More WaPo: "The elite world of Brett Kavanaugh" sounds pretty ... middle-class, actually

Remember when reading this that reporters don’t write headlines, but editors do approve them. Thus we find an interesting, nuanced, and remarkably relatable profile of Brett Kavanaugh’s life from Michelle Boorstein and Paul* Schwartzman running under this headline:


That headline certainly lays out some hints about what might come in the article. Does he light his cigars with $100 bills? Chill his martinis with the tears of the poor in the wintertime? Er … how about serve food to the poor in between work and coaching his daughter’s school basketball team?

Don’t expect it to silence the critics entirely, but this profile from Boorstein and Schwartzman might turn the volume down a little on the “frat-boy” attacks. While Kavanaugh lives in an upscale Chevy Chase neighborhood, his net worth is definitely on the lower end of the community scale. The Kavanaughs come across in this profile as a solidly middle-class family more interested in service than in courting the powerful:

Politics is not what comes up when Ashley Kavanaugh, the town manager for their section of Chevy Chase, organizes their neighborhood’s Fourth of July parade, a procession that lasts for all of two blocks and ends with a barbecue.

Her husband, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has been known to help direct traffic at the parade, ready to banter with neighbors about the Washington Nationals, whose games he regularly attends.

Nor does politics arise when Kavanaugh attends 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sundays at Blessed Sacrament, sometimes accompanied by his two daughters, still in the basketball uniforms they wore to games they played — and he coached — that day.


In fact, Kavanaugh’s identity surprised the bartender at his favorite local watering hole. Until Kavanaugh’s name came up as a potential candidate for the Supreme Court opening, Tim Higgins had no idea that Kavanaugh was an attorney, let alone an appellate court jurist. “Most people in Washington tell you what they do,” Higgins noted to the reporters when asked about his now-famous client.

Even those who did know Kavanaugh’s job say he didn’t talk politics, preferring to stick to other interests in conversation:

Gregory Chernack, a Democrat and lawyer who lives around the corner, said he was aware of Kavanaugh’s conservatism but has never had any interest in talking politics with him.

“If I talk to Brett, it’s either about baseball or Springsteen,” said Chernack, who is chairman of the town council for their neighborhood, known as the Village of Chevy Chase, Section 5. “He’s no different than any dad in the neighborhood.”

“I know there are things we disagree on, based on what I’ve read,” Chernack said. “But I also know how eminently qualified he is to do this. He’s the type of Republican you would want the Republicans to nominate.”

The Yale News offers this distasteful look at Kavanaugh’s elite appetites:

Over the last two days, nearly 500 Yale Law alumni, students and faculty members — none of whom were in Kavanaugh’s graduating class — have signed a petition criticizing Yale for celebrating its alumnus’s nomination. But to those who knew him personally during his time at law school, the federal judge — who, if confirmed, would give the court’s conservative block a 5–4 majority, potentially leading to the rollback of abortion and voting rights — was not a fire-spitting conservative but a sports junkie with picky eating habits. …

But when it came to food, the future Supreme Court pick found hardly anything palatable, Christmas said. Kavanaugh was a “bland eater,” his roommate explained, who never ate his pasta with anything more exotic than tomato sauce or ketchup on top. At visits to Yorkside Pizza following late nights at Toad’s Place — the friends did not go often, Christmas said, as Kavanaugh had “limited dance moves” — the judge’s pizza had to be plain cheese, or sometimes just pepperoni.

“When he had spaghetti sauce, it was ragu — he didn’t want anything spicier than that,” Hartmann added.


Ketchup on pasta? That’s almost a disqualifying offense in itself. Come on, man. Stop being so elite-y!

The Boorstein-Schwartzman profile is worth reading in full, if for nothing else to discover what the Post’s editors consider an “elite world.” Perhaps the headline was meant ironically, but as it stands, those looking for more ammunition to paint Kavanaugh as someone out of touch with the common American have good reason to file a complaint for false advertising.

Update: I momentarily credited this to a “Peter Schwartzman,” not Paul. It’s fixed above, and my apologies to Paul. And Peter too, for that matter.

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David Strom 12:30 PM | April 23, 2024