Is Brett Kavanaugh the man who will finally bring down Roe?

“Vibrant” is a curious way to describe the Catholic community in Washington DC. To be sure, the Masses draw extremes. On most Sundays, the pews are filled by politicians, staffers, lobbyists and other middle-class transplants. Grey suits and wire-framed glasses abound. At the same time, the annual Solemn High Mass for Blessed Karl of Austria, the last Austrian emperor, is held every year at Saint Mary Mother of God in Chinatown. Monarchists and royalists (including a few Habsburgs) converge on the republic’s capital once a year. Yet “vibrant” is the word Brett Kavanaugh chose.

President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court is a lector at the Blessed Sacrament Shrine, just a few blocks from the Chevy Chase Country Club. The parish is liturgically conservative Novus Ordo and fairly well-to-do. Kavanaugh also serves meals to the homeless for Catholic charities and coaches a Catholic Youth Organization basketball team.

A cradle Catholic, he served as an altar boy in the archdiocese 40 years ago. After graduating from Georgetown Prep – a Jesuit school associated with the college of the same name – he attended Yale, first as an undergraduate and then as a law student.

Early in his career, he earned a reputation as a Republican partisan. In 1993 he began a clerkship under Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee to the Supreme Court whose seat Kavanaugh has been nominated to fill. He graduated from Yale in 1990. In 1998 he authored large parts of the Starr Report, which argued for then Bill Clinton’s impeachment on the grounds of perjury and obstruction. In 2001 –­ the same year that his mother retired as a judge – Kavanaugh was appointed associate counsel to George W Bush.

Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 2003. Democrats stalled his confirmation until 2006, when he was sworn in by Justice Kennedy. While serving on the court, Kavanaugh earned a reputation as a kingmaker. His clerkships were highly coveted by young, Republican-sympathising lawyers looking to fast-track their careers.

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