Try 1 month for 99¢

WASHINGTON — A surefire ideological Kool-Aid test? Those who think Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was wounded during his hearings have heavily imbibed.

Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee set out to prove that Kavanaugh is a mendacious political hack with the strategy of acting like mendacious political hacks.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., offered to sacrifice his political career in a move obviously calculated to serve his political career — boldly releasing “confidential” committee documents that had already been released and that did nothing to prove Kavanaugh’s unfitness.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., hinted darkly at the malignant influence of the Federalist Society — though it turned out that every member of the current Supreme Court, and Whitehouse himself, had participated in Federalist Society events. Kavanaugh displayed many skills during his Senate hearings, but one above all: the ability to suffer political fools.

A few Democratic members — including the consistently thoughtful Sen. Chris Coons — attempted to discuss the law. But this was largely a distraction from a series of “scandals” that never rose above the level of clarifications.

Was Kavanaugh somehow responsible for an enhanced interrogation program that was above his security clearance and that he was never briefed about? Was he somehow responsible for knowing that information from swiped Democratic briefing memos had made their way into material he read? Was Kavanaugh somehow personally responsible for the birth-control views of a plaintiff because the nominee made reference to it? This last charge — summarized by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as a “dog whistle going after birth control” — earned “Four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. A day later — the deception having been demonstrated beyond doubt — Hillary Clinton embraced it in a tweet.

Each political side has chosen to live in a post-truth world. In one case, deceit serves the president’s interests and ego. In the other case, deceit serves progressive ideology. But in both instances, loyalty is proved by lies.

And by viciousness. Attempts by progressive interest groups to influence the undecided Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her words, “have been laced with threats, with profanity, with vulgar language, completely inappropriate.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., calls this “unfortunate.” Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., calls it “shameful.” Tennessee Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, says he is “embarrassed by the circus” that Supreme Court confirmations have become. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., began a round of questions with an apology to Kavanaugh: “I’m sorry about the circumstances, but we’ll get through it.” And she was later slammed by progressives for this demonstration of disloyal politeness.

Bitterness in this broken process is, of course, nothing new. But there has been a serious decline in the quality of calumny. When the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., went after Judge Bork in 1987, even the deceptions had more gravity. “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions,” Kennedy thundered, “blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government.”

What are some of the closing charges against Kavanaugh? In Judge Kavanaugh’s America, sports fans spend unsustainable amounts on season tickets, judges refuse to shake the hand of a stranger they don’t realize is the parent of a shooting victim, and meaningless papers that pass through the hands of a White House staff secretary are withheld at whim. And, by the way, if you don’t wear an outfit from “The Handmaid’s Tale” and constantly interrupt your enemies, you are a [expletive]-ing [expletive].

I have no doubt that some senators will attempt to channel Kennedy’s charges against Kavanaugh during the floor debate. But this nominee has none of Bork’s air of menace. He is a careful, thoughtful judge of originalist convictions and moderate temperament. And he is more than qualified for the court. A statement from faculty at Yale University calls him “a true intellectual” and “one of the most learned judges in America.”

It is simply not credible to hold Kavanaugh responsible for the offense of replacing the Supreme Court’s swing vote. It is not credible to hold Kavanaugh responsible for the shabby treatment that President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, received. And it is not credible to impose a pro-choice litmus test on the nominee of a pro-life president.

Kavanaugh is the best of his judicial peers; he is better than his senatorial accusers; and, if there is any justice, he is headed for confirmation.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Michael Gerson’s email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.

1
5
0
0
1

(27) comments

johnnybragatti

Seems like Snow Crabs , more affectionately as the "That Dahmer Boy".,,
has not a clue as to the pres. is.
The very worst lowlife, in the history of the U.S.A.
The name is Trump, an Orange Carcass without a cause.
Just sayin" , ya know.

