The Hill To Die On

Since he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on July 9th, Brett Kavanaugh has completely taken over the news and Washington D.C.

His original confirmation hearing was contentious, yet uninformative because he really didn’t answer any questions about key issues that he could face or have to decide on if confirmed to the court. While I understand it has become “precedent” since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s confirmation that nominees don’t talk about pending cases or possible cases, the whole hearing process for Supreme Court nominees has become useless and a waste of time.

Last Thursday, he returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak about the sexual assault allegation made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. And, just like at his first hearing, he did not answer Senator’s questions and when he decided to answer them he often lied to the committee, which is a felony.

On the other hand, Dr. Ford answered every single question asked by both Democrats, and Miss Mitchell, the attorney hired by the Republicans so they didn’t have to do their job.

Dr. Ford sat before the committee, and the country, for hours to tell the story of what was probably the worst experience of her life. She described the night in detail and with such emotion and conviction that is impossible for anyone to say something like this didn’t happen to her. She openly admitted what she couldn’t remember from the night, and showed that she had spoken about this in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017. All long before the nominee was even mentioned to become a Supreme Court Justice.

She attempted to bring this forward confidentially because she knew she would be vilified by those on the right, and she has been, yet once it became public she knew she had to face her largest fear. She called for hearings, FBI investigations, interviews, anything that will help lead to the truth.

Kavanaugh has refused to do just that, when asked by Dick Durbin (D-IL) whether or not he personally believes there should be an FBI investigation to look into this he did not answer and was silent for seconds after the question. If he truly believes he is 100% innocent, then why is asking for the FBI to investigate such a difficult thing to call for? That doesn’t sound like the stance of an innocent person to me.

This whole battle is not taking place in a courtroom, and Judge Kavanaugh is not on trial. He is up for a job interview, one that he seems to think he’s entitled to have. Therefore the standard needed to kill his confirmation is not that he sexually assaulted Dr. Ford “beyond a reasonable doubt”. However, there are certain legal standards that should still apply.

One that is most applicable in a case like this is one brought up by former FBI Director James Comey. He tweeted a standard jury instruction, “If a witness is shown knowingly to have testified falsely about any material matter, you have a right to distrust such witness’ other testimony and you may reject all the testimony of that witness”.

In this case the jury is the United States Senate, and it is a felony to lie to a Senate Committee. Judge Kavanaugh did that numerous times and often about trivial matters.

When asked by Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) about the term “Devil’s Triangle” in his yearbook, he said it was a drinking game. That’s a lie.

When asked about the term “boofing” Judge Kavanaugh said it referred to flatulence. That’s a lie.

When asked about the term “Renate Alumnius” he said it was way of showing that their friend “Renate” was one of them. That’s a lie. The woman referred to has said she was unaware of that being put in a yearbook, and said “the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment”.

He repeatedly said that every witness Dr. Blasey Ford named; Mark Judge, PJ Smyth, and Leland Keyser, have refuted her claim. That’s a lie. They have all said they don’t recall that happening, and Leland Keyser texted Dr. Ford saying she believes her.

He lied in his original confirmation hearing to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about his access to and knowledge of emails that were stolen from Leahy’s team in 2003, when Kavanaugh worked in the Bush White House.

He most likely lied when saying that he has never blacked out drunk. His freshman roommate at Yale, and numerous other classmates at Yale said he was a “sloppy drunk, who often got aggressive and belligerent when intoxicated”. Another classmate also says that “there must be nights that he doesn’t remember because he was a heavy drinker even for the times”.

The list goes on and on, but you get the point by now.

The Judge has lied, over and over again, about tiny things, that it makes it difficult to believe anything he says. Several Senators, including key vote Jeff Flake, have said that if it is found that he lied to the committee the nomination should be voted down.

Well Senator Flake, how much more does he need to lie for you to notice?

Along with the repeated lying and the cloud that will be cast over him if he is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have an even larger cloud over it than it already does, especially because of how much of a political operative Kavanaugh is.

There are scores of other Judges that are just as conservative as Kavanaugh and who could’ve been confirmed easily, why must he be the one that gets rammed through, why do Republicans want him so much?

It is the stances he has on various controversial issues that will inevitably face the court if he is confirmed; abortion, presidential power, corporate consolidation, and guns.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly refused to answer whether or not he would vote to repeal Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion across the nation, but based on speeches and other rulings he has made it is clear he would vote to do so.

Republicans, the self-proclaimed party for women, want to force a man accused of sexual assault and rape onto the court so he can vote to deny women, who have been sexually assaulted or raped by men like himself, the right to have an abortion. That is not only morally repulsive, it is also a very good way to ensure that party will never win the women vote again.

9/26/18 Poll by the LA Times

At the height of the #metoo movement you would think that this kind of credible allegation would be immediately disqualifying, but the current Republican Party that fully aligns itself with a self-proclaimed sexual predator has no care for that movement nor do they plan to do anything about it.

Along with abortion, Kavanaugh also has a relatively expansive view of Presidential power, and with a President that is likely to be fighting Robert Mueller in the Supreme Court about a subpoena, it is contrary to traditional standards in this country for a defendant to pick his own judge. Kavanaugh has said that President’s should not face investigations while in office, nor should they be subpoenaed to give testimony while in office. That is not only authoritative but it is also dangerous for a Supreme Court justice who will likely vote on that very issue to have that stance. NO person is above the law in this nation, not even the President.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture, a procedural process, which leads to a vote before the FBI review was even complete Wednesday night. They don’t care what the FBI finds, they want to confirm him, and get it over with. This is a new low for Mitch McConnell, and thats saying something considering he withheld a nomination for 10 months because he didn’t like the President who nominated him.

The FBI Investigation, if you want to call it that, was an attempt at a cover up and not a real fact finding operation. That is no fault of the FBI or anyone that works there, it is the fault of the White House and Senate Leadership that dictated the scope of the investigation and the people who were questioned. Dr. Ford, the one this investigation is based around was not questioned by the FBI nor were any of the people that came forward saying they could corroborate her claim. How can a report say there is no corroboration of the allegation if the investigators didn’t talk to the people who said they could corroborate it. It just makes no sense and it is a disgrace to the truth and to Dr. Ford.

The lack of transparency in the process also gives credence to the idea that this was not meant to test Ford’s claim but to clear Kavanaugh’s name. If this was a thorough investigation and the FBI found absolutely nothing that substantiates Ford’s claim why wouldn’t Republicans want the American people to see that? That would be clear evidence for their point that this is a political hit on Kavanaugh in an attempt to get him denied. That’s not what they’re doing though because that’s not reality. This investigation was far from complete and exhaustive and they don’t want to public, who will decide whether or not they keep control in 32 days, to see that this was a cover up. The Republicans are tactical, yes, but at the same time they are slowly eroding democracy and the trust in our government by continuously hiding processes and information from the people.

Beyond the fact of hiding it from the people, Senator McConnell is also placing limits on what Senators can see and do with the material.

If confirmed, the majority in Congress is saying lying doesn’t matter in a job interview, and more importantly they are sending a message to the survivors of sexual assault and rape in this country that their stories don’t matter. That their stories shouldn’t be heard or believed, especially if they degrade a man they support.

That is telling about what and who that party stands for, and should be unacceptable in this nation.

(If you are interested in this topic and need some comic relief in the midst of this horrifying and difficult time for many, I would highly recommend you to watch this from John Oliver.)