David Lat Profile picture
Sep 9, 2018 12 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD, re: this frequently raised point: "OK, maybe Judge Kavanaugh didn't commit perjury. But wasn't his testimony misleading/incomplete/not totally forthcoming? Shouldn't we demand more for #SCOTUS?" #KavanaughHearings #KavanaughConfirmationHearings
1. At the outset, thanks to everyone for their thoughtful engagement with my tweets evaluating the "perjury" claims against Kavanaugh, which I deeply appreciate (even -- or especially -- when folks disagree with me). Sorry I can't respond to all individually.
2. The Kavanaugh testimony being evaluated for truthfulness comes from his judicial confirmation hearings -- in 2004 and in 2006, for the D.C. Circuit, and last week, for #SCOTUS. One needs to keep this important fact in mind at all times.
3. In an ideal world, perhaps judicial confirmation hearings would be cooperative searches for truth and consensus, where both sides would be as honest, open, and expansive as possible.

In the real world, in 2018, they are bloodsport.
4. I compare confirmation hearings to depositions. Lawyers who prepare deposition witnesses advise them to tell the truth - you're under oath - but don't say more than is necessary and don't volunteer anything, especially if it's bad for your side.
5. The common deposition prep advice: if opposing counsel asks "can you tell me what time it is," you say "yes."
6. So at his confirmation hearings, Judge Kavanaugh was under no obligation to volunteer info, give expansive answers, help Democratic senators gather ammo to attack him, or set himself on fire. Judge Robert Bork did that, and look what happened to him.
7. If Kavanaugh gave unduly narrow or incomplete answers, it was the job of @SenJudiciary Democrats to act like lawyers taking depos - press the witness, probe more deeply, rephrase again & again, show the witness more docs - until you get what you want.
8. It was not Kavanaugh's job to make their case for them. He had no duty to say, e.g., "Oh, you want to go after me for my involvement with Pryor & Pickering? Well, let me tell you just how incredibly involved I was, so you can nail me to the wall for it!"
9. In a better world, sure, maybe Kavanaugh would try to help the senators find out exactly what they were looking for. But in that better world, the senators wouldn't be trying to play a game of "gotcha" in order to derail his nomination.
10. To sum up, Judge Kavanaugh's only duty was to testify truthfully - no more, no less. As I've argued in my prior threads, he did just that. #SCOTUS #KavanaughHearings #KavanaughConfirmation #KavanaughConfirmationHearing #KavanaughConfirmationHearings
In case you missed them, here are my prior evaluations of the Kavanaugh "perjury" claims:

1. Pryor:

2. Memogate:

3. NSA surveillance:

4. Pickering:

• • •

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More from @DavidLat

Sep 7, 2018
THREAD. "Perjury" claims against Judge Brett Kavanaugh re: NSA surveillance.

1. I've done long threads on claims that Kavanaugh "perjured" himself re: Pryor & #Memogate. This thread will be shorter. #SCOTUS #KavanaghHearing #KavanaughConfirmationHearings
2. Those two prior threads were long not because the claims have any merit, but just because I tried to go through all the evidence in methodical fashion.

Thread #1 (Pryor):

Thread #2 (Memogate):
3. The shortest refutation of the NSA claim: read the last ten (10) paragraphs of this article by @Charlie_Savage of @NYTimes - which is a news article, not an opinion piece, from a publication that's far from pro-Kavanaugh. The End. nyti.ms/2Ctpfak
Read 20 tweets
Sep 7, 2018

1. After I refuted "perjury" claims against Judge Kavanaugh re: his testimony on the Pryor nomination, some asked about the claim that Kavanaugh perjured himself re: #Memogate. So here goes. #SCOTUS #KavanaughHearings #KavanaughConfirmationHearings
2. The #Memogate scandal involved allegedly stolen files from @SenJudiciary Democratic staff. I follow @jadler1969 in calling them "allegedly stolen" (bit.ly/2oOzNra) because Republican ex-staffer Manuel Miranda was never criminally charged.
3. If you don't recall the #Memogate scandal - I can't blame you, it dates back to 2001 - read @charlie_savage (nyti.ms/2CpkkHq), or @jadler1969 (bit.ly/2oOzNra), or @KimberlyRobinsn & @PatrickGregry (bit.ly/2NTwDNF).
Read 21 tweets
Sep 6, 2018
I'm no longer managing editor at @ATLblog (just a contributor), so I'm going to use tweets to respond to this "perjury" argument of @ElieNYC (also raised by @WashingtonPost reporting & @nycsouthpaw, among others.) #SCOTUS #KavanaughHearings
1. The key issue here is CONTEXT. The quotations by Kavanaugh that people are fixating on must be read in light of the entire 2004 hearing transcript, which is available here: bit.ly/2M3VIUv - #SCOTUS #KavanaughHearings
2. A crucial background fact: at the @WhiteHouse, different lawyers in the Counsel's Office get different circuit courts as their portfolios when it comes to nominations. See, e.g., here (noting Cheryl Stanton handling the 5th Cir.): bit.ly/2NTfm7k
Read 13 tweets

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