Comment deleted.
Cassandra2

The Cougar-bot may not realize it, but Mr. Obama is no longer President. And Trump probably just opened himself up to obstruction of justice charges by selectively releasing and redacting documents in order to sway the investigation.

PhysicsIsFun

Here is a great article about why women wait to report sexual assault. The timing seems to be the main argument being used by Republicans to dispute the charges against Kavanaugh, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/christine-blasey-ford-brett-kavanaugh-accusation-timing.html

PhysicsIsFun

The Q-Anon people have sunk to new depths of desperation and dishonesty now that the accuser's name has been released, and we see why she didn't want her name released in the first place. Every slime ball like SnowJob is trying to discredit her and her family. Talk about lowlifes. (https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-internet-predictably-turns-into-a-god-awful-fever-swamp-following-the-kavanaugh-bombshell?ref=home)

Comment deleted.
Cassandra2

Cougar-bot, would that be the same Constitution that Trump claims he's not bound by? Don't lecture us on our Constitution from your bot farm in St. Petersburg. You clearly don't understand what the document stands for.

Climatehoax

I’d say comparing two posters to Jeffery Dahmer because they back a very qualified candidate for the Supreme Court sums up the ignorance, lies and childish behavior of the opposition to that man. Jeffery Dahmer??? Really???

Redwall

It was a great show...seeing how foolish and cheap the Dems could make themselves look.

My fave was when Kamala Harris derisively referred to Kavanaugh's copy of the Constitution as "that little book you carry" and Kavanaugh, reminding her it was a copy of the Constitution, gasped and laughed at her ignorance.

johnnybragatti

Climatehoax is a lot like his wife Snow-Jab Cougar,
in that they "re both Jeffrey Dahmers revisited.
Quite a pair., ya'll don"t want to meet, on a lighted street.

Climatehoax

According to obama,elections have consequences, consequences of Trump being elected is Kavanuagh being on the Supreme Court. So, suck it up snowflakes it’s going to happen.

capedcrusader

Well, well, well. The famous she-male Snow Cougar is back posting more nonsense again. I'm sure you will find one or two gullibles who will enjoy the show. Personally I don't care what Kavanaugh did in High School. I care more about what he's done and stands for ever since. So, he thinks having consensual sex with an adult is disgracing the office of the Presidency. What does he think of using campaign financing to pay hush money to a p*rn star? For all we know Kavanaugh could be a Russian plant. If Kavanaugh should be confirmed certainly Merrick Garland should have been. I vote no confirmation until at least after the mid terms.

HolmenPackerFan


Extreme partisans of any stripe cannot seem to find a way to see beyond their movement’s talking points and whether a person has an R, I, or D tattooed on their forehead.

Those who trash Kavanaugh based on gossip, hearsay and innuendo ought to consider the man’s actual history on the job as a judge, his record and his personal response to the numerous attacks - rather than simply listening to partisan talking heads.

“Kavanaugh is the best of his judicial peers; he is better than his senatorial accusers; and, if there is any justice, he is headed for confirmation.“

oldhomey

And which partisan talking heads are you taking your information from, Holmen?

HolmenPackerFan

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Supreme Court Justice
Akhil Reed Amar, a professor of law at Yale University
Various Harvard Law professors
The American Bar Association

Need more?

oldhomey

Well, here's the deal, Holmen -- if you care about facts -- the brouhaha is not so much over Kavanaugh himself, a smart man and a good family man, but more about how he came to be the nominee in what has become a terribly politicized, partisan process. You don't necessarily hear that by listening to self-selected talking heads.

I listen to talking heads for opinion and philosophical interpretation, which is immensely helpful in forming one's views. But I don't listen other's opinions for facts, unless they use facts while demonstrating the foundations of their opinions or philosophies. And even then I don't accept them at their word that their facts are right.

You like what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said about the selection process being too politicized. I agree with her, too, but perhaps not in the way you agree with her. The process is being politicized dramatically by the extremist wing of the Republican Party relying on the Heritage Foundation finding nominee candidates they are confident will shift the court agenda to the extremist views of the far right. And it is doing this openly and transparently, so there is no argument about what they are doing.

