Clearly the thing that is emerging from the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing is a snapshot of Republican rot. My biggest problem with the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh is the unseemly rush to get him on the Court. The Republicans govern this way now. They will skirt the rules and the traditional procedures every time, on any issue to get their way. Republicans have taken the new mantra, delivered initially by Obama, that “elections have consequences” to extremes which allows them to ignore the losing party completely, to be rude to the members of that party and to ignore the citizens who belong to and try to back up that party. The party that lost, the Democrats, happens to actually be the majority party. So the minority party, the GOP, which knows its days may be numbered because they cheated during the 2016 election, and because they are still cheating now, would do anything to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court before the midterms. Once affirmed they know that even if the pendulum of government swings to the left the Court will stay majority Conservative making it difficult for anyone to count on the stability of legislation that Conservatives oppose. Then even if they lose they win.
The Republicans have allowed a Kavanaugh lawyer to block documents, 102,000 documents from when Kavanaugh worked in the Bush administration. Usually document selection is done by the National Archives, but in this case that body was not consulted. Although there is some precedent for declaring documents committee confidential, this time many documents with this classification do not appear to be confidential at all. Two Democratic Senators have published confidential documents to the public, an offense that could be punishable by losing their seat in Congress. We will see what will happen as a result of this gesture of disapproval about how the document process has unfolded.
Senator Grassley, heading the confirmation hearing, makes a statement attesting to all that Kavanaugh is not biased. Eureka! No need for this hearing at all if you put your faith in Mr. Grassley. Orrin Hatch attests to the sterling character of The Federalist Society, trying to argue that this Conservative body is not biased. No one believes him except other Republicans. Republicans are railroading this guy on greased rails right into the Court despite the evidence that our President is most likely seen as incompetent even by his own staff. This man, if confirmed, will always be tainted by the skewed processes of a majority that has proven willing to shut out the minority party (which is only the minority party in Congress).
Not only have Republicans allowed a whole swath of Kavanaugh’s career to be withheld, but because many of the released documents are marked as Committee Confidential, information contained therein cannot be used in public hearings, so we the people will not be privy to this information.
We do know the story of the time that Brett Kavanaugh played with the life of a young woman as if she were a mouse in the clutches of a cat. She was an undocumented minor who wanted a legal abortion, but Kavanaugh tried to time the matter out. He did not refuse her outright but kept adding caveats that were time-consuming to fulfill and kept bringing her closer to the 20 week limit on her abortion window.
Finally, as she was here without documents he declared that she had to be assigned to a legal guardian and discuss the matter with them. At this point she had only 3 weeks left on her abortion clock. It takes a longtime to find an appropriate legal guardian for an undocumented minor. His ruling was finally overturned and she got her, by now, very public abortion.
Right now, as I write this, Lindsay Graham is asking Kavanaugh if there is anything in the Constitution that says a judge cannot try to time out an abortion to protect the unborn. He says that it would have been constitutionally correct to string this woman along until the infant reached viability. Talk about contorting the law. Kavanaugh did not take a stand on this highly unconstitutional line of reasoning, which uses a technicality to squirm around the law of the land, a very familiar strategy for these Republicans.
All in all this hearing shows us what a great waste of time these hearing have become, and what a great waste of taxpayer dollars. This hearing is even less revealing than usual. Precedent says that Supreme Court nominees cannot make informal rulings on hypotheticals, or on current issues in contemporary news stories. Usually all Senators can do is ask questions based on the documents released to them. This is why Democrats are so avid to get the documents that were withheld using procedures that are not at all the usual way such a piece of business is done. Clearly we are able to see that Kavanaugh has considerable patience and does not reveal emotion (if he has any). He has a good poker face and he is certainly very comfortable talking to the committee members and the public. He is a Catholic who will maintain the 6 Catholic – 3 Jewish Justices that pertained before Kennedy’s retirement. To my mind Catholics are like Evangelicals on the court, but without the political baggage.
Although the Democrats probably do not have the votes to stop this appointment now that only 50 votes are required, another sore point that Democrats bear some responsibility for, this seat will always be tainted by the overbearing behavior of the Republicans in this matter: the rush to confirm before a midterm election, by the presence of an amoral, possibly criminal, and certainly unstable member of their own party in the Presidency, and by the fact that their very position as the majority party in Congress was most likely accomplished only through massive chicanery. Perhaps the only legacy of our erratic 45 will be the way we will sum up such situations from now on. Sad.
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – NBC News