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Tenth Circuit Likely to Follow Letter of the Law, Meaning Ethics Complaints about Kavanaugh Will Be Dropped

Image result for john roberts brett kavanaughChief Justice Roberts has transferred about a dozen ethics complaints that members of the public made about then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Denver-based Tenth Circuit.

The complaints stem from Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, which some opponents have claimed was untruthful.

These complaints raise the larger issue of whether a judge can be reprimanded for actions taken outside the courtroom.

The answer, of course, is “yes,” though in this case, given that Kavanaugh is now a Supreme Court justice, there is no recourse or reprimand for him, save the high bar of impeachment (and we don’t know of anyone who seriously wants to go down that road given all the other pressing issues before the House). Thus the Tenth Circuit is likely to drop the complaints.

Hopefully, the bipartisan Judiciary ROOM Act, which passed by voice vote out of the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 13 and includes a measure that would compel the Supreme Court to promulgate its own ethics code, becomes law in the lame duck, and the ongoing confusion over judges and justices’ ethical obligations becomes a relic.

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