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Kavanaugh Confirmation Poses ‘Legitimacy Crisis’ for High Court, Professor Anil Kalhan Says in NBC Interview

Professor Anil Kalhan

October 11, 2018

Professor Anil Kalhan was quoted in a story by NBC affiliate in Kentucky about the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kalhan said in an interview with LEX18 published Oct. 7 that Kavanaugh’s explicitly partisan performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee cast a “significant cloud.”

“He may have been entitled to anger and raw emotion, even indignance based on what happened to him,” Kalhan said, alluding to allegations by numerous women of sexual misbehavior. “But the partisanship and then his hostility and manifest disrespect to senators? It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. This is as close as we have been to a potential legitimacy crisis as I can think of in my lifetime.”

The best way for the Supreme Court to overcome damage to its integrity, Kalhan said, would be to avoid ruling on high-profile controversies.

“If the court is engaging in topics that are not of major concern to large segments of the population, then maybe it can blow over,” he said. “But if it’s rendering controversial decisions about the right to have an abortion, or contraception or religious freedom issues, that’s not likely.”

Kalhan, an authority on immigration law and comparative constitutional law, clerked for Judge Chester J. Straub of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge Gerard E. Lynch of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.