by Jeffery Rendall
In a modern American culture where people hardly agree on anything, one thing is crystal clear to everyone these days: if you turn your back on someone, you’re insulting them.
That’s exactly what’s happening on Capitol Hill as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is receiving the cold shoulder and a chilled reception from minority party Democrat senators as he makes his rounds to meet with as many lawmakers as possible prior to his upcoming confirmation hearings. Democrats aren’t just turning their backs on Kavanaugh though – they’re outright denying him entrance to their offices.
As would be expected, Democrats’ reasons for the snub aren’t very convincing.
Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examinerreported, “Many Senate Democrats have refused to hold the traditional meet and greet events with Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh, arguing they have not received all of the millions of pages of documentation related to Kavanaugh’s time working in the Bush White House.
“Their shut out could ultimately delay the confirmation process and has prompted a threat from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to keep the Senate in session until Election Day if that time is needed to confirm Kavanaugh.
“Republicans want to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1, which is the start of the next Supreme Court term. To show they mean business, Republican leaders have said they won’t adjourn for all-important campaigning this fall if Kavanaugh isn’t on track to making that deadline.”
To do so – McConnell keeping the senate in continuous session – would be truly hilarious. Democrats have real choices facing them in the coming weeks; first and foremost is how much of their shrinking pile of political capital they aim to expend to try and derail Kavanaugh, a man who by all appearances is completely non-controversial and for lack of a better way to put it, boring and “normal.”
Ferrechio’s article contains a quote from Minority Leader “Chucky” Schumer who reinforced his party’s position – Democrats must be allowed ample opportunity to pore over the documents from Kavanaugh’s time serving George W. Bush to dig for clues on how the new justice would rule on important cases. Picture Democrat grunts in unbuttoned dress shirts and loosened ties wading through box after box of paper searching for the words “abortion” and “healthcare,” all the while hoping to unearth some tidbit from fifteen years ago to flog Kavanaugh with during his inquisition (aka, hearings).
For what? Wouldn’t all these papers already be available in the public archive (and therefore already “findable” by Democrat staffers)? Can’t the Democrat IT team rig a search mechanism to get senators what they want quickly? If Democrats get their way on this matter they’ll have everyone believing the sought-after information is only available on microfiche tucked away in some cobweb filled dusty room deep within the dredges of a condemned building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
It’s all phony. Make no mistake, Democrats already sent an army of laborers to search out every last detail about Kavanaugh the microsecond Trump officially uttered his name in nomination, especially the judge’s days working for Bush II in the early 2000’s. To claim they haven’t received the requested information regarding the nominee is bogus – another play to the closed-minded and uninformed to make it look like the Trump administration is hiding something.
What Democrats don’t yet know about Kavanaugh they’ll certainly make up. Schumer and company made similar accusations against Neil Gorsuch last year, asserting they didn’t know enough about the Colorado appellate judge’s background to make an educated guess as to his judicial philosophy. Outside of the senate everyone (even liberals who know him) agrees Kavanaugh is well qualified for the position yet Democrats scream to see more. Fools.
It’s Kavanaugh’s turn to face interrogation by dimwits. And instead of inviting the judge into their offices to quiz him face-to-face about his background, influences and values Democrats are claiming they can’t find openings in their schedules to meet with him. About two dozen Republicans found time to do so but thus far not a single Democrat – including electorally endangered Democrats Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp – has done the same. (Note: Manchin and Indiana Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly announced Tuesday they’ll meet with Kavanaugh, but at least in Donnelly’s case it won’t be for several more weeks).
In seeing this one wonders, why don’t Democrats just come out and say it (that they won’t vote for Kavanaugh because he’s perceived as an originalist who won’t legislate their agenda from the bench)? Why partake in the faux political dance when everyone’s already memorized the steps?
It’s because they’re seeking to bar Kavanaugh from the Court because of purely political reasons – he’s too “Republican.” The more time passes the greater the chance they’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink at him in hopes of something sticking in the public’s mind.
Vermont Democrat Senator (and Judiciary Committee member) Patrick Leahy wrote in the New York Times, “Every document of public interest should be made public. No artificial restrictions. No abuse of executive privilege. The American people deserve the unvarnished truth, just as Senate Republicans rightly demanded of President Obama’s nominees.
“The need to vet Judge Kavanaugh’s full record is all the more urgent because the last time he testified before the Senate, he appeared to provide a misleading account of his work in the White House. At his 2006 confirmation hearing, Senator Dick Durbin and I asked about his knowledge of several Bush-era scandals, including warrantless wiretapping, torture and detainee treatment. Judge Kavanaugh testified that he had no knowledge of such issues until he read about them in the newspaper. But a year after his confirmation, press reports indicated that he had participated in a heated discussion in the White House over the legality of detainee policies…
“Judge Kavanaugh was directly involved in some of the most politically charged moments of our recent history. The Senate owes the American people an unsparing examination of his nomination, which could affect their lives for a generation. I urge Senate Republicans to live up to the bipartisan standard of transparency we set for Justice Kagan and demand his full record. That means all of it.”
