What Kavanaugh's Testimony Revealed
I’m deeply concerned about the allegations against Kavanaugh and, were I on a jury applying a “reasonable doubt” standard, I’d hold him responsible. But if the allegations were the only objection to his appointment, then absent more evidence than I’m aware of, I’d reluctantly have to concede that it’s possible for reasonable, conservative people to vote to confirm him, and I’d accept that outcome as to-be-expected.
I do not believe the allegations were the only objection, however. Even if you choose to believe everything Kavanaugh said, I am as much or more disturbed by the way he responded to questioning in the hearings.
I’m not a qualified lawyer, although I know a bit about it, so please take the following with a grain of salt. But several aspects struck me:
(1) His emotionality and his attribution of the “attack” on him to a coordinated conspiracy traceable to the Clintons or their supporters. For all I know, the Clintons were involved – I wouldn’t put it past them and certainly can’t disprove it – but at this point, it’s at best pure speculation, and it was completely unresponsive to any question. This kind of testimony would not have been tolerated in any court I’ve ever been in; it could in fact only have been meant to derail inquiry and inflame supporters – basically, it was Alex Jones’ tactics.
And as a judge, Kavanaugh is far too experienced not to have recognized exactly what he was doing – that his response was evasive and inflammatory.
He did not need to do this; conservative talking heads would have eagerly made such claims on his behalf.
(2) Kavanaugh’s highly-charged response destroyed any appearance of impartiality on his part – we now know he gives credence to theories of left-wing conspiracies AND we know that he now has a very personal, very emotional investment in them.
One of the most important ethical principals applicable to judges is that they must avoid even the appearance of any impropriety. For this reason, imho, if any case should come before the Supreme Court involving the Democratic party, no ethically acceptable course will remain open for Judge Kavanaugh but to recuse himself.
The idea that one more more cases involving one of the two major parties in our country could now come before the Supreme Court (highly possible these days) and that the outcomes might either hinge on the decision of an overt partisan or be deadlocked because of Kavanaugh’s recusal – I’m pretty sure that may be what’s called a Constitutional crisis; in any case, it’s horrifying, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that judicial ethics were designed to avoid.
And it was Kavanaugh’s choice – to abandon any appearance of impartiality – that has created that situation. It wasn’t just reckless; he knowingly put his own selfish interests above the welfare of the nation.
And let’s be clear about one more aspect re- all this. All good judicial nominees should evade answering questions to the extent they pertain to matters that could conceivably come before the court they’re being appointed to, for precisely the reasons discussed above. E.g., when you hear a nominee avoid discussing how they would rule if a Roe v. Wade-type case came before them, that should not be held against them, for they are only trying to preserve the appearance of impartiality (and hopefully, it is in fact more than just an appearance), which is what judicial ethics requires of them. The mere fact that a nominee is at times evasive is not by itself necessarily bad – it depends what kinds of questions they’re evasive about.
But Kavanaugh’s evasions had nothing to do with this “good” type of evasiveness, because there is no possibility that he would ever be called on to adjudicate any of his accusers’ allegations against him.
So if anyone tries to tell you that Kavanaugh’s evasions don’t matter because all nominees are evasive, they’re wrong. This was different, because he wasn’t doing it to comply with judicial ethics; he was trying to save his own skin.
(3) Finally, as a related but somewhat separate point, Kavanaugh’s responses betrayed a lack of appropriate “judicial temperament,” which has been defined to include open-mindedness, courtesy, patience, and freedom from bias, among other things.
I’m sure Kavanaugh felt tremendous strain not only because of the possible defeat of his understandably much-desired appointment to the S. Court but also because of the nature of the allegations against him and the very negative consequences he faces from their even having been made.
Nonetheless, from a man nominated to become one of the nine most powerful people on the planet, I think we have to have the highest expectations. And it is now clear that either his testimony was knowingly evasive, inflammatory, and in violation of judicial ethics, or he is unsuited by both knowledge and temperament to be a judge. In either case, he is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court.
(All of that said, I do also feel it was objectionable for the Democratic leadership to sit on Ford’s letter for so long. They knew the Republicans would do almost anything to avoid delaying the vote until after the midterms, so if they really wanted the matter investigated, or cared about victims of sexual assault, they should have brought it out immediately.)hypergrove, zoewashburne, Pastiche and 26 othersAerows, OCMI, Ohio Barbarian, MrMickeysMom, quinn, LaaDeeDaaVA, Enthusiast, mrdmk, eridani, Coldmountaintrail, Utopian Leftist, 99thMonkey, ThomPaine, Koko, Land of Enchantment, Xyzse, h-32, caliny, A little weird, Two way street, Bearian, Iwalani88, retired liberal, PADemD, NV Wino, Betty Karlson like thishttps://www.battleforthenet.com/ 1% “To Do” list:
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