I first met Kavanaugh in 2009, shortly after I left the Solicitor General’s Office. He spontaneously emailed to say he liked an article I had written for The Green Bag, an irreverent legal magazine, about my experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court. I had just started my own appellate practice, and his note was extremely thoughtful.
Months later, I asked Kavanaugh to join a panel at Georgetown Law School to review a film about college debate. He responded that he knew nothing about debate but nevertheless was happy to help. When a law student asked him how debate had shaped his career, he answered: “I actually never debated, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same.” He then offered this advice: “Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.” It was clear that judge cared about mentoring and teaching law students and was invested in helping others to succeed.
Since then, I’ve kept in regular contact with the judge, mostly to talk about kids and work-life balance, including the challenges I’ve had as a woman trying to raise two children while practicing law. Kavanaugh is a great listener, and one of the warmest, friendliest and kindest individuals I know. And other than my former boss, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I know of no other judge who stands out for hiring female law clerks. My profession is overrun with men, and unless institutions like the Supreme Court do more to hire women, the upper echelons of my profession will never fully include women.