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writing for godot

On the Kavanaugh Nomination (as of Sept. 20, 2018)

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Written by Steven Jonas   
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 10:56

By Steven Jonas, M.D., M.P.H.

Introduction

I published the original version of this column on September 20, 2018 (see below).  A lot has changed since then, especially that, with the new revelations, if they prove to be true and Kavanaugh is confirmed anyway, Trump and McConnell will have the distinction of putting on the Supreme Court the only justice in history who, it is claimed, is a perjurer, a sex abuser, and has participated in serial rape (Thomas, to my knowledge, was not accused of that).  (Since in many jurisdictions rape does not carry a statute of limitations one might actually see the ludicrous spectacle of a Supreme Court justice on trial for violating that law.)  At any rate, while much has changed in the past week, much has not.  And so I present this column of your consideration.

The Original

Everyone who follows politics even lightly knows about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his nomination to a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. He was chosen for that slot by the far right Federalist Society and the far rightist Tom McGahn, the not-much-longer-to-be White House Counsel.  He was given to Trump primarily to be the filter of Federal court nominations at all levels as well as participating in the process of choosing cabinet and sub-cabinet nominees for positions from which they can proceed to tear apart Federal regulations at levels, the Bannonite "Deconstruction of the Administrative State." McGahn has been very successful in carrying out both of those tasks.

As is well-known to date (that is 9/20/18), Kavanaugh has slipped through the Senate hearings by failing to answer any key questions, aided in trying to make himself a cipher by the withholding of a mountain of documents (?100,000 pages?) pertaining to his actions and activities when he worked for the G.W. Bush White House. However, one can be sure that, regardless of what he said at the hearings, he is Hard Right. He was picked because once on the Court he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, would like do the same for Obergefell, and would be very liberal (ho, ho, ho) when it comes to granting a President dictatorial powers (that is unless he/she is a Democrat). He would be a threat to racial justice and voting rights(for other than whites) and would be pro-business when it comes to the matter of government regulation. The Washington Post listed 12 questions that Kavanaugh would not answer during the confirmation hearings, while the People for the American Way outdid them by listing "21 Ways Kavanaugh threatens the American Way" (email of Sept. 4, 2018).

But then came the shocking charge (well, to some of us it was shocking) that as a teenager, Kavanaugh (then 17, and quite drunk) had sexually assaulted an underage girl (of 15). Makes Clarence Thomas with his pubic hairs on Coke cans look like someone holding back. There has been a huge amount of commentary on this one, of course, and of this writing, on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, at about 6:30 PM, it is still unclear whether Dr. Baisley Ford will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee and under what provisions. But in this space, I am going to share with you edited versions of Tweets that I posted as the process moved along (all at: https://twitter.com/tpjmagazine), plus a couple of other brief comments.

1. On Sept. 16: Some say that Susan Collins is STILL undecided on Kavanaugh. Susan Collins, a down-the-line Repub. when it counts for the Repub. party (and for protecting herself from a further right-wing primary challenger in 2020), who likes to pretend that she isn't decided, is undecided about only one thing: what is the best way to pretend that she is "still" undecided about Kavanaugh.

2. After the original confidential letter from Dr. Baisley Ford to Sen. Diane Feinstein, in which she asked the Senator to keep her name hidden, became public, and Judge Kavanaugh denied that anything like what Dr. Ford claimed had happened could possibly have, I had this to say in a Tweet about who is telling the truth (Sept. 18):

There three possibilities here: Dr. Ford is telling the truth, and Judge Kavanaugh is lying. Judge Kavanaugh is telling the truth and Dr. Ford is lying. Dr. Ford is telling the truth, but Judge Kavanaugh, known in his high school year-book as "100 keg Kavanaugh," (that is before the senior year started, he pledged to drink 100 kegs beer during it), was so drunk at the time that, doesn't remember incident at all.

3. Then also on Sept. 18:

IF Kavanaugh did this, is it logical to assume that that was the only time, in a drunken stupor, he attacked a girl who then felt that she was going to be raped? Or does one have to wonder, as in the [Justice] Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill case, how many others are there out there.

