Four former clerks for Brett Kavanaugh said he's unlikely to overturn Roe vs. Wade or cater to special-interests groups. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- WASHINGTON -- Four former clerks of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said critics who fear he would help overturn Roe vs. Wade or promote pro-business decisions based on his conservative record don't understand his character.
Rebecca Taibleson, who clerked for Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010 and 2011, said Kavanaugh keeps an open mind on intellectual disagreements and supports female empowerment. He would be "a breath of fresh air" on the high court, she said.
Taibleson said when she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2012, 26 out of 39 clerks at the high court were men, but 25 out of 48 clerks who have worked for Kavanagh over the years have been women. Of those 48 clerks, 34 sent a letter supporting Kavanagh's confirmation to the Senate judiciary committee in July.
Speaking at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation a month after President Donald Trump nominated Kavanagh to file the vacancy of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, four clerks -- three women and a man -- called on the Senate to confirm Kavanagh.
Sarah Pitlyk, now a special counsel for a non-profit law firm called the Thomas More Society, said groups who portray Kavanagh as a hard-line conservative are wrong and that he doesn't base rulings on political beliefs.
"Any special interest group that is looking at the judge and trying to evaluate what he is going to do for them when he is on the bench is just looking at the question the wrong way," she said.
The former clerks were elusive about the questions regarding Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy or abortion rights, but all said Kavanaugh would be unlikely to reverse clear precedents, suggesting that Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 case granting a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy, would not change.
Porter Wilkinson, a former clerk and current chief of staff at the Smithsonian, said in an interview that she disagreed with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Lee Saunders' earlier statement that Kavanaugh's record is "pro-corporate agenda."
Wilkinson said there might be specific decisions union leaders didn't like, but "he is going to be
open-minded, and apply to the law faithfully."