One of the great things about retirement is that you get to pick and chose how you spent your time. Hallelujah! My preferred choice this week was watching the Senate’s Judiciary Committee confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh – Trump’s Associate Justice nominee to the Supreme Court of the U.S.
T.V. coverage began on Tuesday, September 4th. That I know, only two channels covered the hearing – Fox News and C-Span 2. No need to tell you, I switched between these two stations like it was going out of style. I really didn’t want to miss anything.
I got to tell you friends, I remember that in my college days, there were classes that were required courses and there were books that were required reading. This Kavanaugh hearing should have been “required watching” by every single American. I can honestly tell you this was a great learning experience. I kid you not. The hearing gave me an adroit insight into the prevalent political landscape in these boisterous times; it gave me a great discernment of the candidate himself, and last but not least, I walked away with a much better understanding of our judicial system. What more can you ask for?
Notwithstanding the aforementioned value-added benefits, I can also tell you the hearing was nothing short of a 3-Ring circus, albeit, in making the comparison, I offer my deepest apology to 3-Ring circuses, as the latter represent an inherent pleasant part of American folklore – of Americana, whereas, the Kavanaugh hearing was sort of a hybrid, a concoction of deception, travesty, pageantry, pantomime, etc., etc., you get the picture.
Let me preface my thoughts on the spectacle, by just sharing with you what it will take to confirm the nominee. After a true tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats regarding the votes needed to confirm lower-court judges to the Supreme Court which lasted for years, in 2013 Democrats lowered the number of senators needed to force the vote from 60 to 51 senators to confirm the candidate, thus Trump’s nominee shall only need to clear a 50-vote threshold to be confirmed – a little taste of their [Democrats] own medicine.
Just so that you understand, Senate Republicans did have 51 votes going into the hearing, which gave them the surety to confirm the candidate, however, the passing of Senator John McCain on August 25th, left Republicans with 50 votes, which meant that, literally, the nomination required every single one of the rank-and-file Senate Republicans to confirm Kavanaugh, plus at least one of the senators from the other-side-of-the-aisle to cross party lines and vote to confirm. Additionally, rumors had it that not all Republican senators were sure to confirm the nomination, which also meant that even more than one Democrat was needed to defect party lines.
Just prior to the start of the confirmation hearings, however, there were two breakthrough announcements. First, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona appointed Senator Jon Kyl to fill the seat left open by McCain. Kyl, a stout conservative, and former Republican lawmaker, committed to voting for Kavanaugh. Moreover, all the rest of the Republican senators also committed to confirm the candidate. Bottom line, going into the hearings, Trump’s nominee was all but reassured to become the next Supreme Court Justice of the U.S., which prompted Democrats to make their own announcement that they were all going to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. No surprise there.
The fact that Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee knew going into the hearing that they had little or no chance to block the nominee’s confirmation kind of set the tone for all that followed. You will see why in a minute but let me preface the narrative by giving you sort of a generic prelude on the reasons for the panic. The fact that Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote in a panel of 9 Supreme Court Justices coupled with the fear that Kavanaugh could or would have strong inclines to vote conservative in critical legislation, had Democrats ready, willing and able to do just about anything to block the nomination – and I mean literally anything.
To Democrats, the thought alone that Kavanaugh would be the deciding vote, for example, in the possible overturning of the 1973 landmark decision Roe Vs. Wade which guarantees women the right to have an abortion, was enough to go in an all-out effort to block him. Other critical legislation such as waterboarding and/or the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, as well as Kavanaugh’s unpredictable position in the potential indictment of President Trump relative to the alleged Russian-collusion accusations in the 2016 presidential election, coupled with issues such as the separation of power of government, racial profiling, and others, to mention a few, were among the most threatening postures they [Democrats] had to deal with.
Make a long story short, Kavanaugh’s presumptive confirmation just had Democratic senators pushing their panic buttons like I never seen before. To add insult to injury, the fact that Supreme Court Justices, are life-time appointments just made Democrats that more fractious to allow the confirmation to go through unobstructed. In short, they [Democrats] realized that if confirmed, 53-year-old Kavanaugh could potentially influence the jurisprudence system in the U.S. for years and generations to come.
Anyways, case you missed the spectacle, let me share with you the highlights of what turned out to be the closest I have ever seen to a soap-opera, a Hollywood blockbuster and/or a Broadway show, all meshed into one. I may add, as expected also.
