WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 14, 2019 – Thursday evening, Justice Brett Kavanaugh will serve as the keynote speaker at the Federalist Society’s annual fundraiser dinner. Thousands of conservatives are spending hundreds of dollars each to hear Kavanaugh speak, which will line the pockets of the organization and help it advance an ultraconservative agenda.  By headlining the dinner, Kavanaugh is not merely aligning himself with an organization that has devoted itself to eroding critical constitutional rights and legal protections, but also playing a part to help it fundraise to continue its work.  This is unbecoming of a sitting justice.  Such behavior would likely violate the ethical code that governs all other federal judges, but the Judicial Code of Ethics regrettably does not apply to Supreme Court justices.

Responding to Kavanaugh’s appearance, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued the following statement:

“As Don McGahn famously admitted, the Federalist Society has been ‘in-sourced’ to the White House to select President Trump’s nominees. It’s the organization at the center of Leonard Leo’s nominating and PR machine – a machine that turns hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money into federal judges like Brett Kavanaugh, who will deliver for big corporate and partisan donors. A private organization funded by anonymous donors having an improper role in the selection of judges and justices is bad enough.  A Supreme Court Justice returning favors to that organization is even worse.  The Court needs an ethics code.”

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron also remarked:

“The wealthy and powerful members of the Federalist Society spent millions of dollars supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Not only is the Federalist Society confident Kavanaugh will rule favorably on their extremist agenda, but now Kavanaugh is returning the favor by headlining their big fundraiser.  It is precisely to avoid even such an appearance of impropriety that the Judicial Code of Ethics exists, and why it is outrageous that it does not apply to Supreme Court justices.  How could anyone who enters the Supreme Court believe that Kavanaugh will rule fairly and without bias knowing how invested he is in the Federalist Society’s extremely partisan mission?”

Alliance for Justice also released the following video featuring Sen. Whitehouse about Kavanaugh’s appearance: