Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Kavanaugh Hearing: Who Let The Dogs Out?

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been installed on the U.S. Supreme Court.  A voting majority on both sides of the apparently permanent political barricades is breathing sighs of relief, if only because the chaotic Senate hearings are over. Most people are bone weary of the political posturing and wonder how much permanent damage the U.S. Senate, not to mention the Supreme Court, may have suffered.

Nothing on the Democrat side of the barricades will be over until the party triumvirate – U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer – says it is over.  That seems unlikely. The Democrat effort here seems to be to strike at the president through his mask, in this case Kavanaugh. Blumenthal, it should be noted, pledged to vote against the Kavanaugh nomination even before he was nominated by Trump to succeed Justice Kennedy on the high court. In fact, Blumenthal was opposed to any of the candidates whose names appeared on a list of acceptable candidates supplied to the President by The Heritage Foundation, which noted in a September 2016 article, “Trump’s list of 11 potential justices includes five suggestions that had appeared in a commentary from The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson senior legal fellows, first published in March.”

“I’ve never seen a president of the United States in effect make himself a puppet of outside groups and choose from a group of right-wing fringe ideologues that are prepared on this list,” Blumenthal later commented.

We do not know what part Blumenthal played in orchestrating the disgraceful opposition to Kavanaugh during the Senate judiciary hearings, but most objective observers will agree the left wing groups protesting Blumenthal's hearing in the gallery were fringe ideologues unalterably opposed to Kavanaugh’s elevation to the high court.

There are those who believe that Kavanaugh's response to his public scourging was inappropriate and demonstrated a want of proper judicial restraint, an important virtue in Supreme Court justices. Of course, the opposing senators knew where to look for judicial restraint, and if Democrats weren't pretending that Kavanaugh had no prior court experience, they would have found abundant evidence of it in his fifteen years on the second most important court in the nation.

In the unfolding political play, Kavanaugh was the Democrat’s Shylock: “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” The provocateur provokes and fully expects an appropriately human response from his victim. When the victim responds naturally – as would any man who believes himself falsely accused of serious crimes -- the provocateur accuses the respondent of behaving unnaturally. Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators believe the charge that Kavanaugh attempted to rape a fifteen-year-old girl because of its provenance, however inadequate the supporting evidence.

On this pivot – that the word of an accuser is sufficient proof of guilt -- we are driven back to pre-Magna Carta days, when the King of England believed he was entitled to unquestioned belief because of his status as King of England. We’ve advanced somewhat, we may hope, since the lords of England forced King John to sign the Great Charter, which provided that no man or woman could be pronounced guilty without a sufficient defense.

One of the take-away lessons of the disgraceful Kavanaugh public scourging is this: If you are a fifteen year old victim of an attempted rape, tell your mom immediately. She is not an “old, white male,” and she will know what to do -- i.e. report the crime to the proper investigatory agency, the police, who will establish an evidentiary path to prosecution.

A Senate hearing is not a criminal court in which charges can be contested by a rigorous examination of witnesses. Virtually all the witnesses named by Kavanaugh’s accuser stated on the record, under penalty of perjury, that they did not support the attestations made by the accuser. But in true Queen of Hearts style – “First the verdict, then the trial” -- Blumenthal was convinced of Kavanaugh’s guilt long before the hearings opened.

Did Democrat senators facilitate the disruptive protests that occurred throughout the hearings? We don’t know. But we should find out. Given the anti-Kavanaugh nature of the protests, we can count out the Republicans as choreographers. Where there is smoke, there is fire; where there is choreography, there are choreographers.

The galleries were packed with disruptive protesters. The US Senate reference guide tells us, “The galleries of the Senate and the House of Representatives are open to view whenever either body is in session. Gallery passes obtained from the office of your Senator or Representative are always required to visit the galleries.”

From the very first moment the senate hearing on the Kavanaugh nomination opened, there were loud disturbances in the gallery that continued throughout the hearing. Which senators gave the necessary passes to the disturbers, many of whom were arrested? How many passes were distributed by the staffs of Senators Blumenthal, Feinstein and Schumer? That information can easily be acquired by any competent New York Times or Washington Post investigative reporter. The names of the disturbers can be found in arrest records and cross referenced to guest passes issued by the staffs of specific senators. There may be email tracks linking the disturbers of the hearings to specific Democrat senators. Why should such important information not be made available to the general public? It’s a critical part of the hearings narrative.

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