Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing
Brett Kavanaugh. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

During confirmation hearings last week, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was asked about his relationship to former GOP Senate aide Manuel Miranda. Today on Slate, a lawyer wrote that because of his answer, Kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court, and in fact should be impeached from his current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

 

Who is Manuel Miranda?

Miranda was a Republican Senate aide in the early 2000s, during the George W. Bush administration. Between 2001 and 2003, he stole confidential letters, notes and talking points written by Democrats about Bush's prospective judicial nominees, giving them to Republicans so those nominees could prepare for questions raised during their confirmation hearings. Miranda was forced to resign his Senate gig, and his action was referred to the U.S. attorney's office, but he was never prosecuted.

 

Miranda, now a private attorney, has said he worked "closely" with Kavanaugh, who was associate White House counsel at the time, to prepare judicial nominees for their hearings. Miranda said he may have shared stolen material with Kavanaugh, but never told him the material came from Democrats.

 

What does Brett Kavanaugh have to do with this?

During the third day of his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh was asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) if he knew he had received notes and talking points stolen from Democrats. Kavanaugh said he hadn't. He was asked the same question during his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for lower court appointments. Back then, Kavanaugh also denied receiving stolen material.

 

But Leahy said Kavanaugh was "not truthful." The senator pointed to newly uncovered emails that were sent to and forwarded by Kavanaugh, which referred to the information being improperly obtained. One email warned Kavanaugh not to distribute the material. One email chain was titled "spying," and Democratic files were referred to as "confidential" several times.

 

In Monday's Slate piece, Lisa Graves, an attorney who wrote some of the memos that had been stolen, wrote that Kavanaugh had lied under oath and covered up what he received from Miranda. "During the hearings on his nomination to the D.C. Circuit a few months after the Miranda news broke, Kavanaugh actively hid his own involvement, lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee by stating unequivocally that he not only knew nothing of the episode, but also never even received any stolen material," she wrote.

Graves added: "Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance—which I personally find implausible—there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too."

She said that because Kavanaugh lied about the stolen material three times under oath, he should be rejected for the Supreme Court and removed from his current bench.