Democratic desperation on Kavanaugh is showing

Justices have never recused themselves just because of who appointed them.

Neither of Bill Clinton’s Supreme Court appointees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, recused themselves in the 1997 Clinton v. Jones case, which personally involved the president and whether he could be forced to participate in a civil lawsuit while in office. Breyer had been nominated just eleven days after the Paula Jones lawsuit was filed, and after Clinton was already facing an Independent Counsel investigation. In 1998, when the Court decided an appeal involving Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s “Travelgate” investigation – and ruled in favor of Clinton by upholding the attorney-client privilege for notes of a conversation with former White House Counsel Vince Foster before his 1993 death – Breyer and Ginsburg did not recuse; instead, they sided with Clinton. Also in 1998, the Court declined to hear appeals by both Clinton and Starr from D.C. Circuit decisions involving the attorney-client and executive privileges applying to, among others, grand jury testimony by White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey and Clinton’s Secret Service detail. Not only didn’t Breyer and Ginsburg recuse, but they dissented together from the rest of the Court’s refusal to take Clinton’s appeal from the Lindsey ruling. Judge Kavanaugh will remember these precedents well; he was involved in litigating most of them, and personally argued the Vince Foster privilege case before the Court.

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