Senate hearings over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court begin tomorrow at 9:30. They will be over by Friday.
Although the malodorous cloud of the disgusting treatment meted out to to Judge Robert Bork in 1987 has hung over every subsequent Republican nominee to the Court, I am confident that Judge Kavanaugh will escape anything like Teddy Kennedy’s mendacious ‘in Robert Bork’s America’ attacks.
Yes, the Committee includes Cory Booker, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, who once said that supporters of Brett Kavanaugh were ‘complicit in evil.’ And there’s also Kamala Harris, Democratic Senator from California, who can be counted on to be antagonistic. But neither is in the same class as Kennedy when it comes to swaggering rhetorical dissimulation and character assassination.
Then, too, Brett Kavanaugh, although indisputably conservative in disposition, has not driven Democrats to pretended apoplexy as did Judge Bork. (It is not everyone, after all, who can claim the distinction of bequeathing his surname to the language as a transitive verb.) In years to come, no one is going to talk about ‘kavanaughing’ a candidate.
The Democrats and the media (pardon the pleonastic formulation) have been scouring Judge Kavanaugh’s voluminous record for something, anything, that they might fashion into a cudgel. So far the discoveries have provided only unpromising weapons.
Kavanaugh seems to support what some called the ‘unitary’ view of executive power, but then so did the Founders. Writing about the President Clinton’s impeachment in 2009, Kavanaugh suggested that the President should be shielded from the distracting burden of a criminal investigation while in office. He was quick to note that ‘no one is above the law’ and noted that the Constitution already provided the means to check bad behaviour in a chief executive: ‘if the President does something dastardly,’ he wrote, ‘the impeachment process is available.’
The problem for Chuck Schumer and others who would like nothing more than to squelch President Trump’s nomination is that Kavanaugh’s views are smack dab in the middle of respectable legal opinion. It is instructive to read a few of his opinions. They are methodically presented, carefully researched, and quietly but persuasively argued. He thinks judges should say what they law is, not make policy. Not much there for Dems to sink their fangs into.
The most depressing reality for those seeking to scotch Kavanaugh’s nomination, of course, is the composition of the Senate. With 50 Republicans to 49 Democrats, Republicans have a majority. Yes, it’s a slim, but absent any party ‘mavericks’ like John McCain, I do not foresee any defections. And that being the case, I predict that at least a few Democrats from purple or red-trending states, will decipher the handwriting on the wall and, concluding that they have lost this battle, will seek to curry favour with their constituents and vote to confirm this ostentatiously well-qualified candidate.
Bottom line — and I’ll wager the bookies are with me on this one—the Republic will be enjoying the services of Justice Kavanaugh very soon.