Of course such an approach invites a vigorous political backlash from the opposition party. So apparently for the rest of our lifetime and, I am guessing, the lifetime of our children, Supreme Court nominations will be bitterly fought over and contested in ways the have not been contested since the formation of the court itself.

The rest of your list is an array of impressive people who express the opinion that you express, that Kavanaugh should be appointed. Fine. It is their opinion and your opinion. Noted. I agree that Kavanaugh inevitably will be appointed, but it is also my opinion that the root of the politicization process of court selections comes from the far right, and we are going to have these dog and pony shows every time a court vacancy opens. Prof. Amar, who likes Kavanaugh a great deal, also agrees the system is broken, and feels " . . . honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless."

HolmenPackerFan

Ahem. I already knew “the deal”, oldhomey. . I’ve seen your posts and I wonder if you even understand them. You are one giant contradiction. You say you agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg but then go on to make excuses for the nonsense with the Kavanugh confirmation though Mr. Kavanaugh is well-qualified and we’ll-respected among expert legal scholars.

You wrote, “I listen to talking heads for opinion and philosophical interpretation, which is immensely helpful in forming one's views.” In other words, you decide what to think by listening to your talking heads. When others offer facts, you reflexively deny them. You’ve confirmed my statement, “Extreme partisans of any stripe cannot seem to find a way to see beyond their movement’s talking points...”

The process Ginsburg decries is being politicized by BOTH parties. You, however, blame only the ‘extremist wing of the Republican Party’ but, based on the liberal rhetoric you post daily, the extreme left wing of the Democrat Party is not politicizing the process.

You respond as usual with your usual condescending voice “Well, here's the deal, Holmen -- if you care about facts” as though you are teaching some valuable lesson by sharing what has been obvious for a long while. Your blind partisanship is and has been evident for a long while. Your admissions of that are not new.

oldhomey

Well thank you, Holmen, for demonstrating that you obviously do NOT know what the deal is.

I don't see any contradiction in agreeing with Ginsburg that the hearings are an unfortunate partisan sideshow. However, she didn't so far as I recall go into why it has become so partisan in the 25 years since she was confirmed. I feel it has become a partisan show largely because of concerted efforts by the extremist right wing of the GOP to limit choices to men (so far) who toe their ideological line. Now tell me how that is a contradiction.


You go on to accuse me with this: "You wrote, 'I listen to talking heads for opinion and philosophical interpretation, which is immensely helpful in forming one's views.' In other words, you decide what to think by listening to your talking heads." I used the term "talking heads" because that was the term you used. I assume, however, we are talking about columnists and opinion makers. I absolutely listen to and read these people, because they are trained to and are paid to study issues and ideas more deeply than you or me. I do not know of one person, in fact, who would hold an opinion worth listening to unless that person exposed himself or herself to multiple sources of information, opinion and ideas. But perhaps you are different, and you read nothing and listen to nobody, a grand, independent intellect who forms your opinions and world view in a vacuum.

The you go on to tell me: "When others offer facts, you reflexively deny them. You’ve confirmed my statement, 'Extreme partisans of any stripe cannot seem to find a way to see beyond their movement’s talking points...' " Ahem. Perhaps you can offer up evidence to the contrary, Holmen, but I think I said the opposite. I said I listen to others to hear their opinions, but I do not get on these boards -- as you DO -- and offer the opinions of others that you agree with as "facts" proving that you are correct in your opinion. I said I will accept actual facts that "talking heads" use to form the basis of their opinions if I can confirm that the facts they are using are real and provable. That is quite different from what you are alleging that I said.

