Hopefully, result of Kavanaugh ascent will scrub ugliness
With the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court has taken a conservative turn that tethers rulings to a strict adherence to the Constitution that we have not seen in a few generations.
At the end of a torturous confirmation process, that’s the bare, historic result that comes from the Senate’s 50-48 confirmation vote Saturday. With it comes a renewal of the Constitution’s primacy, a direction we favor.
Unfortunately, our nation was unnecessarily embarrassed and divided to the breaking point by the manner in which Kavanaugh’s confirmation examination was conducted.
The pivotal 45-minute speech by Maine Sen. Susan Collins in which she explained her vote supporting Kavanaugh should be thoroughly digested for its content, which illustrated the method by which senators were supposed to decide their confirmation vote.
Collins is moderate, not conservative. While she is a Republican, she has demonstrated often that she is an independent woman and has crossed the aisle more than once.
She understood and respected the weight of the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh and respects the movement to raise consciousness against such crimes.
She correctly deplored the manner in which the allegations were brought to public light, but nevertheless was moved by the hearing testimony of both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
While she believes something happened to Ford, she found no evidence to substantively back the allegations against Kavanaugh.
And she realized the dangerous path the country would be on had our principle of innocent until proven guilty been reversed.
Nevertheless, she supported the extra week of FBI investigations – an unprecedented seventh look into Kavanaugh’s background – that preceded the final vote. She spent more time than most senators looking at every line of the voluminous report.
Satisfied with that aspect of the confirmation dilemma, she then looked at the questions all of the senators were supposed to consider. The judge had written more than 300 opinions in the past 11 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, so anyone could have examined his writings instead of hurling unsubstantiated accusations.
Collins checked his opinions on women’s-related issues, presidential powers and any number of hot button legal issues that may come up in coming years.
Instead of judging Kavanaugh’s temperament by his emotional defense of his life and reputation – what did people expect? – Collins looked at the content of his writings to determine whether he will reach legal opinions with maturity.
Besides being satisfied by his grounded, Constitutionally faithful opinions, she discovered that his rulings were on the same side 93 percent of the time as another judge on the same court, Merrick Garland.
Democrats remain bitter that Garland’s nomination to the court to replace the late Antonin Scalia was blocked by Republicans.
Employing the same reasoning Democrats had used years earlier, the Senate Republican majority blocked President Obama’s nomination because he was in his final months in office when it became available. Not since 1888 has a Supreme Court justice been appointed in the final year of a presidential term when the parties holding the White House and the Senate were different.
At the end of the day, however, what Democrats – and all Americans, for that matter – are getting, according to the written track record, is a justice very similar to Garland. Don’t hold your breath expecting those with a political agenda to admit to that reality.
Instead, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was calling for more looks into the latest FBI investigation of Kavanaugh hours after the confirmation vote.
Even before Kavanaugh was nominated, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said in July that he would oppose any of President Trump’s nominees. He turned down opportunities to meet personally with Kavanaugh. That is woefully inadequate and irresponsible representation.
This is resistance that runs far afield of valid contesting and suggestions that improve discourse and legislative content to a dangerous place that mirrors a playground rant and seeks personal destruction of those with whom we differ.
We, as a country, are better than that.
We must be better than that.
And voters need to reward this November those candidates who, unlike too much of this confirmation process, favor substance over wild, scorched-earth public rants that have no plan behind them.