4. And then on Sept. 19, I was going to Tweet on this one, but never did get around to it.

"On Monday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that he didn't believe Donald Trump's Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh intentionally tried to rape Christine Ford when they were both teenagers. However, the Senator also tried to downplay the significance of the allegations being true.  NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell reports that Hatch said that he had spoken with Kavanaugh and the nominee came across to him as 'honest' and 'straightforward' as he denied Ford's accusations. Hatch also reportedly said that 'there's some question whether she's mixed up' in her recollections of the alleged incident."

Ah yes, ever the holier-than-thou Mormon, except when it is politically inconvenient to be one.

5. Then today (Sept. 20; in [an expanded] Tweet):

What few are asking is just why the Repubs. don't want the FBI investigating Dr. Ford's charges? Although they are claiming "time" and "delay" as factors in not ordering the investigation, it is useful to recall that a follow-up investigation in the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill case, ordered by no less than President George H. W. Bush, took all of three days. There are, rather, two real factors here. First of all, they are very afraid of (?know?) what the FBI would find, not only about Dr. Ford's charges, but possibly about others. Really folks. If there's no there there, why did Judge Kavanaugh. spend 9 hrs. at the White House right after Dr. Ford's charge first became public and some more hours since? If there is nothing to talk about, what was all the talk about?

6. Finally, also not part of an SJ tweet, there is the primary factor in the Repubs.' absolute determination to rush to judgement on the judge, regardless of what the facts may be, as many have noted. If Kavanaugh is turned down, even with McConnell twisting the Senate rules into knots in order to serve his political purposes, as he has done so often, there likely would not be time to get a second nominee through the vetting process and before the Senate before the mid-terms. Supposing the Democrats win the Senate. Then, oh my. The new Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, might (might? He would be run out of town on a rail by VERY angry Dem. Rank-and-filers if he didn't) just invoke the McConnell rule on considering Supreme Court nominees from the President of the other party (actually that rule was applied to all late-term Obama judicial nominees), and the position would remain empty until 2021.

Ah yes, then the Repubs. would certainly be reaping what they have sown. (Well, we can wish for it, can we not?)

Addendum I: After I originally posted this piece, came across on the wire a notice that the 11 Repub. men on the Senate Judiciary Committee are looking for a female lawyer to lead the questioning of Dr. Ford for them. I've got a suggestion for them: Jeanine Pirro, that calm (sic), reasoned (sic), rational (sic) voice so often appearing with Sean Hannity, reading the same script over-and-over again about how it's time for the President to fire Bob Mueller. After all, showing the careful lawyer in her, it was she, joining Lou Dobbs and Hannity himself in advising the President to declassify (selectively of course) those top-secret documents from the Russia probe which could give Trump's own lawyers a direct line into how Mueller is approaching the President on issues from conspiracy to collude to obstruction of justice. Pirro. Just the kind of cool head who would fit right in with all those Repubs. who just want to make Prof. Ford and her story go away.

Addendum II: If you really want to know just why the Repubs are pushing so hard to get this nomination through, just read this justification of Kavanaugh's behavior, if he "did it," and "whether or not he did it" by Franklin Graham (Billy's son), one of the hardest of the Hard Christian Right's most important and powerful leaders: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/9/19/1797143/-Graham-Attempted-rape-not-a-crime-Kavanaugh-respected-his-victim-by-not-finishing. Oh my, folks.  Frank Graham claims that attempted rape is not a crime. Yes indeed, if the Repubs are to have any hope of staying up there in US politics, they just have to have these guys on board. And he is a "Churchman."

Addendum III: The Religious Right has made it clear that it will abandon the Repubs. if Kavanaugh is not confirmed. But wait. I thought that Kavanaugh had told the Judiciary Committee that he hadn't made up his mind on such issues as criminalizing religious/non-religious beliefs as to when life begins, and prohibiting same-sex marriage by law. Who's fooling whom?

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