I agree that both the Republicans and Democrats have devolved into a political sideshow with the Kavanaugh hearings. What else could you call a "Spartacus moment"? Stupid and unfortunate is what I call it. But the fact remains that you have a president who says he nominated Kavanaugh to roll back Roe vs. Wade, which is a stupefyingly stupid and frightening public statement. NO nominee should be sent before the hearings because he is a waterboy for the agenda of his political sponsors, and that is, unfortunately, what Kavanaugh looks like. He should be subjected to a deep combing of his past because of Trump's statements to reassure us that he is an independent jurist, and the Mitch McConnell machine has done everything it can to thwart such a combing.

My tone toward you has always pretty much reflected your tone toward me, which has always been condescending. And my respect for the facts has been central to every argument I have ever made on these boards. And gosh, Holmen, I am human and sometimes I get the facts wrong. When I do, I publicly acknowledge my mistakes on these same boards. I don't ever recall you acknowledging you got something wrong on these boards. That would make you almost inhuman, I guess. Or it would make you a slippery character. I have an opinion on that, too, which should not surprise you.

HolmenPackerFan

They were your words, oldhomey; not mine. You’re a contradiction.

“...concerted efforts by the extremist right wing of the GOP to limit choices to men (so far) who toe their ideological line.” You should check facts. Sandra Day O’Connor and Harriet Miers?

oldhomey

Yes, I agree with you about my unfortunate parenthetical statement about no women being offered up by the extreme right wing for the Supreme Court. Sandra Day O'Connor, however, was not offered up by the extremists who have hijacked the Republican Party. She was a moderate conservative, and when nominated, she got unanimous bi-partisan support. Harriet Miers, however, was an unfortunate selection by President Bush II, who was a close personal friend of hers. But once she went into the nominating process, she was shown to be so unworthy for the honor that she was rejected both by Republicans and Democrats in another display of bipartisanship that simply no longer seems to exist.

By the way how my overlooking Ms O'Connor and Ms. Miers is some indication of my being contradictory in my agreeing with Ginsburg that the hearings on Mr. Kavanaugh are an unfortunate partisan sideshow. I goofed factually, but I don't think it negates my stance. Perhaps you can point out how it does.

HolmenPackerFan

Your rants seem to indicate Republican is synonymous with extreme right-wing without qualification.

Your statement that Republicans had limited their selections to only men was not qualified. I merely pointed out some Republican appointees who were female. The rest of the details you’ve included about them move are ink in the water. Get a napkin and wipe that egg off your face.

oldhomey

Well, Holmen, the Republican Party was full of moderates before the rise of the tea party and, subsequently, Donald Trump. Now we have seen before the beginning of the 2018 elections a massive number of these moderates retiring, openly saying that they no longer fit with the prevailing direction the Republican Party is taking. Can you explain, for example, how any moderate Republican could go along with scrapping all of our mutual defense treaties with trusted allies for the past 70 years? Could you explain how any moderate Republicans could go along with walking away from all our trade agreements with other nations, while at the same time slamming and insulting the leaders of pretty much every one of our best allies? Do you see anybody in the Republican Party today making an effective protest to the radicals in their ranks for taking our nation in this direction? I can't discount the possibility that I am mistaken. Could you please show me how I am mistaken? Thank you.

oldhomey

Sorry, Holmen, I didn't address your entire comment to me at 3:09pm. Unlike you, when I am caught making a factual mistake, I acknowledge it, egg on face and all. You still have not been able to sustain your observation that I am contradictory. My observations about the GOP female nominees reflected that in those times the GOP was not a hijacked party yet, and there was a strong element of bipartisanship in Congress.

Comment deleted.
PhysicsIsFun

How is it that you know the allegations are false? Were you there? Now that Reddit has shut down the stupid Q sites (Reddit Just Banned a Bunch of the Message Boards Where the QAnon Conspiracy Theory Festers) where are you going to discuss your nonsense? People like you are losing all credibility. https://slate.com/technology/2018/09/reddit-banned-qanon-conspiracy-theory-message-boards.html

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.