The confirmation hearing of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh revealed how, despite’s America’s celebrated 230 year history of rule of law since the ratification of the Constitution, we can still approach the border of anarchy.
Kavanaugh was a man of sterling reputation. Following law school, he worked as Supreme Court clerk. He later joined in the Bush White House. He then served as federal judge for 12 years. His 300 plus written opinions were praised. He was fair, even tempered, even handed and followed the law
Yet, at the hearing, he faced a Democrat attack, the ferocity of which, few could have foreseen.
Trump announced Kavanaugh’s selection on July, 2018 but the his name had been known to the Democrats since November, 2017 when Trump added it to his list of potential candidates.
The Democrats’ chief issue is abortion. Whenever they suspect a candidate might revisit “Roe v. Wade”, the 1973 Supreme Court case that struck down laws criminalizing or restricting abortion, they send out the howlers and marchers.
They and their followers ignored the fact that Kavnanaugh is strict constructionist. If he can uphold a law or interpretation of the Constitution, he will. He does not attempt to legislate through the judiciary.
He testified as follows:
“Senator, I said that it’s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles ‘stare decisis,’ ” referring to the legal principle of not overturning precedents. “And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years.”
Nevertheless, hysteria reigned.
Shrieking protestors invaded the Senate Judiciary Room at the opening of the hearing. The first one to get hauled out was the hijabed, Brooklyn born self-identified Palestinian, Linda Sansour. Others followed, arms and legs flailing.
Kavanaugh’s wife and children sat in the front row.
His children did not return the second day.
Worse was to come.
The Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members, Richard Blumenfeld (CT), Cory Booker (NJ), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Kamala Harris (CA), Maizie Hirono (HA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) took turns badgering, sneering at and mocking Kavanaugh.
The wailers continued to get hauled out.
Then, on the last day of the scheduled hearing, Senator Feinstein dropped a bombshell. She said she had a letter in which the writer claimed Kavnanaugh had groped her when she was 15 and he was 17, over 36 years earlier. The letter named 4 people she identified as having witnessed the incident. Feinstein had been in possession of said letter for months and failed to show it to the Republican Senators on the Committee which would have given the committee adequate time to investigate the charges.
Enter Christine Beasley Ford, squeaky voiced, oversized glasses sporting, alternatively confused and convinced Pink Hatter, abortion pill researcher, clinical psychologist.
Ford’s lawyers, two well-known Democratic activists played catch and mouse with the Republican members of the Committee. They said Ford was 1) afraid to fly (proven untrue) and 2) demanded Kavanaugh testify first (reversing the order of hundreds of years of due process rights, including the right to be informed of the charges, the right to confront witnesses, the presumption of innocence).
For those of us who secretly read the last chapter of Holocaust survivors memoirs first before the first, needing to know the story of their liberation before we can read the their re-telling of the degradation, murder, theft, destruction of communities, the events in the Kavanaugh hearing posed a challenge. They moved at their own pace.
We witnessed United States Senators, nearly all of them lawyers, ignoring ethics, procedure and evidence and abusing an individual’s civil rights, all for political purposes.
They scoured Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook for evidence of misbehavior, asking him about code words for flatulence and drinking. (Senator Whitehouse, D-RI)
Senator Harris, a lawyer, made the Trial Practice 101 error of “Never Ask A Witness A Question To Which You Don’t Know The Answer”.
“Harris: Did you watch Dr. Ford’s testimony?
Kavanaugh: I did not. ..”
Yale and Stanford Law School graduate, former Newark, N.J. Mayor, Cory Booker, with eyes blazing and arms waving, termed himself “Spartacus” and declared that he was going to ask Kavanaugh about confidential reports (that had already been released).
Senator Blumenfeld (CT), another Yale Law School graduate and faux Vietnam vet’s icy expressions were something out of a Charles Dickens novel.
Democrats released a video, made prior to Ford’s testimony, in which celebrities somberly intoned “We believe her testimony”.
Hundreds of Law School professors signed a petition saying Kavanaugh was unqualified.
Images of screaming protestors futilely banging on the Supreme Court doors sped over the Internet.
Protesters cornered Republican Senators in elevators, barged into their offices, accosted them in hallways.
In response, Kavanaugh did three things.
He testified under oath denying Ford’s charges.
Accompanied by his wife, he gave an televised interview again denying the charges.
He wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal defending himself.
Watching Kavanaugh’s earnest, pained responses to the Democrats’ questions, recalled the Torah account of Moses anguished cry when accused of abuse of power.
“Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said to the Lord, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not harmed a single one of them.” Numbers.16:15
Within days, all of Ford’s named witnesses denied knowledge of the events described in her charges.
Two other women then came forward with explosive stories. The tales could not be corroborated and faded away.
Finally, one person delivered a well-aimed blow to the Democrats’ free-for-all. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’s fiery speech lambasted the Democrats for their power hungry tactics. There was no Democratic rejoinder.
The hearings had been a battle between good and evil, i.e., Kavanaugh, an exemplary nominee vs a dissembling emo mob.
He was driven over to the Supreme Court and sworn in within hours after the Senate vote.
Three days later, at a ceremony at the White House, President Trump publicly apologized to Kavanaugh for the manner in which he was treated at the Senate Judiciary Committee and told the Kavanaugh children that their father was a great man.
The Democrats, who always claimed to be the champions of minorities (historically inaccurate, but that is a topic for another day), may have lost more than they bargained for.
The unproven allegations against Kavanaugh struck a note among people with personal knowledge of being falsely accused.