The Senate prepares to confirm Judge Kavanaugh

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. So will Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Sen. Lisa Murkowski will vote "present" rather than "no" to accommodate a colleague whose daughter is getting married today, effectively paired against the judge's confirmation.

Brett Kavanaugh has the votes to be confirmed later this afternoon, inaugurating an era in which for the first time social conservatives will have a majority on the Supreme Court.

Making this moment come was the one valid argument those who supported our unstable, immature, habitually dishonest, mean-spirited and wholly unfit president had for voting for him. It has come- or will, in a matter of hours. Sadly, many good, intelligent people have been deflected from the path of reason into partisan support of the man, and I do not see many of them finding themselves again.  The Republican party is now the party of Trump, and the conservative movement the new Know Nothings, the nativists of the modern age, the very kind of barbarians who are helping to drive the descent of Western civilization into the ignorant and uncivil night it seems to be entering, and which conservatism is supposed to be about holding back. It is now unable to respond to leftist authoritarianism except with their own brand of authoritarianism, and no longer able to stand for what wee once supposedly its own most basic principles.

This is a moment for those who believe that the Constitution as it is written, rather than the personal opinions and values of the justices of the Supreme Court, should determine what is or is not constitutional have reason to rejoice today. Was it worth it? I guess we'll find out. But it still seems likely to me that the price will be Democratic presidents in near perpetuity and the death of conservatism as a viable option for the governance of the nation.

Three women came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. None of them was able to produce a single piece of collaborating evidence. Julie Swetnick accused him of being present at a party at which she was gang-raped and while she doesn't claim that he participated, she does say that she suspected him of drugging the drinks of other women at the party. She offered no concrete reason for that suspicion other than seeing him passing out Solo cups with "a green liquid" in them.

If even that much were true, and Kavanaugh was aware of the rape, in my book it would have been disqualifying for him to have failed to intervene. But was he aware of it?  Was he even there? The Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed her. Presumably so did the FBI. This is what MSNBC (!)- the left-wing equivalent of Fox News- had to say about its interview with her:

A second, Deborah Ramirez, admitted that her own memory of the incident was so distorted (she admits to herself having been intoxicated at the time) that she wasn't even sure that Judge Kavanaugh had behaved as she eventually claimed that he behaved until hours before going public. She had apparently been heavily coached.

The one accuser who testified publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, spoke of an incident for which she could provide neither a date nor of a location, and which three of the four people she had identified as being present denied ever took place. The fourth- her lifelong friend- has no memory of the event.

In short, not a single one of the accusations provided fair and reasonable grounds for rejecting the nomination.

Did Kavanaugh's angry rebuttal to Dr. Ford's testimony demonstrate a disqualifying "temperament?" The Democrats think so. Personally, were I falsely accused before the entire nation (including my wife and daughters) of attempting to rape somebody- thus having my reputation permanently besmirched, and probably prevented from coaching or teaching in the future, as Judge Kavanaugh had taken pleasure in doing before- I, too, would be angry, and would have responded with anger. In fact, I would not only not respect any man who reacted otherwise, but would be more inclined than otherwise to disbelieve his denial!

Judge Kavanaugh said some things in his statement that I wish he had not said. He was, of course, absolutely right about the partisan nature of the outcry against his nomination and in support of Dr. Ford. It had nothing to do with Dr. Ford or her accusations and everything to do with preventing the confirmation of the justice who potentially could give social conservatives a majority on the Court for a generation.

But dragging the Clinton's into it and explicitly bringing up Democratic displeasure at the election of President Trump was neither wise nor appropriate. Frankly, if I were a senator, it would bother me more than anything else that came out of this process. But as unfortunate as it was, anyone who will be disposed to view his rulings on the court with suspicion in the aftermath of those comments would have been just as disposed to do so without them ever having been made.  They were unseemly. But they also do not rise to the level of being disqualifying.

There have been a number of statements which Judge Kavanaugh made under oath which have been widely claimed to have been instances of perjury. I must confess that I have not examined all of them, but the ones I have examined seem to have been distorted by those making them in such a way as to misrepresent what Judge Kavanaugh actually said. He never claimed, for example, not to have had "a drinking problem" in high school; the matter never actually was discussed in precisely those terms. He merely denied ever having drunk enough to actually pass out. And a number of the statements made by Dr. Ford- such as the timing and rationale behind the second door in her home and her supposed reluctance to fly- have been called into question by others as well.

I've said before that in my opinion the Trump Administration and the Senate Republican majority acted foolishly in not going out of its way to be seen to give all three of the accusations the greatest amount of attention. That was the only way lingering suspicions about the process could ever have been put to rest. The FBI (which, by the way, did do the routine investigation of Judge Kavanaugh's background that is customary in such cases before any of the accusations were made) should have been directed to inquire specifically into them. The White House says that there were no restrictions on the brief investigation it did do, though some left-leaning news sources claim that it was in fact quite limited.

We don't know who, in fact, the FBI questioned, or what it found out. We should know both things. As to the protest that it wasn't allowed enough time to do its investigation, the FBI has the resources to conduct investigations relatively quickly, especially if they are a priority; background checks are often completed in days. The real issue here, of course, is the Democratic desire to "run out the clock" and prevent a vote on Judge Kavanaugh until after the election, which might give them a majority in the Senate and the ability to reject any and all conservative nominations to the Court.

But if Judge Kavanaugh was, in fact, at the party at which Ms. Swetnick was raped, we should know it. Of course, as things stand we don't know what was in those Solo cups and have been provided with no basis for Ms. Swetnick's suggestion that the drinks were drugged, or that he knew about the rape while it was taking place.

There does seem to be evidence that Kavanaugh was present when the Ramirez incident took place, but even Ms. Ramirez doesn't seem to be all that certain of her story or that it was Kavanaugh who actually did what she finally decided to accuse him of doing.

Dr. Ford speaks of an event to which she can put neither a date nor a location, and her story is denied outright by most of the people she claimed could collaborate it  and could not be confirmed by another, her lifelong friend,

There weren't sufficient grounds here to deny Judge Kavanaugh confirmation. If the FBI failed to question Ms. Swetnick and/or Ms. Ramierez (and it's explicitly said that it planned to talk to the latter), we should know about it and we should also know the reasons. At this point, there are questions which obviously needed to be asked, and we don't know precisely which were asked, and of whom. We should.

But assuming (as I must, until evidence to the contrary comes to light) that Ms. Swetnick and Ms. Ramierez were in fact deposed under oath by either the FBI or the Committee, the bottom line is that there simply wasn't sufficient evidence to deny Judge Kavanaugh confirmation. Whether or not Judge Kavanaugh was well-advised to point it out in his testimony, this is a political process, and it's as much a power struggle over ideological control of the Supreme Court as it is about fairness or the truth.

That was the case with Judge Bork. That was the case with Justice Thomas. And that was the case with Judge Garland.

It remains the case with soon-to-be-Justice Kavanaugh.

The American people are owed answers about the Swetnick and Ramirez accusations, and especially the former. But we don't know that all due diligence was not done in both cases. Despite the Trump administrations penchant for casting itself in the worst possible light, what was asked and what was learned in the Swetnick and Ramirez cases need to be public knowledge. It needs to be seen to have been done.

But at this moment, as the Senate prepares for a confirmation vote whose outcome does not seem in doubt, no just reason has been shown why Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


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