Brett Kavanaugh’s Opening Statement Came From the Judicial Watch Playbook

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh delivered a belligerent opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that hinged on rhetoric put forward by the right-wing organization Judicial Watch.

Last week, Kavanaugh was called before the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to allegations made against him earlier that day by Christine Blasey Ford, who told senators that during a party in the 1980s, a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh attacked her, pinning her to a bed, attempting to undress her, groping her, and covering her mouth when she tried to scream for help. Kavanaugh responded to those claims with a public meltdown at the hearing, including a series of outright lies. During his testimony, he blamed Democrats and left-wing activists for forcing him to answer to the accusations “on behalf of the Clintons.” He told the committee:

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.

As Kavanaugh spoke, behind him sat Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. On Thursday, Capitol Police told this reporter that the hearings were invitation-only.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton sits behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during an invitation-only hearing on September 30, 2018. (Screenshot / YouTube via C-SPAN)

Judicial Watch is a conservative political group founded by Larry Klayman in the 1990s to hound the Clintons with lawsuit after lawsuit in hopes of scoring information that could be ginned up into a scandal, a drive it carries on to this day under the leadership of Fitton. In recent years, Judicial Watch has propped up false claims that the Clinton Foundation acted as a slush fund through which foreign leaders could bribe Clinton during her during her tenure as secretary of state. It also has promoted the president’s made-up claims that his campaign was spied on by the Obama administration (on Clinton’s behalf), and has been banging the war drum against billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who funds progressive and liberal groups.

Judicial Watch has experienced success spreading its message into mainstream conservative media and reaching President Trump, who has used the claims to assert that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice operate “in favor of Democrats and against Republicans.”

Since Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the organization has taken up arms in defending Kavanaugh against a perceived conspiracy to block his nomination. In July, the organization stated that Kavanaugh’s nomination was a “home run” and that it expected “to see leftist smears, religious bigotry, more threats of violence, etc.” against Kavanaugh.

Andrew McCarthy, a Fox News contributor who spent years appearing on Judicial Watch panels, decried the reports of allegations against Kavanaugh as “a setup.” On September 24 it claimed the allegations against were part of “a search-and-destroy mission by leftist partisans.” Fitton said it would be a “Soviet-style hearing” if Kavanaugh was forced to answer to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the accusations levied against him.

Fitton described the allegations against Kavanaugh as a “filibuster of outrageous smears” that “must come to an end.” Fitton said that “partisan leftists want to blow up the confirmation process and destroy Judge Kavanaugh and his family” and asserted to viewers: “If you think this is about justice, if you think this is about getting vindication for a woman who’s been assaulted, then, frankly, you’re naïve about what’s going on here … It’s being handled as a political hit-job on Judge Kavanaugh.”