Brett Kavanaugh reportedly went to a Christmas party full of right-wing, ideological partisans
Also: Mississippi wants to kill a man this week. And: Law Dork in the media and The White Lotus finale. (No spoilers.)
Politico has reported that Justice Brett Kavanaugh went to a private party with a bunch of bold-type, far-right names on Friday night. Politico put the party way down in its Saturday morning newsletter, so I just wanted to make sure it led my newsletter today.
Per Politico, Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union (which hosts CPAC), and his wife, Mercedes, who worked in communications roles for George W. Bush and Donald Trump, hosted their annual Christmas party on Friday. The attendees included a who’s who of some of the most partisan, ideological, far-right figures of recent years.
Arguments in three major cases were heard in the two weeks before the party. Ten days before the party, the court heard arguments in U.S. v. Texas. And, of course, in the week of the party, the court heard arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis and Moore v. Harper.
Stephen Miller’s America First Legal — which he has already claimed is “the long-awaited answer to the ACLU” — has interests in cases pending before the court. The group, of which he is the president and Gene Hamilton is the vice president and general counsel, has filed several amicus briefs in key cases this term.
America First Legal filed an amicus brief on its own behalf in the Harvard race-conscious admissions case, another amicus brief on its own behalf in the Alabama Voting Rights Act case, and — wait for it — an amicus brief on its own behalf in the “independent state legislature” case, argued just two days before the party. The group is also counsel to a group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, who filed an amici brief that same day, Dec. 7, in a big tech case involving Section 230 liability immunity that the court granted earlier this fall and will be hearing in the new year.
We don’t know — and have no reason to believe — that anything untoward happened at the private party.
Outside of this event, however, there has been substantial reporting on the efforts of some on the right to ingratiate themselves with members of the court to advance their ideological interests. And yet, despite that recent reporting and in spite of the decreased favorability of the court in general, Kavanaugh reportedly decided to go to this private party that was attended by several far-right figures, at least one of whom has an stated interest in several key pending cases before the court.
The “Ah! Well. Nevertheless,” of this is that U.S. Supreme Court justices have no formal code of ethics that they must follow anyway, as I’ve detailed previously.
Law Dork, with Chris Geidner, is independent, reader-supported legal and political journalism that seeks to hold government and other public officials accountable. Support this reporting by becoming a free or paid subscriber today.
MISSISSIPPI’S SCHEDULED EXECUTION: On Wednesday, Mississippi plans to kill Thomas Edwin Loden Jr.
It would only be the state’s second execution in the past decade, following last year’s execution of David Cox.
A federal judge this past week denied Loden’s request for a stay of execution, which he was seeking because he is a part of ongoing litigation over the state’s three-drug lethal injection protocol — litigation in which the state has engaged “for several years.” That’s not enough, US District Judge Henry Wingate ruled:
This idea was reinforced by last month’s execution of Kevin Johnson in Missouri. Neither the legal system nor the would-be executioners seem overly concerned these days with ensuring that questions about the legal propriety of an execution are resolved before an execution is carried out.
Loden’s killing, if it goes forward, would be the 18th — and final — execution in the United States this year. Texas and Oklahoma have carried out five executions each, Arizona three, and Alabama and Missouri two each.
Law Dork, with Chris Geidner, provides extensive coverage of the Supreme Court. Subscribe now.
LAW DORK IN THE MEDIA: This was a busy week for Law Dork out in other media, given both the 303 Creative v. Elenis and Moore v. Harper oral arguments at the Supreme Court. Here’s where you can find me:
CNN appearance, CNN Tonight with Laura Coates, Dec. 5, about 303 Creative
Savage Lovecast, with Dan Savage, posted Dec. 8, about 303 Creative (subscription only)
The New Abnormal podcast, with Andy Levy, posted Sunday, about both cases
MSNBC appearance, American Voices with Alicia Menendez, Sunday, about Moore v. Harper
Support Law Dork’s independent journalism, and the ability to bring Chris Geidner’s voice to other media outlets, with a paid subscription today.
“WHY’D WE STOP?”: We are now back to a world with no new episode of The White Lotus next Sunday. Sigh.
First, Meghann Fahy is absolutely incredible. She conveyed more with her eyes in that scene with Will Sharpe on the beach — internally and externally — than many actors do in a whole season of TV. I cannot wait to see the awards and the stardom that follow from here. (Yes, The Bold Type Hive, we were there first.)
And, of course: Jennifer Coolidge. She has won us over, and we will forever be here for her.
Finally, Mike White. Damn. He did it again. He is so good at this. This season went in different directions, and left elements unresolved, but, that’s how it goes during a week at the beach. That’s how life goes, really.
I love White’s ability to capture messy human realities — and his interest in doing so carefully. He drew me in with Enlightened, and I love how the absurdity of The White Lotus doesn’t take away from that. In some ways, even, it might make it easier for him to do.
I love it all.
Is the next season in the Maldives?
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1) Those Red States, which love to screech about being "pro-life", sure do love executing people, don't they?
2) Justice Kavanaugh's attendance at this party is no surprise at all, if verified. The current Supreme Court long ago gave up any pretense of being objective. Oh sure, it'll throw a bone or two in the direction of those clamoring for equal justice by (for example) allowing the release of Trump's tax returns, but when it comes to issues of substance (eg. abortion, voting rights, etc.), it appears as though the Justices remember very well who appointed them.
Of course Brett K did that. Those are his friends! But really, they're just brazen these days.