Julie O’Brien lives in Chevy Chase.
Much has been written about Brett Kavanaugh as President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, but the discussion has focused on his record as a federal judge and in his legal career. I’d like to talk about him as Coach K. Like the one at Duke University, this Coach K also is a mentor to student-athletes who love basketball. But his players are sixth-grade girls.
Brett’s older daughter and mine have been classmates at Blessed Sacrament School, a small Catholic school in the District, for the past seven years. On evenings and weekends, you’re likely to find Brett at a local gym or athletic field, encouraging his players or watching games with his daughters and their friends. He coaches not one but two girls’ basketball teams. His positive attitude and calm demeanor make the game fun and allow each player to shine. The results have been good: This past season, he led the Blessed Sacrament School’s sixth-grade girls team to an undefeated season and a citywide championship in the local Catholic youth league. To the parents with players on the squad, it’s no surprise that the team photograph with the trophy is displayed prominently in his chambers.
Brett’s contribution to our school’s community extends beyond the sidelines. He and his wife, Ashley, support their two daughters and other children at countless school and church functions throughout the year. In the summer, Brett is the “carpool dad,” often shuttling students to and from practices, games and activities. And in a city where professional obligations can often take priority over personal ones, Brett is a steady presence at his daughters’ events, even if it means racing across town just to catch the last 15 minutes of a game or program.
Brett’s friendship and mentorship have touched my family in an especially personal way. A few years ago, my husband died. One of the many difficult aspects of that loss was that my daughter had no one to accompany her to the school’s annual father-daughter dance. That first year — and every year since my husband’s passing — Brett has stepped forward to take my daughter to the dance alongside his own.
I’ll leave it to others to gauge Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court as a jurist. But as someone who would bring to his work the traits of personal kindness, leadership and willingness to help when called on, he would receive a unanimous verdict in his favor from those who know him.