Tag: kavanaugh hearing

The Kavanaugh Killing of Politics

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The debate over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has become the biggest case for political nihilism in 2018. The question of whether or not Kavanaugh should spend the rest of his life in the Supreme Court has turned into a game of political finger-pointing. Partisan lines now determine whether or not someone believes a rape accuser. The merits of Ford’s testimony do not define whether or not one thinks she is innocent. Rather, it is whether someone plans on voting Republican or Democrat come November that determines how much they believe Ford.

I take a pretty cynical approach when it comes to my analysis of governmental affairs. After all, this is the group of people that can only exist due to mass exploitation of the American public. They are the ones that spy on all of us without our consent. They are also the ones who dressed up slavery to look a little prettier. Instead of calling it slavery and putting black people on plantations, they call it the war on drugs and put black people in labor prisons. Madeline “the price is worth it” Albright’s imperialist logic carries on to this day.

Because of my cynicism, I wouldn’t put it past either of the two reigning parties to pay a very tasty amount of money to someone to get them to accuse a politician of the opposite team of sexual misconduct. But, there isn’t evidence to support that Ford is a paid actor, so we may as well give the Democrats credit. We should also, however, give them credit for turning a terrible moment in a woman’s life into a political weapon. Sexual assault is terrible, but the politicians in D.C. nonetheless feel the need to politicize it.

It appears that the Democrats care more about knocking down Trump’s Supreme Court pick than they do about finding justice for a past transgression. It has all become a muddled theater and nobody really knows what is going on anymore. If you are a Democrat, you have to believe Ford because Ford’s case helps your team. If you are a Republican, you have to be against Ford, because Ford’s case hurts your party.

But let’s say, after the FBI investigation, Kavanaugh is found innocent. Blasey Ford was a liar and the Democrats are a bunch of snakes. This should mean Kavanaugh is good to be confirmed, right? In the minds of many, this is sadly the thought process.

In reality, this should never be the only determinant for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. Yet, this is the pitiful level that American politics has reached. It has come down to “if Kavanaugh is innocent, he should spend the rest of his life on the Supreme Court.” This is a ridiculous state of affairs, but it is where we are. The rape question has turned into the political question. This both devalues politics and sexual assault. The alleged attempted rape of a young woman has become nothing more than a political token. The fact that this has become the sole question of the SCOTUS confirmation has only added to my pessimism surrounding the political process.

Kavanaugh would be a really bad Supreme Court justice. He has no regard for the Fourth Amendment or the privacy of American citizens. But alas, almost any of Trump’s picks will probably be as horrendous for the freedom of Americans. His innocence of sexual assault does not merit placement on the Supreme Court. The fact that innocence means confirmation in the minds of those on both sides of the aisle shows that it is all a failure. We are experiencing the Kavanaugh killing of politics. Maybe, it was dead all along.


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Confirming Kavanaugh is Republicans’ Duty

