Statements made by new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have lead to some ethics complaints which Chief Justice John Roberts is now referring to other federal courts for review.
More than a dozen complaints are being referred to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denver, Colorado. At least two of those complaints were filed by the Democratic Coalition, a political action committee in Washington, according to Buzzfeed News.
The complaints, which Roberts indicated he was first notified of on Sept. 20, were originally filed with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where Kavanaugh served for 12 years, and center around statements he made during his confirmation hearings.
Roberts was asked by the circuit executive of that court to transfer the complaints to another circuit out of a “concern that local disposition may weaken public confidence in the process.”
Roberts requested in a letter to Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, the 10th Circuit’s chief circuit judge, that he review the existing complaints and “any pending or new complaints related to the same subject matter,” by dealing with the complaints himself, appointing a special committee or even dismissing them.
Appointed by former President George W. Bush, Tymkovich is on President Donald Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees.
The complaints “do not pertain to any conduct in which Judge Kavanaugh engaged as a Judge,” DC Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said in a statement issued Saturday. “The complaints seek investigations only of the public statements he has made as nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
In a twist of irony, the complaints would have come under the supervision of Merrick Garland as the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit. But Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Barack Obama and never considered by Senate Republicans due to the pending 2016 presidential election, has recused himself from complaints against Kavanaugh.
Any person can file a misconduct complaint against a federal judge in the courthouse or region where the judge serves, according to the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.