By Thom Duda
The hearings for Brett Kavanaugh have ended despite controversy and protest. Kentucky’s resident turtle-ghoul Mitch McConnell, Republican senate majority leader, is hoping to have everything settled by the end of the month. Of course, anything McConnell wants to do instills an instinctual dread in me, given his own record, but this time it’s different.
It feels more odd, more disturbing to me.
We have a Supreme Court nominee put forth by a president who is currently a possible co-conspirator in the Russian investigation, which he labels a “Witch Hunt,” in his tweets, being handled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller has guilty pleas in this investigation, so there is very little chance that this won’t continue for some time and therefore President Trump’s involvement shouldn’t even allow him to nominate anyone until he is personally cleared of all possible charges.
It’s like a criminal being allowed to pick one of his prosecutors before the trial, making it unbalanced from the start.
The fact that Kavanaugh would be a lifetime appointment just makes it more insane.
In addition to this, the way Kavanaugh’s hearings have been conducted is outside of the normal procedures as well. A large number of documents that should have reviewed were unavailable, some being dumped on the committee only a few days prior to the hearings themselves.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), as a prime example, was threatened with expulsion when he made some of the emails, which were marked as confidential, available to the public because the documents pertained to Kavanaugh’s view on legislation regarding race.
These are things that should be made public to the American people, especially considering the importance of the Supreme Court in deciding policy, as there is a great deal of tension regarding race in our country.
Booker had the right idea – to be transparent and have all the information on the table – but he is threatened with expulsion for making it public.
That gets the alarm bells going off.
Then, of course, there’s Kavanaugh’s views and past patterns regarding topics such as the environment, regulation, women’s reproductive rights – where he considers contraception “abortion inducing drugs” – and the idea of whether a sitting president can be the subject of a criminal investigation.
It is this last point that causes me the most distress, largely because Kavanaugh has not spoken out against the notion that the president is above the law.
The Washington Post reported that back in 2009, Kavanaugh wrote, “I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.”
This was all propped up by a pragmatic view that the responsibilities of the president, being so numerous and great in scope, meant that he shouldn’t be bothered with things such as civil lawsuits or criminal investigations while in office.
While seemingly sensible in its acknowledgment of the president’s many duties, the suggestion that a president should be above such blasé things as investigations into his own wrongdoings while he has a job to do is very dangerous and ripe for horrible justifications.
America has never had a love for kings and monarchies in the past, so why start now?