Chief justice refers Kavanaugh ethics complaints to judges outside Washington

Chief justice refers Kavanaugh ethics complaints to judges outside Washington

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts referred the complaints to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Denver. | Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo

Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday referred ethics complaints about the Supreme Court’s newest associate justice, Brett Kavanaugh, to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado.

The complaints, related to comments Kavanaugh made during his contentious confirmation hearings last month, were originally filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where Kavanaugh served as a federal judge before his confirmation on Saturday. Roberts made the request in a letter to Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the 10th Circuit, which also covers Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

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An appointee of President George W. Bush, Tymkovich is also on the list of President Donald Trump’s possible Supreme Court picks that included Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who are both now confirmed justices.

Part of the reason for the transfer could be related to the fact that Merrick Garland, chief judge of the D.C Circuit, serves on a committee that handles such complaints. Garland was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve on the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans blocked his nomination.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, who also serves on the D.C Circuit, said in a statement Saturday that complaints had been filed against Kavanaugh.,She characterized them as related to comments he made during his confirmation hearings and not to conduct as a federal judge.

Under federal law, any person may file a complaint against any federal judge in the circuit on which he or she sits. Those complaints are then reviewed, and if they are found to have merit, a special committee investigates further.

Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday shortly after his confirmation and began hearing Supreme Court cases on Tuesday.

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