For one, no sooner had Committee Chair, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley lowered his gavel to start the hearings, no sooner did the fireworks begin with a number of Democrat senators demanding to delay the hearing on the grounds that they [the Democrats]: 1) had not received all the paperwork necessary to evaluate the candidate, and 2) that 42,000 of the papers received were only accessible to them on the night preceding the hearing.
Chairman Grassley firmly responded that: 1) the paperwork not-forwarded to Democrat members was withheld claiming they were considered Classified and Confidential information, requiring the blessings of both president Bush and Trump for their release and 2) Democrat senators had an opportunity to make special request for the release of the classified material but did not. As it turned out, it was later revealed that Democrats had received more paperwork than the last 5 Justice nominees put together. Ironically, the truth of the matter was that the night before the hearings Democrat senators, admittedly, had plotted to boycott and/or delay the nomination using the phony demand for papers.
Now, before I go on, I must stop here and ask myself and you the question: Why the hell would you want any papers, if you had already made-up your mind that you are not going to confirm the nominee? Matter of fact why even bother with a hearing? This alone, was enough for me to understand the unprecedented nature of the farce before us.
The “paperwork saga” went on for almost an hour, while all along there were continued outbursts from protesters who ultimately had to be escorted out of the room. By the way, the protesting saga went on and lasted all throughout the 4 days of the hearing. Anyone watching could tell you, the fireworks resembled what could easily have been one of those tavern-brawls in an old Western movie. Imagine. The situation got so tense, at a point in time, Kavanaugh’s daughters Margaret 13 and Liza 10, had to be escorted out of the room for safety reasons. How nice and civilized can we be?
Now, as for the rest of the presumed confirmation hearing, I have been debating in my mind how to best compile and abridge the 4-day spectacle in as short a narrative as I possibly could, and I think I am ready to do just that. Let me start by just saying, this was no confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court Justice nominee at all. Far from it. At best, this was a political charade, if I ever saw one. Right of the git-go, we saw one democrat after another, go to their microphones to grill the nominee, at times with complete disrespect and contempt for the candidate while posing premeditated controversial questions only to cut him off shortly before giving him a chance to respond.
Among the nastiest and most repulsive in the Democratic panel were, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island. This mob came not to civilly question the candidate, they came to verbally attack him – you could see the anger, the rage, the exasperation in their line of questioning. Couldn’t help but remind me of the same resentment and peevishness now prevalent in all the Trump-hating universe. Folks, the prevalent hate and polarization I saw goes well beyond ideologies, party-lines and political divide – well beyond. Historically, the ongoing hatred is of the kind found from oppressed peoples of the world who have reached their point of saturation and are prone to overthrow the oppressors. I find this demeanor somewhat controversial considering all that is going so well since Donald Trump became president. I also think I know the answer, but I shall leave it for another dissertation.
All in all, again, the Kavanaugh hearing was no different than if we were watching a Broadway show. Matter of fact, the theatrics were such that one could even presume some of the actors were in the run for an Academy Award Oscar’s nominations. As one critic said, a couple of the Democratic senators were out to make the best in their minutes in the limelight of T.V., – a chance to promote their political platforms to Americans. In fact, I must give NJ Senator Cory Booker, my Oscar for the Best Actor award, followed only by California’s Kamala Harris as Best Supporting Actress. These two were my uncontested winners, no ifs-or buts about it.
Coincidentally, both Booker and Harris happened to have announced their aspiration for the presidency and their plan to run in the 2020 elections. So, for these two, the Kavanaugh hearing was, as you can imagine, [the] ideal stage for carrying on with a political rally – forget about the nomination hearings. I personally think they both made a complete and total fool of themselves.
Cory Booker specially made a complete and total jerk of himself and became the ‘laughing-stock’ of the nation in the aftermath of the hearings as, at a point in time, he claimed to be having: “a Spartacus” moment – a story worth telling in its entirety as it characterizes the prevailing idiocy of our adversaries come 2020. The incident happened on Day Three of the hearings, when Booker announced to the audience that he was going to do the “unthinkable”. With a straight face Booker said: “This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment.” He said he was going to put everything at risk, even his seat in the U.S. Senate and break the rules by releasing confidential documents that would expose Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh as a supporter of racial profiling.
Well, as it later turned out, alas, first, technically, the documents were not confidential, and second, they most certainly did not support Booker’s claim about the profiling. Worse yet, the imbecile knew he was lying in his claim of being a Thracian Gladiator but opted to go ahead and just try to get one passed by the American public watching. Didn’t go through. Americans called his bluff.
