Supreme Court pick: Prolific judge, reliable conservative, ‘pretty good’ Georgetown Prep point guard

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh faces what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight during which senators will pore over the judge’s prolific paper trail of legal opinions.

One aspect of Kavanaugh’s resume that probably won’t come up on Capitol Hill?

“He was a pretty good point guard, as I recall,” said Chris Haspel, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Preparatory School. In an interview with WTOP,  he shared his reminiscences about the would-be Supreme Court justice from their days at the Jesuit-run boarding school in Bethesda, Maryland. “Our basketball team generally was not good, but he was one of the few that was.”

For all the impressiveness of his pedigree in the Republican legal establishment, Kavanaugh is also a true-blue, born-inside-the-Beltway local who has spent most of his life in the D.C. area.

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Haspel, now an entrepreneur in the renewable-energy business, recalled a studious, funny and kind teen. He said Kavanaugh stood out in their 100-person class, excelling academically but still making plenty of time for friends and sports.

“He managed to be at the top of the class, but also was a great athlete and participated in all social activities,” he said. “He was just a kind, regular guy … He seemed to be able to do it all.”

Haspel also recalled Kavanaugh’s early love of the Washington Redskins. Decades later, Kavanaugh could still recite the section and seat numbers of his family’s upper-deck seats at RFK Stadium where the Redskins played in the 1970s and 1980s, a former law clerk told The Associated Press.

Kavanaugh grew up in Maryland, where his mother taught high school before she went back to school, got her law degree and became a prosecutor and judge. Her dinner-table rehearsals of closing arguments helped propel him into the legal field, Kavanaugh said after being introduced by Trump Monday night.

Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Prep in 1983. He went on to get his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale.

If confirmed, he would actually be the second Georgetown Prep alumnus to ascend to the high court. Justice Neil Gorsuch graduated from the elite boys’ school two years after Kavanaugh.

“It’s a very demanding, rigorous education, but I think it’ll be a great mark for Georgetown Prep and we’re all very proud,” Haspel said of his former classmate’s nomination.

Kavanaugh is celebrated by Republicans but faces opposition from Democrats who fear he would restrict abortion, expand gun rights and dismantle key parts of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

WTOP’s Jenny Glick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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