Glenn Verasco | Thailand
I do not know who Casey Mattox is, but a June tweet of his popped up in my Twitter feed the other day:
I rate this a perfect tweet. It is both concise and evergreen.
The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be the clear third of three branches of the federal government. The Judicial Branch is not supposed to make laws or give orders of any kind. Courts are meant to determine the constitutional legality of disputed actions between individuals and groups. The legislature legislates, the executive executes, and the judiciary judges. It’s not a difficult concept. Unfortunately, bad-faith reading of the Constitution has resulted in a politicized court system in which many actually make the ridiculous argument that judges should conjecture what the consequences of a law will be, instead of simply reading the law itself, and rule based on those assumptions. SCOTUS Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor do not even try to hide their use of this method when writing decisions from the bench. As outraged as everyone should be with the state of liberal jurisprudence, Brett Kavanaugh is not my ideal Supreme Court justice either. As Judge Napolitano has eloquently explained, Kavanaugh’s understanding of the 4th Amendment is wrongheaded and dangerous. If this were the case being made against Kavanaugh, I would be all ears. Instead of criticizing the processes and actions of the federal government based on constitutionality, philosophy, and the individual human rights the United States of America was founded upon, hazy memories from many decades ago, that have conveniently resurfaced exclusively in their owners’ minds only as Kavanaugh’s illustrious career is set to culminate in the highest court in the land, are being used to railroad his confirmation. The accusations made against Kavanaugh are unverifiable and uncorroborated within themselves. They are also immaterial to the situation at hand. As someone who generally disagrees with but respects Ronan Farrow, I am shocked and disappointed that he agreed to publish something as salacious, hazy, and irrelevant as his September 24th story. Its publishing undermines the credibility of actual sexual assault victims and needlessly politicizes the #MeToo movement which the entire country, albeit to varying degrees, is generally supportive of. The point of view of the Democrats regarding this matter deserves no consideration from honest and thoughtful people. They decided to vote against Kavanaugh as soon as he was nominated and almost entirely forewent asking relevant questions during his confirmation hearings. Instead, they delayed the process on the basis of arcane technicalities and focused on creating sound bites and video clips throughout the duration of an agonizing and embarrassing process. They have since done their best to capitalize on allegations against Kavanaugh to delay his confirmation even further, certainly hoping that they can run out the clock through midterm elections or at least keep Kavanaugh from being confirmed before the Supreme Court begins their October session. GOP Senators now have a choice. They can allow the media and opposing political party to bully and shame them into submission, or they can grow a pair by taking a stand against a ballooning culture of hyperbole and hysteria. The GOP Senators will set a historical precedent either way. The former choice would make it clear that loosely-characterized sexual assault allegations from decades ago are a political weapon they will not fight back against. This will be the end of the current GOP and likely the end of textualist jurisprudence in the Supreme Court for decades. The latter choice would promote the dignity of the accused and take the wind out of bad-faith political actors’ sails, at least for the time being. I am not a Republican and have never voted for a Republican. I registered as a Democrat when I first became eligible to vote and will officially become a member of the Libertarian Party in 2019. If GOP Senators cave, they can bet that more and more of their constituents will join me in the LP or simply stay home and laugh as Democrats wipe the floor with them in November.

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Political Extremism: Kavanaugh Accusations

By Fritz Stephey | United States

When word filtered out in the news earlier this week that an anonymous letter was submitted to Senator Dianne Feinstein making allegations that a younger Brett Kavanaugh (when he was somewhere around age 17) had committed a rather vile act of sexual assault, I am honestly upset about my first thought on the matter.

I thought, “Well isn’t this convenient.”

I should have never thought that because that is a little more than belittling and demeaning to the accuser. Regardless of some of the extreme lengths we have seen during the Kavanaugh hearings, mostly from what I can tell were people wanting their 15-seconds of “Blue Wave 2018” fame, I should not be so pre-judgmental about a severe allegation.

It takes a lot to say that, in this day and age. People often do not come out and say “I was wrong.” We’ve seen that filter down from multiple politicians, pop culture icons, and even the average person who is convicted and sentenced to prison for a heinous crime.

Granted, I never tweeted that thought out, nor posted it on social media. I try to think twice about the initial response I have to one line of information before doing that anymore. My initial Twitter statement came after Christine Blasey Ford revealed herself to be the anonymous source:

Quick Thoughts on the Kavanaugh Allegations

By Glenn Verasco | Thailand

I would like to share a few thoughts about the sexual assault allegations that Christene Blasey Ford is making against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. This is meant to be an analysis, not a summary, so I do not overtly describe the details of the allegation. But basically, she accused him of sexual assault against her when the two were teenagers. The bullet points below sum up an analysis of the situation.

Sexual Assault

  • Being 17 and drunk does not excuse sexual assault.
  • What constitutes sexual assault is not well-defined or well-understood. The lines between playing around, making a sexual advance towards someone, having a momentary slip in judgment, and earnestly attempting to force someone into a sexual encounter can be blurry. It is even blurrier for teenagers and was certainly even blurrier for teenagers of yesteryear.
  • As a socially liberal individual, I do not believe that government or public oversight of teenage sexual interaction is a good idea. Sex and human relationships are generally too complicated for third parties to be able to fully comprehend, so authorities should only be consulted in extreme circumstances. Otherwise, young people, as well as adults, should be free to take risks amongst each other.

