Friday, October 05, 2018
Kavanaugh's Nomination Saved By a Woman
Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been vilified in recent weeks by partisan Democrats and a breathless press as a sexual predator. So it's fitting that his nomination to the Supreme Court was saved by a woman. Senator Susan Collins (R, Me) cast a courageous vote, knowing that doing so guaranteed heavy opposition to her re-election in 2020. Her 45-minute speech, which addressed every objection to Kavanaugh's appointment, was delivered calmly and with reason, not with the rancor and mean-spiritedness I have seen elsewhere. I never embed a 45-minute video, but her remarks (you can read them here) are free of the tribal politics that have run rampant. Her biggest point? "We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.”
Advice and Consent - " I have interpreted this to mean that the President has broad discretion to consider a nominee’s philosophy, whereas my duty as a Senator is to focus on the nominee’s qualifications as long as that nominee’s philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought."
Affordable Care Act - "In a dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, Judge Kavanaugh rejected a challenge to the ACA on narrow procedural grounds, preserving the law in full. Many experts have said his dissent informed Justice Roberts’ opinion upholding the ACA at the Supreme Court."
President Above the Law - "Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law. He has stated that Marbury v. Madison, Youngstown Steel v. Sawyer and United States v. Nixon are three of the four greatest Supreme Court cases in history. What do they have in common? Each of them is a case where the Court served as a check on presidential power. And I would note that the fourth case that Judge Kavanaugh has pointed to as the greatest in history was Brown v Board of Education.
Roe v.Wade - "Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article III of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent 'is not just a judicial policy … it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent.' In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration; it is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances."
Lisa Blatt - "Lisa Blatt, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other woman in history, testified: 'By any objective measure, Judge Kavanaugh is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.' 'His opinions are invariably thoughtful and fair….' Ms. Blatt, who clerked for and is an ardent admirer of Justice Ginsburg, and who is, in her own words, 'an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to choose,” said that Judge Kavanaugh “fit[s] in the mainstream of legal thought.' She also observed that 'Judge Kavanaugh is remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.'"
Presumption of Innocence, Due Process - "This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of 'more likely than not' as our standard."
Leaking Ford's Letter to Feinstein - "To that leaker, who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable. You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect, but who also trusted you to protect her – and you have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting. My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate – and indeed all Americans – to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court nominees. If that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded Professor Ford will at least have some unintended positive consequences."