So, friends, you get the picture of what the hearings were all about. On a positive note, I got to tell you, I have watched most all the hearings for Supreme Court Justices for the past 30 years and, I dare say, without any hesitation, none whatsoever, that Brett Kavanaugh is probably [the] most qualified nominee that I have seen in my lifetime – bar none. The man is a turnkey package. I have never seen anyone in his position possess the intellect and qualifications which I was privy to see in this hearing. This man has to be one of the most intelligent men I have ever come across in my life, bar none. I have never seen anyone recite law precedents as I saw this man do. The memory of this man is categorically impressive. I personally believe the man is simply gifted and I say this with complete objectivity.
Kavanaugh is an Originalist and a Constitutionalist, both terms meaning that he [Kavanaugh] is a devout and passionate advocate of interpreting the Constitution in the context of a stable from the time of its enactment. Kavanaugh is highly praised by many in the legal community, both friends and foes alike. As a private person, Kavanaugh is known to be a good person; a good father, a good husband and son. He is a peoples’ person. After 12 years and over 300 legal opinions written as Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Kavanaugh’s legal decisions prove him to be a fair-minded judge, who’s rulings have all adhered to Constitutional precedent.
Having watched Kavanaugh go through all the Democratic bullying in the hearing yet never, not one time, did I see him lose his composure – as far as I am concerned, a lesson to all in civility, manners and intellect. Matter of fact, he showed courteousness to all his detractors, even when some of them went out of their way to challenge his steadfast decorum while answering the animals.
I personally think that all Americans should be thankful to President Trump for selecting Brett Kavanaugh as our next Supreme Court Justice. I say that with truly a balanced and unbiased perception of the candidate. I just think that there is not anyone else better qualified for the post than Kavanaugh. Having said that, I am left with an unsavory feeling about the spectacle. I must be honest with myself and with you. I think our Supreme Court Justices nomination and confirmation protocols are greatly, greatly flawed. My two-bits are, first and foremost, the Supreme Court is just that the Highest Court in the land. It is meant to be the ‘fairest’ court in the nation. Yet, in my humble opinion the way Justices are nominated and confirmed is all but ‘fair’. Just think about it for a moment. The fact alone that Justices are appointed for life-time tenures, I think is the precise antithesis of ‘fairness’. We live in a world that is in a constant state of evolution, thus a need for continued changes to our jurisprudence system in a manner consistent with the permutations taking place all the time.
Appointing Supreme Court Justices for a life-time detracts from accommodating the need to make changes commensurate with evolution – just my opinion. My second point at issue with the present methodology lies in the fact Justices are appointed by the sitting president of the U.S. Again, if you think about it, this means that Supreme Court judges are likely to rule one way or the other along partisan lines – along conservative tenets if appointed by a Republican president and liberal if appointed by a Democrat. In other words, the replacement of Justices is inherently flawed relative to who happens to be in the White House at a time when next Court vacancy takes place – historically upon the passing and/or retirement of Justices. It is, as I see it, no more, no less than a game like musical chairs – when the ‘music’ stops [Justice dies or retires], whoever is the sitting President, appoints the replacement. Matter of fact, during Kavanaugh’s hearing, one Republican senator told senators on the other side of the aisle: “next time, if you don’t like the nominee, make sure to win the presidential elections.” Very true, but…not fair, I don’t think.
I personally think Supreme Court Justices should be elected by the people and should be elected for a limited period only- certainly not for a life-time. I don’t think my wish will ever come to fruition, but, still, I am entitled to my opinion, aren’t I? Anyways, this is it folks. The hearing itself a charade. Far from what it was meant to be and accomplish. My bottom line on the whole thing, a simple unadulterated conclusion: I am completely content with the appointment and likely confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Matter of fact, if I must live with a life-time appointment, no one better than Kavanaugh. As to the theatrics surrounding the hearings – to be expected, what can I tell you. No news here.
Finally, I leave the hearings with an incredibly great set of expectations for the forthcoming November Mid-Term elections. Besides all else, all that the Kavanaugh hearing did for me was reconfirm and re-assure me that Democrats are all but lost. Their agendas are full of smoke and thin air. They cannot win elections barely on their existential hate for Trump, nor on their unfathomable denial of all the progress made by the nation since the start of Trump’s presidency. In summary, like I said earlier, I thought the hearing was nothing short than a political rally. As such, I came out the rally [the hearing] with the realization that they [Democrats] don’t stand a chance in the Mid-Term elections nor do they stand a chance in the 2020 presidential elections as well. Thank God for their continued stupidity! My best wishes for them to keep it up. That being the case, they [Democrats] are their own worst enemies and, by default, Republicans’ best allies. God bless America. Long-live Democracy.