During the 2016 presidential campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama famously proclaimed that “when they go low, we go high.” Apparently, a number of Democrat senators failed to get the memo. In an effort to block the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh from taking a seat on the Supreme Court, Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were playing a game of How Low Can You Go.
By all measures, Kavanaugh is an outstanding choice for the Supreme Court. He has been highly praised by virtually everyone in the legal community, from the bar associations to his colleagues on the courts. His work on the D.C. Appellate Court – a traditional launching pad to the Supreme Court – has been highly praised. He is an intellectual and judicial powerhouse. Among Kavanaugh’s admirers is the D.C. Court’s Chief Justice Garland Merrick – who missed his chance at the high court after being nominated by President Obama.
Kavanaugh’s grasp of the law, devotion to the Constitution and personal integrity is as good as any federal judge in America—and better than most. The only conceivable opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation is philosophic – the classic debate between those who believe judges should base decisions on personal beliefs and popular opinion and judges who believe their duty is to base decisions on the strictest interpretation of the Constitution.
In most historical cases of Senate confirmations, the loyal opposition – the minority party – understand that it is the prerogative of the President to select those he believes to be the best candidates CONSISTENT WITH HIS PHILOSOPHIC VIEW. Unless there are serious issues of fitness or moral turpitude, the opposition yields – often even supporting the choice of the President. Ruth Bader Ginsberg received 98 votes in the 100-member chamber. Traditionally the minority Party understands that elections have consequences and picking Supreme Court Justices is one of them.
Not so today. And is the Democrats who have put presidential nominations on a more partisan footing.
Despite Kavanaugh’s obvious qualifications, Senate Democrats, reflecting the stridency of the times, are mostly united in their opposition to any candidate for the high court who does not reflect THEIR judicial philosophy and THEIR position on major issues.
Some pinpoint this new acrimonious approach to the Democrats opposition to President Reagan’s nominee Robert Bork in 1987. The character assassination was so vicious that similar assaults on presidential nominees are now referred to as being “borked.” A low point in the process was when Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy spoke against Bork on the floor of the Senate. His shockingly slanderous and defamatory speech lives on in rhetorical infamy as one of the low points of Senate discourse.
It would appear that even a modicum of bipartisanship – as seen in the Neil Gorsuch confirmation — has evaporated in conjunction with the Kavanaugh hearings. While there is a possibility that a Democrat or two will vote in favor of confirmation or a Republican or two will vote against, so far, no senator has broken from their reins of their Party’s leadership.
The Kavanaugh hearings started on a low with most Democrat Senators using their time to pontificate rather than inquire. This was especially true of those Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who harbor presidential ambitions. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker inadvertently revealed that mindset when he as requested that Kavanaugh keep his answers short because, as Booker said. “you are taking up of my time.” You got it! In Booker’s mind, it was more important for him to be talking than for Kavanaugh to be answering. (Note to Booker. It is called a “hearing” because you and we the people are supposed to be hearing from Kavanaugh, not your irrelevant political babble).
Booker descended deeper down the low road when he implied that documents held to be classified were damaging to Kavanaugh on racial issues. In what Booker claimed to be his “Spartacus moment,” the New Jersey Senator said he would disobey the rules of the Senate and reveal the documents. It made for great drama, but there were two problems. The documents were not classified, and he had been told that, and there was nothing particularly damaging to Kavanaugh. The Booker interpretation of Spartacus played to well-deserved bad reviews.
Another Democrat presidential wannabe, California Senator Kamala Harris ominously inquired if Kavanaugh had had any inappropriate conversations with “someone” in the law firm representing President Trump. When Kavanaugh asked who she had in mind, Harris suggestively said, “I think YOU have someone in mind.” He did not have someone in mind – nor did Harris –and Kavanaugh had not had any such conversation. It was merely a cheap dirty trick by Harris to create suspicion.
Harris might have walked off with the top prize in the cheap trick category had it not been for her California colleague – the state’s senior senator – Diane Feinstein. After the hearings were concluded and it was obvious that Kavanaugh was heading for the Supreme Court, Feinstein created a bit of a kerfuffle by passing along a secret letter that anonymously accused Kavanaugh of attempting to force himself on a fellow student when he was in high school. She announced that the letter had been turned over to the FBI for investigation.
Of course, that issue is nothing burger and Feinstein knew it. She had that scurrilous information all during the hearings but released it as a last-minute attack in the hope of delaying a vote. She explained her delay by telling the New Yorker Magazine that she did not want the hearings to be about his personal life – at least not until AFTER the hearings, the purpose of which was to air all such accusations. In an effort to throw a monkey wrench into the works, Feinstein attempted to ruthlessly and dishonestly besmirch Kavanaugh’s good name with a baseless accusation by innuendo. She not only made a lie of her earlier excuse but deployed personal slander by implication to drag Kavanaugh’s personal life into the Senate consideration. That is pretty low. Feinstein should be reminded of Exodus 20:16 which says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” — or Supreme Court nominees.
As one might expect, the #NeverTrump news media immediately began to pump faux legitimacy into the accusation. Panelists on MSNBC declared the woman should be believed even though they had zero knowledge of who the accuser might be. No. No. No. Unless the woman comes forward with hard evidence, we should not believe a word she says. Innocent until PROVEN guilty is the American way even though the left wants to rule by Inquisition standards with witch hunt methods.
Booker, Harris and Feinstein (sounds like a law firm) should be ashamed of themselves. Such crass partisan political behavior even drew criticism for their Supreme Court idol, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
One can only hope that the Senate Republicans will allow honesty and decency to prevail and proceed with the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh as planned and predicted.