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court. With Collins’ vote, and support from West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, Kavanaugh’s confirmation appears to be certain. The vote is expected Saturday afternoon.
Blatt wasn’t the only Big Law partner who backed Kavanaugh, but she made a point, in a Politico op-ed, to distinguish herself as a progressive who was throwing her support behind the nominee.
“I expect my friends on the left will criticize me for speaking up for Kavanaugh. But we all benefit from having smart, qualified and engaged judges on our highest court, regardless of the administration that nominates them,” Blatt wrote in August.
Collins said about Blatt’s endorsement of Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit:
“Lisa Blatt, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other woman in history, testified, quote, ‘By any objective measure Judge Kavanaugh is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. His opinions are invariably thoughtful and fair.’ Ms. Blatt, who clerked for and is an ardent admirer of Justice Ginsburg and who is in her own words an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to choose, says that Judge Kavanaugh fits within the mainstream of legal thought. She also observed that Judge Kavanaugh is remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.”
Blatt has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 33 of them, according to her law firm website. She joined Arnold & Porter in 2009 after 13 years in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office. She clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Ginsburg joined the Supreme Court.
Blatt’s portfolio has ranged from representing the Washington Redskins in a successful effort to retain its trademark to writing a brief she filed on behalf of four Iranian-American organizations challenging the Trump travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii.
Since sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh emerged during the last two weeks, Blatt has declined to speak with reporters about whether she remained committed to his confirmation. She was not immediately reached Friday for comment following Collins’ remarks.
Kavanaugh denied claims he sexually assaulted a fellow high school student, Christine Blasey Ford, at a house party in suburban Maryland in the 1980s. He inveighed against Democrats in a partisan tirade, saying the claims were part of an “orchestrated” hit to derail his confirmation. Kavanaugh has since retreated from those remarks, saying he said some things he should not have.
Although Collins said she believed Ford had been a victim of a sexual assault, there was no corroboration that Kavanaugh was the assailant and so fairness tipped the balance toward Kavanaugh.
Tony Mauro and Ellis Kim contributed reporting.