Kavanaugh is Confirmed, and Justice is Preserved

On Oct. 6, 2018, by a vote of 50-48, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

I was going to write a playfully facetious article about the Kavanaugh debacle. I was going to write with ire, but also with humor. As the Kavanaugh debacle progressed, however, I realized that the historical moment that I was witnessing was far too severe, and would have too far-reaching political and moral implications for our country, for me to be so flippant and humorous.

In case you haven’t been following the Kavanaugh saga over the past few weeks, here is a brief recap. On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat on the Supreme Court. Within days of his nomination, or hours in some cases, multiple Democrat senators announced their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh and their intention to vote ‘no’ on his confirmation.

On Sept. 12, an anonymous allegation of sexual assault was levied against Judge Kavanaugh. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, later took credit for the allegation. This allegation opened what seemed like a floodgate of others, each more far fetched and less substantiated than the last.

At this point, it is important to make a contextual observation about the Kavanaugh confirmation process. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had access to an unprecedented amount of material regarding Kavanaugh’s judicial record, including 270  decisions authored during the dozen years he spent on the second most powerful court in the nation, answers to 1,287 written questions, and hours of time spent with Kavanaugh during hearings and private meetings. Nonetheless, numerous Democratic Senators announced—before reviewing a single document or spending so much as a single minute questioning the nominee—that would vote down the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.

Dianne Feinstein, a democrat from California and the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was in contact with Ford for six weeks before Ford was forced to identify herself publicly because her original anonymous letter was leaked. During those six weeks, Senator Feinstein did not bring the allegation against Judge Kavanaugh to the attention of Chuck Grassley, the chairman to the Senate Judiciary Committee, or to any other member of the committee. She did not bring the allegation to the attention of the F.B.I. She did not even bring it to the attention of Judge Kavanaugh during any of their private meetings.

As soon as Ford’s name was publically associated with her allegation, it was accepted at face value by the entire democratic wing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, despite the fact that Ford could not remember numerous key and simple details about the night when Justice Kavanaugh allegedly attempted to rape her, including where the party happened and how she got there. Ford was also unable to provide corroborating evidence of her accusation and the witnesses named by Ford either were unable to corroborate her story or denied its veracity outright.

Before I analyse the political implications of this spectacle, one point must be made clear. As of the time of my writing this sentence, 4:14 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018—there is no good reason to believe that Kavanaugh is guilty.

This does not necessarily mean that Ford is lying; memory can be unreliable and prone to suggestion, especially when the memory in question is of an event that happened 36 years ago. What it is to say is this: there is no evidence that Justice Kavanaugh is guilty.

There is, however, evidence that he is innocent. Justice Kavanaugh has provided witnesses willing to testify under oath that he is innocent, calendars that confirm that he could not be at the party in question (an impressive feat, considering that Ford still cannot say with certainty when that party was), and has enjoyed a truly moving outpouring of support from the numerous women who he has worked with throughout his impeccable judicial career, many of whose careers were greatly benefited because of Justice Kavanaugh's lifelong goal to bring greater ballance to the federal judiciary.

So if Kavanaugh is innocent, why are Democrats on the Judiciary Committee so convinced that he is guilty? They aren’t. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Christopher Koons, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Corey Booker, and Kamala Harris—the entire democratic contingent of the Senate Judiciary Committee—are all lawyers. They know full well that there is not enough evidence in favor of Ford’s accusation to bring a case against Justice Kavanaugh to trial, nevermind convict him of anything.

It is because of this fact that I feel comfortable in making the following assertion: what Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have done to Justice Kavanaugh is evil. This does not mean that they are evil people. This does not mean that every Democratic senator who voted against Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination is complicit in that evil. What it does mean is that the way Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have acted throughout the course of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been completely and categorically evil. Senator Feinstein's withholding the allegation against Kavanaugh until the very last moment, after confirmation hearings had ended, was evil. Kamala Harris, Mazie Hirono, and Richard Blumenthal’s walking out of a committee hearing in mock outrage was evil. The way that the entire Democratic wing of the Senate Judiciary Committee treated Justice Kavanaugh during the hearings related to Ford’s allegation was evil.

There are those who would agree with everything that I have written so far, and still believe that Kavanaugh should withdraw from the nomination processes. Kavanaugh, they would argue, is likely innocent, but the allegations against him will taint his judicial record and weaken the court. I could not disagree more.

Had Justice Kavanaugh acquiesced to the neo-McCarthyite witch hunt he was subjected to and withdrawn from the confirmation process, or had President Trump given in and withdrawn Kavanaugh’s nomination, or had Senate Republicans surrendered and voted down Kavanaugh’s nomination—the centuries long tradition of due process of law and the presumption of innocence embedded in the Anglo-American concept of justice would have taken its final breath.

I don’t mean to be hyperbolic. If Senate Democrats—who were willing to break every standard of decency, justice, and morality—had succeeded in keeping Kavanaugh off of the Supreme Court, kangaroo courts where evidence is optional and the majority party exercises the power of judge, jury, and executioner would become the new norm. Every future nominee for any position, whether it be in the Cabinet or the judiciary, would have gone into their confirmation process expecting to be accused of unspeakable crimes with no evidence, be treated as a hostile witness, and have their entire life ruined as a means to the end of pushing a political agenda. This would have prevented good men and women from accepting nominations to important positions in our government. It would have prevented congressional Republicans and Democrats from ever working together on any issue. It would have greatly degraded the moral character of our public discourse. For all of these reasons, it is a profound good that the Democrat’s evil attempt to destroy Justice Kavanaugh has failed. It is a profound good that Senator Joe Manchin broke with his party and voted for an obviously eminently qualified nominee for the Supreme Court, the only Senate Democrat to do so. And it is a profound good that Justice Kavanaugh now sits on the Supreme Court.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Joseph PerrottaComment