Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Republicans should reconsider Kavanaugh

 

October 3, 2018



It’s funny what can happen after testimony from a credible accuser is weighed against a Supreme Court nominee’s partisan bombast and flat denials of allegations from credible witnesses about some of his apparently serious misbehavior.

A sure-thing confirmation can become an appeal for an FBI background investigation. That’s what the Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee did Friday after hearing from both an accuser and an alleged aggressor who has been nominated to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

I wrote last week that the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, should not have to answer for a sexual assault he may have committed as a high-school student.

That was before several other credible witnesses publicly told stories that make Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault at 17 of a 15-year-old girl the tip of an iceberg, an early example of alleged sexual misadventures that may have continued well after he reached the age of responsibility.

Despite these credible accounts and the believable testimony Thursday of Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser, Kavanaugh denied all such misbehavior, starting with the high-school incident — yes, all of it — when he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Generally, a candidate with a sordid past acknowledges a few misdeeds, apologizes and at least tries to atone for past meanness and/or stupidity. People have a way of forgiving mistakes that are admitted.

Kavanaugh then followed his not-credible denial with some ill-advised political rhetoric.

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” he told the committee, “fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

That’s a great statement if he’s running for an elective office under the Trump umbrella, but not for a Supreme Court nominee.

A Supreme Court justice is expected to be impartial and deliberative, not partisan and paranoid.

Kavanaugh instead signaled an intent to favor right-wing causes on the Supreme Court rather than to consider carefully how rulings align with legal precedent and constitutional principles, which is what Supreme Court justices are supposed to do.

Most Supreme Court nominees have found ways to avoid such obviously political terms when confronting such challenges.

We, however, are living in the age of Trump — a time when the president and his allies share an Orwellian belief that they have the power to unmake facts by merely stating they are untrue. Further, Trump has empowered his supporters to treat all opponents as something less than human.

Kavanaugh now seems to be riding this Trumpian-Orwellian wave, and maybe more thoughtful Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are reconsidering his nomination to be a justice for life.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 

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