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SCOTUS nominee's wife described as 'gatekeeper' to President George W. Bush

Ashley Estes Kavanaugh

Before she became Ashley Kavanaugh, the wife of the man who might become the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice, she was Ashley Estes.

The Abilene native attended Cooper High School and graduated from there in 1993.

According to her high school yearbook, Ashley was involved in many school activities and sports, including student council, the National Honor Society, golf and volleyball.

Lifelong friend and local attorney Tom Choate said that he believes that a lot of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s success has a lot to do with the woman he married.

“She’s a good wife. She’s a great mother and she’s had a life of her own. She’s independent. She’s smart,” said Choate. “Ashley has always been one that achieves things in a really good manner, she was nice to everybody. Everybody liked her, she was in the same class as my son, they were always good friends, I've known her since she was born."

The Abilene attorney’s son went to school with Ashley and was one of her best friends when they were growing up together.

Choate jokingly described Ashley as the “gatekeeper” to former President George W Bush because she served as his personal secretary while he was in the White House and also while he was the Governor of Texas.

“He wanted her sitting right outside the Oval Office when he was the president. She was his gatekeeper. You didn’t go into the Oval Office without getting past Ashley,” said Choate.

President George W. Bush appointed Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006.

As Judge Kavanaugh accepted his nomination at the White House on Monday night, he talked about the role that his parents and his wife played in helping him to reach his biggest achievements in life.

“My wife, Ashley, is a West Texan, a graduate of Cooper ‘Public’ High School,” said Judge Kavanaugh.

Roger Bauernfeind, a former principal at Cooper High School who worked at the school between 1975 and 1983, said that he was thrilled to hear Cooper High School being mentioned on live television as the entire world watched.

“I said, 'Hey, she’s a Cooper graduate.' It felt good. It’s always a good thing to see young people that went through your schools and see the successes they’ve had,” said Bauernfeind.

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