'Vetting is no easy process:' Retired judge weighs in on Kavanaugh controversy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- To understand how our system vets nominees for federal judgeship, best to ask someone who has gone through it -- twice.

"I wouldn't say it is painful. It is interesting. Democracy in action," said retired federal Judge James Ware.

When asked if the process is fair, Ware said, "I think it has proven itself to be a worthy process over time."

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Ware was confirmed after a nomination by President George Bush Sr. in 1990. Seven years later, President Bill Clinton nominated him to the 9th Circuit of Appeals. Ware ultimately withdrew after admitting to fabricating a story about being the brother of an African-American boy killed in a racially motivated attack, and received a reprimand for that from the judicial council of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

While Ware's situation is not identical to Kavanaugh's, it offers a unique insight into the mechanics of the judicial nomination and confirmation process.

We asked him on Tuesday how deeply the FBI digs into a nominee's past. He said that agency goes way back, sometimes including childhood friends.

"I can't remember the number, 10 to 20 people and others and then they ask for more people and if those people know people, they ask them," he said.

Why so far back?

"I have a seven year old daughter And she is defining herself right now. There is no reason to ignore any part of our backgrounds when it comes to examining if we are fit for office."

We asked Judge Ware about inevitable charges the Republican party that these new accusations are political.

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"This defines us," he said. "This is how the system operates. People say we are coming up to a constitutional crisis. I choose not to use those words. This is how the constitution works.

In Ware's opinion, the word 'politics' is a description, not an indictment.

In watching this confirmation process, Ware says he has more faith in the system.

The present turmoil in Washington with Brett Kavanaugh, he says, proves that the system is working.

To follow the developments on the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, visit this page.
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