We, the attorneys of the National Lawyers Guild of Rhode Island, strongly condemn confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. In addition to the extensive list of topics on which we disagree vehemently with this nominee (money in politics, civil rights, women’s rights, gun rights, etc.), there is increasing and credible evidence that Kavanaugh has committed sexual assault and, more pressing to the legal profession and judicial institutions writ large, the available evidence supports the conclusion that he has knowingly told falsehoods under oath to the United States Senate about multiple subjects in multiple hearings.
As has been extensively documented by many sources, it appears that Kavanugh lied in his latest Senate testimony pertaining to his conduct during high school and the accusations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford. It also appears that he lied to the Senate about not knowing about the allegations from Deborah Ramirez until their publication in the New Yorker magazine. These lies demonstrate a persistent pattern of dishonesty when taken together with his prior testimony before the Senate to be appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court Judgeship he currently holds, wherein he clearly misrepresented his involvement in efforts to defend the legality of the Bush Administration’s torture programs, in shepherding controversial judges through their own nominations, and in receiving documents stolen from a Democratic Senator, to name a few.
While these falsehoods are illegal and insulting, they are also a violation of the oaths that Judge Kavanaugh had to take as a lawyer and a judge. Rule 3.3 of the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys specifically concerns “Candor Towards the Tribunal.” A lawyer can neither say something they know to be false to a court, present evidence they know to be false, or even misrepresent the state of the law to the court. Penalties for violating the rules of professional conduct can include being prohibited from practicing law. That someone who violates them would play a pivotal role in determining the constitutional rights of over three hundred million people when the state of Rhode Island would be within its rights to stop him from trying auto insurance cases subverts the fair administration of justice that forms the foundation of our system of government and our chosen profession.
We understand that Rhode Island’s Senators are already committed to not appointing this apparent liar to the Supreme Court. We hope they continue to do so, in order to reinforce the values necessary to maintain and improve the institutions that protect the people of Rhode Island and the United States of America. We also urge everyone reading this to contact friends in states that do not have Senators that have made this commitment and tell them to tell their Senators to do so.
And beyond our efforts to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination, let us say this: Any lawyer that says that they believe that Judge Kavanaugh has not told demonstrable falsehoods under oath to Congress or that he should be confirmed regardless is not worth your trust, money, or support, either as private attorneys or in their own attempts to obtain elected office. As the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys state, “a lawyer should further the public’s confidence in the rule of law and the justice system.” Brett Kavanaugh’s deceitful and partisan testimony before Congress does the opposite. Lawyers, and especially Supreme Court Justices, must be held to a higher standard.
Writing on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild – Rhode Island Chapter
P.O. Box 40162
Providence, RI 02940