After a confirmation process that sucked up most of the energy in and around Washington D.C. and the Twittersphere, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as an associate justice on the Supreme Court today. He deserves to be on the Court. In the end, justice prevailed.
By: Brett Kittredge, Director of Marketing and Communications for Mississippi Center for Public Policy.
What he had to endure was absurd and likely sets a disturbing precedent in America
It was a wild ride that few could have expected, but we probably should have. Like it or not, this is the new norm.
When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump in June, Democrats immediately announced their opposition to the D.C. Court of Appeals judge. Rallies were instantly held and fundraising solicitations from Democratic lawmakers started flying. The name wasn’t important. His record did not matter. He had to be stopped.
But there was just one problem – Democrats were in the minority and lacked the votes to block Kavanaugh. This was going to take something more than protestors or speeches.
Fresh off an upset in last year’s Alabama Senate race thanks to decades-old sexual assault allegations against Republican candidate Roy Moore, with the “me-too” moment still on the mind of many, Democrats unleashed what they believed would derail the nomination.
After three days of confirmation hearings, Christine Blasey Ford came forward to allege that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in the 1980s. With an actual name, and no longer just anonymous rumors, the tone changed. But Kavanaugh and the Republicans did not retreat. Rather, they were emboldened to fight what they saw as an unfair – and untrue – allegation. Most Republicans continued to push on even as we were being told we must trust the accuser, regardless of the allegation, regardless of the many inconsistencies, regardless if she remembered the specifics, regardless if there was nobody to corroborate her accusation.
So on the last Thursday in September we were glued to a testimony that included Ford and Kavanaugh. Ford went first. The immediate reaction? She is credible, she is real, she is compelling. Kavanaugh is toast. Until he spoke. Once again, he didn’t retreat. Rather, he maintained his innocence and we were left with evidence that was no stronger than it was the day before.
In a move that surprised many, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), often dubbed the quintessential establishment Republican by conservatives, a man despised by the grassroots, and an original “Never-Trumper,” rose to the occasion and delivered fiery remarks that conservatives will not soon forget. He denounced the process and chastised his Democratic colleagues for the circus show and urged every Republican to stand strong in support of Kavanaugh.
After Senator Graham’s charged plea, the stories began to change. Ford’s allegations were no longer about evidence or fact-finding. At that moment, the confirmation process transitioned into a theater of the absurd. Attorney Michael Avenatti claimed that a client used to regularly attend “gang rape” parties at which Kavanaugh was present. Therefore, by extension, he must have been involved. Why Avenatti’s female client would continue to attend such parties is a fairly obvious question. After actual reporting was conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, no one could confirm the woman’s claims. But only after most in the media – and most on Twitter – told us it was true.
Then there was the claim that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a party. Even though the individual who made the claim admitted to drinking heavily at the time and confessed to memory “gaps.” And she didn’t know for sure if it was actually Kavanaugh. This shouldn’t have been a story, but it was. Apparently when you are consumed with denying a seat on the Supreme Court to your political enemies, there is no time for investigation. Objective journalism was regressed to mere political advocacy. The ends justify the means.
So what was left for the left?
The claims became more outlandish. The New York Times penned an article detailing an event where Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a bar while a student at Yale. Did Kavanaugh sexually assault someone in the bathroom? Did he punch someone? Close, he threw ice on another patron according to the police report. Oh, and the author of the “story” previously posted her opposition to Kavanaugh on Twitter. The ends justify the means.
And then we started to hear about Kavanaugh’s anger, his temper, his drinking – and the most incriminating – his use of slang terms! With every hour and day, the collective opposition became more desperate…and far less credible. In one of the most predictable Saturday Night Live skits of all time, Matt Damon satirized the hearings with his portrayal of Kavanaugh.
Temperament seemed to be the final sticking point for opponents after an FBI probe found nothing concerning these allegations. That too lacked any credibility. After all, this man had been a federal judge for more than a decade and it never was an issue. It only became an issue, in the eyes of the opponents who ran out of other attacks, when Kavanaugh was defending himself amid these abuse claims. Had to understand why.
That was the reason Mike Espy, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, gave in announcing his opposition yesterday had he been a Senator. David Baria, running in the other Senate race, has made similar comments. Both Mississippi Senators, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, supported Kavanaugh.
Why did it come to this? Why were none of these accusations present at the time Kavanaugh was nominated to the D.C. Court of Appeals? After all, that is not an insignificant job. Because the Democrats had no way to stop Kavanaugh in terms of votes. Just like they couldn’t force Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Based on votes, Democrats could not stop McConnell and Republicans from advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination. It was going to take something more, something extraordinary.
With the goal of prolonging the process in hopes that Democrats win a majority in the Senate in November so they can block Supreme Court nominations, Democrats decided to engage in a type of political warfare not seen since the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork.
When the allegations from Ford first surfaced after his confirmation hearings, many probably thought Kavanaugh would withdraw his nomination, presumably with the nudging of Trump or McConnell. But he didn’t. And Trump and McConnell stayed on mission. For the first time in a very long time, conservatives were able to see Republicans return fire with fire. The loudest “Never Trump” Republicans speaking in unison with Trump’s strongest supporters. It was rare air indeed.
The party in control, continuously unwilling to live up to campaign promises to repeal Obamacare or cut spending, finally fought back and won.
Few things are more important to the left than the Supreme Court. What the left has not been able to achieve legislatively, it has often won via the courts. It has become a super-legislature of sorts, dictating policy for the country – a far different version of the republic than what our founders envisioned.
But perhaps as Kavanaugh is seated on the Supreme Court, we will slowly be able to move back to that vision of less government, an empowered citizenry, and a balance of powers. Limiting the power of the judiciary would be a big win. Just expect to see people protesting outside the Court, every hour of every day, over…something.
Because the political theater is only going to get worse. With each loss to Trump, someone that the left does not believe is a legitimate president, the left will only become more enraged. They will only sharpen their claws. And the attacks will become more prevalent and more absurd. And, if past history is any indication, the attacks will come with most of the nation’s media carrying the left’s water, no matter how nonsensical and unsubstantiated their claims may be.
Yes, we have entered a time when there is very little difference between what is in the New York Times and what is on the Babylon Bee.