NYT: Republicans will certainly pounce on Kavanaugh's majority-female clerk hires

Indeed they will and indeed they have, and for good reason. After Donald Trump introduced him as the winner of Who Wants to Be a Confirmation Hearing Target?, Brett Kavanaugh made sure to emphasize his bona fides on empowering women. The New York Times reports today that this will be a major part of the public-relations strategy for promoting Kavanaugh through his confirmation vote:

Of the 48 clerks who worked for Judge Kavanaugh over 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 25 were women, said Katie Wellington, who worked for him in 2014, when all four clerks were women, including Usha Chilukuri Vance, who now clerks for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The Class of 2014 “was the first year that any judge on the D.C. Circuit had hired four female law clerks,” said Ms. Wellington, now an associate at Hogan Lovells in Washington. “It was important to him. His mother was a judge,” she said, adding that 20 of Judge Kavanaugh’s female law clerks have clerked on the Supreme Court.

Many of those women — and men — are now deployed to vouch for Judge Kavanaugh in a campaign coordinated by CRC Public Relations, a Washington firm whose conservative clients include the Federalist Society, according to its website. The Federalist Society, which functions as a conduit for conservative appointments to the federal courts, supplied Mr. Trump with a list of two dozen reliable conservatives from which he chose Judge Kavanaugh and before him, Neil M. Gorsuch.

Why would Republicans and the Trump White House want to promote the fact that more than half of Kavanaugh’s clerk positions went to women? Come on, man. Democrats had readied a full WAR ON WOMEN strategy before they even knew which candidate Donald Trump would select, and even before they knew who the finalists were. A couple of their allies were so prepared, in fact, that they forgot to update their templates completely before releasing the “death sentence for thousands of women” Kraken on Monday night.

Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon calls it a smoke screen:

Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive group urging Democrats to vote against any nominee on conservative groups’ list of preferred candidates, said the focus on Judge Kavanaugh’s staff is part of “a purposeful effort to cast himself in a light that is favorable to women because he’s anticipating that his views on abortion and contraception are going to be major issues in his confirmation.”

Well, go figure that a man who’s about to be pilloried as the main villain in the progressives’ Handsmaid Tale delusions might want to “cast himself in a light that is favorable to women.” And go figure that he’d want to ask the actual, real women who worked with him to help make that case. Unless Fallon and his allies plan to denounce these former clerks as liars and frauds, their input carries more substance and significance about Kavanaugh’s temperament than 10,000 “oppose XX” missives.

Thirty-four of the 49 clerks who worked with Kavanaugh have signed a letter testifying to his excellence and decency and submitted it to Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley. According to the signatories, that’s every one of them that do not have a restriction on getting involved in public politics. Not all of them are waiting to be asked for more testimony — or were waiting for Kavanaugh to be asked, for that matter. Sarah Pitlyk, who clerked for Kavanaugh before going to work for the Thomas More Society, wrote an impassioned argument for selecting her former boss last week at NRO:

In sum, Judge Kavanaugh has a clear, consistent, and rock-solid record on the issues that matter most to social conservatives. He has repeatedly taken conservative stands and fearlessly defended his textualist and originalist philosophy. And as I can say with confidence from having worked with him closely in chambers for a year — and benefited from his mentorship for a decade — he is a good and decent man who will never waver in the face of pressure from any quarters. He is exactly what constitutional conservatives should want on the Supreme Court.

So yes, expect Republicans to pounce on the personal testimony of those who worked with him and knew him best. That may be inconvenient for the Brian Fallons of the world who want to turn Kavanaugh into a demon from the Bobby Riggs Level of Dante’s Inferno, but for most Americans, that testimony will matter a lot more than the unhinged rantings of the progressive fringe.