Former Obama Solicitor General Calls Kavanaugh ‘Brilliant Jurist,’ ‘Exemplary’ Judge

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Former Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli praised Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a "brilliant jurist," "exemplary," and a "very gracious" person in an interview last month.

President Donald Trump tapped Kavanaugh, a D.C. Circuit Court judge, to fill the seat left by the retirement of Anthony Kennedy.

Now an appellate specialist who heads the Washington office of Munger, Tolles & Olson, Verrilli was a guest on the "Legal Speaks" podcast on July 13. Law.com correspondent Marcia Coyle asked the veteran attorney what Kavanaugh was like on the bench.

"Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant jurist and he's a very gracious person, both on the bench and off," he said. "I recently had an oral argument in front of Judge Kavanaugh and two other members of the D.C. Circuit back a few months ago, in which he asked a whole lot of very intense, very incisive questions, which is his wont."

"But I think he carries out all phases of his responsibilities as a judge in the way you'd want, in an exemplary way," Verrilli added, calling him a "distinguished jurist by any measure."

Former acting Obama Solicitor General Neal Katyal has also had warm words for Kavanaugh.

"It’s very hard for anyone who has worked with him, appeared before him, to frankly say a bad word about him," Katyal said. "This is an incredibly brilliant, careful person, but someone who will move the court in a conservative direction."

Self-described liberal feminist attorney Lisa Blatt penned a piece for Politico urging Democrats to support Kavanaugh, calling him "supremely qualified." While she fretted about Republican treatment of Merrick Garland in 2016, she said Kavanaugh was "unquestionably well-qualified, brilliant, has integrity and is within the mainstream of legal thought." She added he is "the most qualified conservative for the job."

Kavanaugh has also won strong support from his former clerks, such as registered Democrat Kathryn Cherry. She said in an ad that Kavanaugh could be relied on to follow the Constitution as written and everyone could expect fair treatment from him.

The nominee is facing vehement opposition from organized progressives and Senate Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who vowed to fight his confirmation with all of his strength. Nevertheless, they face an uphill battle with Republicans in the majority and no GOP members signaling they will vote against him so far.

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