On Kavanaugh

by Travis

In the dramatic attempt to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice, the Senate will hold a Judiciary Committee hearing vote this morning, followed by a full vote in the Senate on Monday or Tuesday next week, in a sprint to confirm him. The vote hangs by two votes and will likely swing with a voting bloc consisting of Senators Donnelly, Manchin, Murkowski, Collins, and Flake.

I don’t know what’s going to happen and I don’t know where we go from there.

I won’t go through the details of the multiple allegations against Kavanaugh, but will note that the smearing of victims and the last minute allegations – some of which might be plants, to discredit the intial claims – have the echoes of Roy Moore, exactly one year ago. Pausing his confirmation to allow for an FBI investigation – to include an under oath questioning of Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge – would go a long way to clear up the allegations. Last night, the American Bar Association recommended just such an investigation.

For me, it’s not hard to believe that a judge with 1) a unique proclivity toward executive power and 2) a desire to overhaul the law in order to control social behaviors in America would also have a chauvinist past. This came into focus during his hearing yesterday, when he exhibited a lack of temperament as he belligerently shouted at the committee, flipped the questioning on a female Senator to gaslight her into silence, and railed against a conspiracy theory he called “a revenge plot on behalf of the Clintons.”

His integrity had been questioned before these allegations of sexual assault became an issue. Kavanaugh had been twice accused of misleading the Committee: once about stolen Democratic emails (by Senator Leahy), and once about grand jury secrecy (by Senator Feinstein).

Now facing allegations of sexual assault, he is defending a caricature of himself, constructed to win the hearts and minds of *just enough* Senators and their constituents to be confirmed to the highest court for decades. But his denials do not square with his high school yearbook profile and the calendar he kept back in 1982.

He has been adamant that he has never been blackout drunk. But his yearbook profile states he does not remember the winners of the Orioles vs. Red Sox game (which is on his calendar) or the Georgetown vs. Louisville game: why would he not remember? His profile states he and his friends killed 100 kegs their senior year; it’s unclear from his calendar when that happened. Then there are the ominous claims of Renate Alumni, Devil’s Triangle, and “boofing.” If you don’t know what those mean, I’ll just warn you: they do not square with the profile of himself as a high school virgin. He claimed they meant things that are just flat-out false.

If he’s willing to lie about his yearbook, what else might he be lying about?

Both sides have entrenched over Kavanaugh because, psychologically, it’s hard to admit when we are wrong. Earlier this week I believed he would not be confirmed to the Supreme Court under this specter of doubt; but we live in a new political world, where dignity and truth are not as important as they once were. I might be wrong. He might be confirmed.

This would be a short-term win for Trump and the Senate GOP, and a long-term win for Right-wing politics on the Supreme Court – but would have consequences in the midterm elections. Sometimes in politics, when you win, you lose; and when you lose, you win. I think Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be such a case.