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A surprise shoutout from President Donald Trump’s conservative Supreme Court nominee to one of the high court’s liberal justices proved to be a rare note of civility amid the partisan rancor from the left surrounding the pick.
If the Senate confirms D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the court, he already will be on familiar footing with Justice Elena Kagan.
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As the nation learned Monday night during Kavanaugh’s brief remarks after Trump introduced him at the White House, Kagan and Kavanaugh have a connection. Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee noted that he has taught law to hundreds of students for the past 11 years, primarily at Yale Law School.
“I teach that the Constitution’s separation of powers protects individual liberty, and I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan,” Kavanaugh said, prompting an audible gasp or two in the East Room, according to one account.
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It turns out that Kagan, during her stint as dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009, made it part of her mission to seek out and hire more conservative faculty at the overwhelmingly liberal school.
“She definitely made an effort to reach out to the conservative community, and made several conservative hires while she was there,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at the Judicial Crisis Network.
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Severino, whose group advocates that judges interpret laws as they were written, was a law student at the school while Kagan was dean.
Kagan’s hiring of Kavanaugh, she said, says something about the latest Supreme Court nominee as well.
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“It illustrates that he is someone who is well respected across the aisle,” Severino told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Most won’t agree with Trump and say they disagree with Kavanaugh’s philosophy, but they see him as fair and even-handed and they respect him and his writing...
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