Correct me if I’m wrong but what obligation is there for any nominee for any office to shed light about internal deliberations on policy that took place so long ago? Does this mean that anyone who’s tabbed by a president for an appointment must recall and subsequently spill the beans about meetings they had in a prior career? Circumstances can change in a matter of minutes – how is it relevant to talk about considerations on issues that are no longer salient?
Judge Kavanaugh has been sitting on the federal bench for over twelve years — but now Democrats want to delve deeper into his political record when there’s already a deep treasure trove of legal opinions to discuss? This is absurd. These people aren’t going to vote for him anyhow – they tipped their sinister hands during Gorsuch’s process. Why stall now?
Leahy says Republicans did the same thing (request full documents) when Obama nominated now-Justice Elena Kagan. Well, Kagan was a front person in defending the prior administration’s Obamacare policy (as Solicitor General) so it’s only natural to want to know more about her involvement in the matter – especially since there were pending cases before the federal courts pertaining to Obamacare. Would she recuse herself when those cases came before the high court? (The answer turned out to be an emphatic no.)
By contrast Kavanaugh’s political service ended over twelve years ago, and he was in the White House for a few days short of three years total. How could Kavanaugh be expected to recall the minute details of conversations and deliberations from so long ago? And wouldn’t follow-up be required from other people involved with the correspondence? The parade of witnesses would be endless, a he-said/she-said slugfest over nothing.
It appears Democrats are hoping to bog down Kavanaugh’s nomination in a quagmire of red tape and hearsay. The fact they can do so with a straight face is all the more stomach-churning, since Democrats are quite literally pulling out anything that might get people talking and questioning the judge’s fitness for the job.
Kavanaugh’s seeking confirmation for a Supreme Court seat, not running for high political office. Why didn’t Leahy and cohorts ask Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about her extensive political entanglements before she was nominated? Where were you, Democrats?
This all reeks of the burnt-flesh smell of a witch hunt. We can only hope McConnell and the rest of the senate Republicans ignore the din of complaints about lack of document production and forge on with the real task at hand.
Democrats are so desperate to damage Kavanaugh that even some who aren’t in the senate are getting in on the act. A case in point is former Senator Al Franken, a man so disgraced during the “me too” sexual harassment furor last year that he resigned his seat and slunk back to where he came from.
Lifelong (unfunny) comedian Franken can’t stay out of the spotlight, however. He published 25 questions he would ask Kavanaugh if he were still in the senate. There’s only one problem, Al: you’re not (in the senate). Franken made a donkey out of himself last year when questioning Neil Gorsuch, thank the lord he won’t be beclowning himself again in the next couple months with the latest nominee.
Kyle Smith of National Review wasn’t impressed with Franken’s arrogant queries, and asked some questions of his own, writing (in part), “Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s?…
“Al, should not a senator who disgraced his office by sexually assaulting various women adopt a public pose of contrition rather than arrogance in the months immediately following his resignation?…
“Al, when you publicly list the questions you’d like to ask Kavanaugh, do you think Minnesota’s new junior senator, Tina Smith, might have just cause to feel that you are infringing on her territory? Are you in effect mansplaining to Senator Smith how to go about questioning a Supreme Court nominee?”
These were just three of Smith’s 26 questions (not so ironically, one more than Al) for Franken. Of course, they’ll never receive answers, just like Franken’s won’t get any responses when Kavanaugh takes a seat for his back-and-forth with senators on the Judiciary Committee.
It all goes to show how bothered Democrats are by President Trump having another opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice and their frail inability to stop it – except to verbally disembowel themselves before the public and pray for Americans’ sympathy. Schumer and colleagues deployed every weapon in their arsenal to get Trump to back off. And it hasn’t worked.
Some of them are so distraught they’re even sounding religious about it. Philip Wegmann wrote in the Washington Examiner, “With a deacon to his right and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to his left on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., delivered a sermon better suited to stamping out sin than squashing a Supreme Court nominee, condemning in the process any of his colleagues who would consider voting for Brett Kavanaugh as being ‘complicit in the evil.’
“So thirsty for a 2020 berth, the wide-eyed New Jersey Democrat perfectly encapsulates the Left’s crazed and dizzying hysteria over the nomination of Kavanaugh.
“’I’m here to call on folk to understand that in a moral moment there is no neutral. In a moral moment there is no bystanders,’ Booker said Tuesday. ‘You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it.’”
Hallelujah! Amen, brother! Booker appears to be tuning up for a post-politics career in the ministry, though I’m not sure what church would want him considering he’s gone a little nutty.
If “evil” means interpreting the Constitution and allowing elected legislatures do the lawmaking work, then bring it on, Judge Kavanaugh! Originalism lives!
It’s strange how the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh devolved into a deeply personal matter for Democrats. Their over-the-top protestations about the judge’s background and supposed lack of candor are making themselves look foolish. But since when do Democrats care about such things?