The Law

  • As the alleged incident between Kavanaugh and Ford took place 35 years ago, we are long past the statute of limitations. This issue is about conduct and character, not the law.
  • Although our legal system places the burden of proof on the accuser and presumes non-guilt until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, this is irrelevant in the court of public opinion or SCOTUS nominations.
  • Believing someone is innocent until proven guilty is a value that I happen to share, but outside a court of law, it is a personal view, not a legal one. Reasonable people can disagree here.

The Sniff Test

  • Christene Blasey Ford is probably telling the truth, at least in part. There is some documented history of Ford discussing the matter in the past, and it is hard to imagine that she or anyone else would make up a story like this completely out of thin air.
  • Remembering the exact details of an event from 35 years ago is impossible for both Kavanaugh and Ford. Our brains remember certain details of our history, and our imaginations fill in the rest. This makes it difficult to accept either party’s version of the story without substantial evidence or witness testimony.
  • Emotion can also cloud our judgment as what we feel we experienced may not mirror what we actually experienced.
  • Ford’s lawyer Debra Katz defended Al Franken when he was accused of sexual misconduct, saying, “He did not do this as a member of the U.S. Senate.” This is obviously true, but, unlike Kavanaugh, Franken was an adult when his misconduct took place. Katz appears to be a partisan lawyer, not an impartial defender of the Constitution or human rights.
  • Ford is on the left-wing of the political spectrum, and thus, certainly has a political bias against a textualist judge like Kavanaugh.
  • Neither Katz’s nor Ford’s partisanship has any bearing on the accuracy of Ford’s story, but it does make them less credible.
  • Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend also accused of assault, deny the allegations wholesale.
  • By all accounts, the alleged incident between Kavanaugh and Ford is in no way representative of Kavanaugh as a person. However, one’s generally saintly behavior does not negate one’s sins.

Politics

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein knew of Ford’s allegations before Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing but chose not to question him about it in any way. Feinstein is obviously using Ford’s story as a political weapon, which is shameful.
  • Regardless of how true Ford’s allegations are, Feinstein clearly timed the release of her name and story as a way to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination in the 11th hour. The Senate vote to confirm him is scheduled to finish within a week.
  • Democratic Senators have been against Kavanaugh’s confirmation since long before his confirmation hearings and put on an embarrassing and hysterical display of partisanship during them. This includes attempting to smear Kavanaugh’s assistant as a white nationalist for momentarily resting her hand in the “a-okay” position, which some in the media falsely describe as a racist dog whistle.
  • Senate Republicans can afford to delay the vote for at least another month without any risk of losing the Senate or their ability to confirm justices without any Democrat support in November’s midterms (though Senate Judiciary Committee rules may come into play here).
  • Up until Democrats blocked Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork, there was little partisanship in these proceedings. Before Bork, the average SCOTUS nominee received 87% Senate approval and 49% were confirmed unanimously. Since Bork, partisanship in voting has dramatically increased, especially from Democrats.
  • Trump’s first SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch, had no allegations of misconduct of any kind. Yet, the Senate confirmed him by a slim margin of 54-45, and only three Democrats voted in his favor. Justice Alito received only four votes from Democrats in 2005. This shows that many Democrats are clearly in it for the politics, rather than justice or character.
  • Republicans have certainly become much more partisan too, refusing to even hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s last SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland, arguing that it is tradition to deny a lame duck president’s nominations until after ensuing elections.
  • It can be argued that 11th-hour sexual assault allegations to derail SCOTUS nominations sets a terrible precedent, but with as much partisanship as we are seeing now, the precedent has already been set.

Summary

  • The allegations against Kavanaugh should not be categorically denied, but should certainly not be believed at face value. Both Republicans and Democrats are playing politics, and it is unclear to me that Kavanaugh’s alleged discretions are so damning that he should be denied an opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court. If Republicans have a way to investigate the situation and still have time to nominate Kavanaugh before midterms, they should do so. However, it would be hard to blame them for proceeding as planned as there is nothing they can do to satisfy the Democrats short of leaving Justice Kennedy’s seat vacant until a left-wing justice is nominated.
  • President Trump could have avoided this mess by nominating Amy Coney Barrett instead of Kavanaugh. Besides being a far better judge, nominating a woman would have taken the #MeToo card out of Democrats’ hands.

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