The Kavanaugh Chronicles
Robert A. Levine 10-3-18
There wasn’t enough chaos in Washington or throughout the country, so President Trump decided to choose Bret Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. He looked like a justice to Trump, big, tough, and masculine, which are apparently the characteristics the president most admires in those he selects for his top positions. However, these same characteristics flourished during Kavanaugh’s teenage years and in his twenties, causing him to drink excessively and likely sexually abuse women. Coming from an affluent, successful family, and attending a private school and then Yale, Kavanaugh felt entitled to behave as he wished, and if people didn’t like it they could screw themselves.
Unfortunately, his feelings of entitlement and unconstrained anger emerged during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and on national television, showing the world that he did not have what is known as a ‘judicial temperament.’ In a position on the Supreme Court, this would be dangerous, but it is also unseemly and alarming to have someone with this quality on the Court of Appeals, or on any court. A stolid individual in control of his or her emotions is needed to judge other people.
Of course, Trump loved Kavanaugh’s display of yelling and rage, believing that his base would also love the show of male dominance when confronting women who do not accept male superiority. The pent-up anger in Trump’s white male base about their loss of patriarchy was also revealed by Senator Lindsey Graham in an unexpected outburst on the Judicial Committee against the Democrats. (Graham may be auditioning for a post as Attorney General to do Trump’s bidding.)
Though Mitch McConnell wanted to move ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation and ram it through the Senate, Jeff Flake’s insistence on having further investigation by the FBI forced a week’s delay in the vote. However, Trump’s direction to the FBI has apparently limited its ‘inquiry’ and many potential witnesses are not being interviewed, possibly including Dr. Blasey-Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Trump was obviously fearful that an extensive investigation by the FBI might have found information that validated Blasey-Ford’s story or revealed holes in Kavanaugh’s tale, particularly involving his excessive drinking. That would have shown him to have lied to the Judicial Committee and would have likely ended his chances of confirmation. Interestingly, polls have shown that even if Blasey-Ford’s recollection was correct or that Kavanaugh had lied to the Judicial Committee, a majority of Republicans still wanted him to be confirmed and to have a seat on the Supreme Court.
In this day of tribal politics, character appears not to count for anything. Partisans want judges and government officials who agree with their ideological bent, and whether they are liars, thieves or ax murderers does not seem to matter. Having Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court whether or not his transgressions occurred, and whether he lied about them, and whether his temperament is inappropriate for a judge, are all being dismissed by conservatives. The only thing that counts is that he brings a five to four conservative majority to the Supreme Court and is young enough to remain on the Court for decades.