More than two dozen witnesses are scheduled to testify either for or in opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, the Trump administration’s nominee to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a list the Senate Judiciary Committee released Thursday.
Prominent Washington appellate advocates from big firms will make appearances starting this week in support of Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2006. He will also win support from former law clerks, a former student and one of his Yale Law School roommates.
Witnesses testifying for Senate Democrats include John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon; a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, high-school mass shooting; counsel to pregnant, undocumented teens in U.S. detention facilities, and legal scholars on executive power and environmental law.
What follows is a snapshot of some of the lawyers and others who are scheduled to testify next week.
Testifying in support of Kavanaugh…
➤➤ Big Law appellate stars. The speakers will include former U.S. Solicitors General Ted Olson from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis. Maureen Mahoney of Latham & Watkins, a former deputy U.S. solicitor, will also testify in support of Kavanaugh. Lisa Blatt of Arnold & Porter will introduce Kavanaugh at the start of his confirmation hearing. Clement recently argued a religious discrimination case in front of Kavanaugh, who will be recused if the matter reaches the Supreme Court.
➤➤ Former law clerks. Williams & Connolly associate Luke McCloud will testify in support of Kavanaugh, in addition to former clerk Jennifer Mascott, a professor at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School. “He’s a voice the justices are going to be primed to listen to,” McCloud, who later clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, told the Wall Street Journal in July. Former Kavanaugh clerk Rebecca Taibleson, now an assistant U.S. attorney in Wisconsin, will also testify for Kavanaugh.
➤➤ The Yale Law connection. Liberal law professor Akhil Amar is scheduled to speak in favor of Kavanaugh. Amar taught Kavanaugh at Yale. In July, he wrote a New York Times op-ed that called President Donald Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh “his classiest move.” Amar told the NLJ he received “a lot of hate mail” after the op-ed posted. One of Kavanaugh’s Yale Law roommates, Kenneth Christmas, now vice president for legal affairs at MarVista Entertainment, will speak in favor of Kavanaugh. “Brett and I were two of the ones that looked upon [watching 'Jeopardy'] with disdain,” the former roommate, Christmas, told Yale Daily News last month.
➤➤ Kavanaugh the law school prof. One of Kavanaugh’s Harvard Law School students, Colleen Roh Sinzdak, a senior associate at Hogan Lovells, is set to testify. “Taking Judge Kavanaugh’s separation of powers class was one of the highlights of my time at HLS,” she told Harvard Law Today last month. “Judge Kavanaugh was a wonderful professor. He was clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter, and he encouraged us to explore the issues from all angles.”
➤➤ A federal criminal defender. A.J. Kramer, the top federal public defender in D.C., is on the Republican majority’s witness list. Kramer’s deputies get to argue regularly in the D.C. Circuit, where administrative cases mix with criminal challenges arising from prosecutions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “Kavanaugh sometimes rules for defendants, occasionally in surprising ways,” UC Hastings law professor Rory Little wrote this week at SCOTUSblog.
…And testifying for the Democratic minority:
➤➤ A Watergate whistleblower. John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon—and who was involved in and blew the whistle on the Watergate cover-up—is a columnist and frequent critic of the Trump administration. He can be expected to criticize the Kavanaugh nomination while the special counsel investigation of Russian election interference is ongoing.
➤➤ A pregnant immigrant teen’s lawyer. Rochelle Garza, managing partner in Garza & Garza in Brownsville, Texas, likely will offer her experience in an abortion case that went before Kavanaugh. She represented Jane Doe, a pregnant, undocumented teenager who sought an abortion while in government detention. Garza, along with lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, fought in federal court the Trump administration’s refusal to allow Doe to leave detention in order to have an abortion that was approved by Texas courts. Her case, Garza v. Hargan, went to the D.C. Circuit where, with Kavanaugh dissenting, the en banc majority allowed the abortion to go forward.
➤➤ “Parkland Strong.” Kavanaugh’s strong position on the Second Amendment will be reviewed through the eyes of Aalayah Eastmond of Parkland, Florida, a survivor of the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. She has been an activist since then in favor of curbing gun violence, expansion of background checks and bans on assault-style weapons.
➤➤ Executive power expert. Peter Shane of Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is a nationally recognized expert on separation of powers and executive power—another likely focus of the Kavanaugh hearings. Shane, a former attorney in the Reagan Justice Department, is author of “Too Much Presidential Power” and “Madison’s Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy.”
➤➤ Health care activist. Twelve-year-old Jackson Corbin of Hanover, Pennsylvania, has been lobbying Congress and state legislators against cuts in the Medicaid program. Kavanaugh’s views on the Affordable Care Act, which expanded the Medicaid program, are another likely focus of senators’ questions. Jackson and his younger brother have Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the heart, digestive system and the inability of the blood to clot.