Hypocrites move the judicial goalpost

Friday, July 13, 2018|2 a.m.

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Be ready for a festival of hypocrisy, evasion and misdirection from advocates of the verification of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Start with the idea that since Kavanaugh is certified, well-educated, intelligent and pleasant, senators must fall in line behind him.

Sorry, however Senate Republicans have currently demonstrated that these attributes don’t matter. If they did, Judge Merrick Garland would be a Supreme Court justice. In blocking Garland, conservatives made clear that personal qualities have absolutely nothing to do with confirmation fights. They are struggles for power.

Whatever we know about Kavanaugh demonstrates that he would seal a conservative majority on the court on social problems along with regulative and economic concerns. (That’s why he was picked.) The environment, weapon safety and health care are all at stake. So are civil, ballot and labor rights. Kavanaugh may be as charming a human being as Garland is, but he would behave extremely in a different way as a justice. That’s the point.

Progressives are told they need to overcome the shameful treatment of Garland. What an astonishing exercise in hypocrisy from conservatives who have been reliving the defeat of Robert Bork’s election to the Supreme Court for 31 years. And unlike Garland, Bork got a hearing and a vote.

Kavanaugh will aim to duck questions on Roe v. Wade, new obstacles to the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump’s efforts to get away the investigation of Russian influence on our election. His defenders will pretend that his ideology is not a legitimate matter for senatorial assessment.

But these exact same individuals made conservative ideology main to their case to Trump on Kavanaugh’s behalf. As Ashley Parker and Robert Costa reported in The Washington Post, “Previous clerks warded off criticism that his record on abortion was squishy and that his rulings were too deferential to federal government firms.”

Kavanaugh’s champions can’t have it both methods– and neither can Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, or Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who are advocates of abortion rights. Kavanaugh cannot at the same time be un-squishy on abortion for Trump and squishy enough for Collins and Murkowski.

Do not count on the excellent judge to help us unravel these secrets. Kavanaugh kicked off his confirmation project with a declaration that did not have all reliability. “No president,” he said, “has actually ever spoken with more commonly, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

Good grief! Trump’s list of prospective appointees was formulated in assessment with right-wing groups. Duration. Civil liberties groups, females’s companies, labor unions and many other sectors of our society had no part in this. Remember Kavanaugh’s completely unnecessary whopper when he addresses other topics.

And given that the president who called him is dealing with legal analysis, the potential justice’s sweeping views about governmental immunity are extremely pertinent to whether he needs to be put in a position to adjudicate Trump’s future.

Kavanaugh can’t be let off the hook just because his now widely check out 2009 Minnesota Law Review article recommended that presidents need to be safeguarded by congressional action, not the courts. No place does he say clearly that the courts could not act. His only statement on the matter is that the Supreme Court’s choice in Clinton v. Jones needing former President Expense Clinton to affirm in a civil suit “may well have been entirely proper.” Hmm. That may well have actually been is one heck of a spoken loophole.

His passion is clearly on the side of presidential power. Picture Trump’s grin in reaction to these words from Kavanaugh:

“The indictment and trial of a sitting president, furthermore, would paralyze the federal government, rendering it not able to operate with reliability in either the global or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or nationwide security crisis. Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation– consisting of getting ready for questioning by criminal investigators– are time-consuming and disruptive.”

Rudy Giuliani couldn’t have stated it much better, implying that senators have every reason to demand that Kavanaugh pledge (under oath) to recuse himself on any case including the Trump questions.

As for Republican efforts to hurry Kavanaugh through, the judge wrote in that law evaluation short article that the Senate “should consider a rule making sure that every judicial nominee receives a vote by the Senate within 180 days of being nominated by the president.”

It’s fascinating that going the full 180 days would take us well past November’s election. And according to the Kavanaugh Teaching, Garland ought to have been provided a vote. Senators must ask him about that, too.

E.J. Dionne is a writer for The Washington Post.

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