Dateline and timeline: “Florence Sunday” afternoon Wake Forest, North Carolina. I don’t want to jinx myself by prematurely declaring the threat is over, but thus far I’ve been spared any significant hardships from Hurricane Florence. However the Washington Post delivered a “storm” to my inbox a bit ago.
I have been opposed to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court largely due to “circumstantial evidence”; succinctly put, I don’t feel Donald Trump should be able to nominate a Supreme Court Justice under the current cloud surrounding his presidency. I realize that elections have consequences and that I’m not going to love any nominee any Republican puts forward based on our opposing political philosophies. Today my objection to Kavanaugh crosses the bridge from theoretical and philosophical to personal. I seriously question whether Kavanaugh has the integrity and moral character to sit on the Court.
It appears that Kavanaugh lied during both his 2004 and 2006 confirmation hearings for his current federal judgeship. That is a bit difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt because the Republicans and the Trump administration have refused to release substantial and significant evidence. As I previously wrote, this entire conformation process has been an exercise in suppression of evidence while simultaneously expediting the trial.
One of the mysteries surrounding the current hearings is whether the conversation Senator Kamala Harris grilled Kavanagh about exists and furthermore whether she has proof. I look at two factors. Harris is too smart and has too much to lose to have cast a hook sans bait. Also, Kavanaugh was clearly surprised by the question and in fact needed a second day to “handle” it.
Kavanaugh’s personal finances appeared cloudy to me. Unexplained debts appeared and even more mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter. What is he hiding? Is it a source of income he would rather not disclose? Does he have a habit (i.e. gambling) that he cares not to disclose? Either would leave him open to “outside influence”; an unacceptable situation for a judge.
Now his accuser of sexual misconduct has come forward and her story appears to be credible. As of this writing it has already advanced beyond a he said/ she said. Remember Kavanagh adhered to the GOP playbook and denied that it ever took place. If it is true – and it appears to be – all he had to do was use George W. Bush’s line, “When I was young and irresponsible; I was young an irresponsible.” Considering that the event took place when he was in high school there is a good chance that would have extricated him from the situation. (A sincere apology would have also been helpful.)
We are dealing with a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court. There is reason to believe that, if confirmed, Kavanaugh will serve for 30 years or possibly more. As of this writing the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote to move his nomination out of committee at 1:45 on Thursday afternoon. This process has been hurried for political reasons. Trump wants what he perceives as another ally on the Court in anticipation of indictment/impeachment/subpoena coming before it. The Republicans don’t want to take any chances that they lose the Senate in the mid-terms. They also want to claim another victory to help get their base out to vote.
At minimum the Committee vote should be postponed in favor of reopening the hearings to weigh this new evidence. I would hope that at least one brave Republican on the Committee would come forward and refuse to confirm Kavanaugh at that level. (I expect Kavanaugh to pass out of Committee by one vote after a strict party line vote – don’t hold your breath waiting for Arizona Republican Jeff Flake to show some courage.) The reality is that this probably doesn’t change the status of the nomination and the only hope is that Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska refuse to vote to confirm when the full Senate votes. There are certainly enough unanswered and/or unsatisfactorily answered questions to justify a nay vote!
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