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One Day After Public Event, DOJ Honors Lawyers in Private for Work on Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination


The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday presented awards in private to the team of attorneys that worked on then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to Supreme Court of United States. A DOJ spokesperson reportedly cited “time restrictions” as to why this happened in private one day after a public award ceremony.

Attorney General William Barr presented the “Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service,” the department’s second highest honor, to the Kavanaugh legal team during a private Thursday morning ceremony, the day after the DOJ’s annual public awards ceremony and reception. The decision to award the honor to the Kavanaugh confirmation team was unconventional, as the award is typically reserved for employees who significantly contributed to high-level prosecutions, according to the New York Times.

The Kavanaugh confirmation was the most contentious judicial confirmation process in recent memory. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school; she testified before Congress, providing an account of the alleged sexual assault. Kavanaugh vehemently denied all allegations of sexual misconduct and went on to be confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote.

The 25 political appointees and career lawyers were not presented with their awards during Wednesday’s public event due to time restrictions, a DOJ spokesperson said, according to the National Law JournalThose who received the award for their work on Kavanaugh’s confirmation included Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams and her top deputy Mark Champoux, from the DOJ’s office of legal policy.

A program distributed during Wednesday’s ceremony reportedly praised the Kavanaugh team for “exemplary leadership, organization, coordination, and professionalism.” All told, they produced more than 440,000 pages for U.S. Senators to review, and responded to more than 1,200 inquiries, according to the Justice Department. The document-production process in the months ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation was also a source of controversy.

“The recipients completed an unprecedented amount of work under demanding, extraordinary, and unprecedented circumstances, maintaining the highest standards of excellence, commitment and civility,” the DOJ said.

[image via Ed Zurga/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.