Kavanaugh Hearings and the Dismantling of American Democracy

Kavanaugh Hearings and the Dismantling of American Democracy

“When you have a voice, you also have a moral obligation to use that voice for good.”
Leandra Medine

As the November mid-term rapidly approaches and Special Counsel Robert Mueller aims the laser-focused scope of the Russia investigation on President Trump’s inner circle, Tuesday morning the Senate Judiciary Committee opened its hearings on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. 

In recent years, the Republican party has experienced unscrupulous success first using every trick at their disposal to delay and subsequently deny a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Merrick Garland for more than 400 days, then following the questionable election of Donald Trump, gleefully changed senate rules to facilitate the hasty confirmation of conservative darling, Neil Gorsuch, to fill the stolen judicial seat. 

Now, Republican senators are rushing to confirm Kavanaugh and in the process, withholding critical documents pertaining to his history, ignoring established precedent, and blatantly working to confuse the public by attempting to equate the raw numbers of documents submitted for review with the ninety percent of available Kavanaugh documents being withheld. 

By denying Democrats (and Republicans for that matter) of the Senate Judiciary Committee access to less than 10 percent of Kavanaugh’s written record and then insisting senators decide on his nomination without the information necessary to make an informed decision based on facts, they are setting another dangerous precedent. Bottom line, ten percent is ten percent whether we are talking about 10 pages in relation to 100 pages or 10,000 pages in relation to 100,000 pages or 100,000 in relation to one million pages—it is still only ten percent. 

Kavanaugh’s nomination was not a surprise. After all, Kavanaugh is the groomed and hand-picked candidate of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society and its cohort in extremism, the Heritage Foundation.   

As a result, what’s at risk is clear including the hard-fought progress citizens have attained in relation to a woman’s right to choose, civil rights, voting rights, health care protections, safeguards for workers, protections for seniors, LGBTQ rights, the environment and a host of other critical issues.

To entertain a Supreme Court nominee selected by a president under investigation and identified as a certain co-conspirator in a pending felony case is beyond concerning, it is a tragic and blatant departure from democratic norms. 

The president promised his supporters, “We have to pick a great one, we have to pick one that’s going to be there 40 years, 45 years.” Also, during the 2016 campaign, candidate Trump warned the nation, “Roe” would be overturned if he got to change the balance on the court. That is exactly what he is working to accomplish. The first step was taken when Republicans filled the seat stolen from President Obama and delivered it to conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Candidate Trump also warned, “If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that [overturning Roe] will happen. And that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.” 

It now appears the Senate Judiciary committee under Republican stewardship, is bent on doing exactly that with its unprecedented manipulation of the nomination process regarding Kavanaugh. 

Civil rights, voting rights, health care, as well as protections for seniors, the disabled, union workers, members of the LGBTQ community and the environment, etc., are not the only issues at risk with this nominee.  

According to California Senator Kamala Harris, Kavanaugh was a late addition to the president’s original list of potential Supreme Court candidates. He was added only after the president’s potential legal entanglements and vulnerabilities began to surface.

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon assessed it best when he said, “A President under investigation should never be allowed to appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court.” 

By nominating Kavanaugh, the president not only satisfied the yearnings of right-wing extremists, in the process he also nominated a candidate that had clearly signaled a willingness to give presidents a predetermined “free pass,” a “get out of jail” free card, so to speak. In 2009, Kavanaugh wrote that the indictment and trial of a sitting president, “would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas.”

The American presidency, however, is not a monarchy. No one in this country—not even the president, is above the law. Kavanaugh’s opinions are viewed by many legal scholars as far outside the mainstream, especially his expansive perspective on the powers and exceptions of the presidency. 

This, in addition to questions about what the Republicans are hiding by withholding 90 percent of Kavanaugh’s documented history, are “red flags” to the American public. 

Most Americans are of a growing belief that because of Trump’s actions to date, the federal government is already “crippled and unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas,” just consider the dysfunction of the Senate Judiciary Committee in relation to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, as an example. 

A recent CNN/SSRS poll showed only 37 percent of all respondents believed Kavanaugh should be confirmed and only 28 percent of women supported his confirmation.    

This is a sad commentary not only on the president, it also reflects poorly on the integrity of the nation’s legislative branch, as Republican legislators have been and continue to be complicit in the president’s capricious and malicious attacks on the institutions of this country. 

Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

S.E. Williams
Managing Editor

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