During the second day of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) shamed the Federalist Society. The group, Whitehouse explained, is "a significant group of people who tend to share very conservative and pro-corporate point of view." He then had an aide provide a poster showing a large list of the group's "right-wing funders."
With that context, Whitehouse asked Kavanaugh whether it gave him pause that he had The Federalist Society's endorsement. The nominee, looking a bit perplexed, explained that he was "the president's nominee." During the 12-day process, he spent most of his time with the president, the vice president, and the White House Counsel, he explained.
Whitehouse was trying to have a "gotcha" moment, but he failed to foresee a few issues. For instance, he did not note that liberal Justice Elena Kagan once praised The Federalist Society when she was Harvard Law’s dean.
Justice Elena Kagan, then-Dean of Harvard Law School, at the Federalist Society’s annual student conference: “I love the Federalist Society!”— Garrett Ventry (@GarrettVentry) September 5, 2018
Actually, all of the current Supreme Court justices have spoken at Federalist Society events at some point.
Chief Justice John Roberts spoke at a Federalist Society lecture in November 2007
Then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor spoke on a February 2009 Federalist Society panel in Connecticut
Justice Stephen Breyer attended a conversation with then-Justice Scalia in December 2006 hosted by the Federalist Society
Justice Samuel Alito spoke at the Federalist Society’s 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C. in 2007
Justice Clarence Thomas gave a keynote address in November 2016 hosted by the Federalist Society
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has presented at forums hosted by the Federalist Society
Then-Judge Neil Gorsuch spoke at a Federalist Society event at Harvard in April 2012
The story gets more interesting, though. It turns out Whitehouse has spoken at an event hosted by the Federalist Society too.
In June 2014, Senator Whitehouse gave keynote address at a workshop hosted by several orgs, including the @FedSoc. At the very beginning of the speech, Senator Whitehouse thanked them. Watch here: https://t.co/2VXVOx0C59 #SCOTUS— Raj Shah (@RajShah45) September 5, 2018