Hyp­ocrites for Ka­vanaugh in High Court power play

Austin American-Statesman - - BALANCED VIEWS - E.J. Dionne Jr. He writes for the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Be pre­pared for a fes­ti­val of hypocrisy, eva­sion and mis­di­rec­tion from sup­port­ers of the con­fir­ma­tion of Judge Brett Ka­vanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Be­gin with the idea that be­cause Ka­vanaugh is qual­i­fied, well-ed­u­cated, in­tel­li­gent and lik­able, sen­a­tors should fall in line be­hind him.

Sorry, but Se­nate Repub­li­cans have al­ready demon­strated that none of these char­ac­ter­is­tics mat­ters. If they did, Judge Mer­rick Gar­land would be a Supreme Court jus­tice. In block­ing Gar­land, con­ser­va­tives made clear that per­sonal qual­i­ties have noth­ing to do with con­fir­ma­tion bat­tles. They are strug­gles for power.

Ev­ery­thing we know about Ka­vanaugh demon­strates he would ce­ment a right-wing ma­jor­ity on the court on so­cial is­sues as well as reg­u­la­tory and eco­nomic ques­tions. The en­vi­ron­ment, gun safety and health care are all at stake. So are civil, vot­ing and la­bor rights.

Pro­gres­sives are told they should get over the shame­ful treat­ment of Gar­land. What an as­ton­ish­ing ex­er­cise in hypocrisy from con­ser­va­tives who have been re­liv­ing the de­feat of Robert Bork’s nom­i­na­tion to the Supreme Court for 31 years. And un­like Gar­land, Bork got a hear­ing and a vote.

Ka­vanaugh’s de­fend­ers will pre­tend that his ide­ol­ogy is not a le­git­i­mate mat­ter for se­na­to­rial ex­am­i­na­tion.

But these same peo­ple made con­ser­va­tive ide­ol­ogy cen­tral to their case to Trump on Ka­vanaugh’s be­half. As Ash­ley Parker and Robert Costa re­ported in The Wash­ing­ton Post, “For­mer clerks fended off crit­i­cism that his record on abor­tion was squishy and that his rul­ings were too def­er­en­tial to gov­ern­ment agen­cies.”

Ka­vanaugh’s cham­pi­ons can’t have it both ways — and nei­ther can Sens. Su­san Collins, R-Maine, or Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who are sup­port­ers of abor­tion rights.

Don’t count on the judge to help un­ravel these mys­ter­ies. Ka­vanaugh kicked off his con­fir­ma­tion cam­paign with a state­ment that lacked all cred­i­bil­ity. “No pres­i­dent,” he said, “has ever con­sulted more widely, or talked with more peo­ple from more back­grounds, to seek in­put about a Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion.”

Good grief! Trump’s list of po­ten­tial ap­pointees was for­mu­lated in con­sul­ta­tion with right-wing groups. Pe­riod. Civil rights groups, women’s or­ga­ni­za­tions, la­bor unions and count­less other sec­tors of our so­ci­ety had no part in this.

And given the pres­i­dent who named him is fac­ing le­gal scru­tiny, the would-be jus­tice’s sweep­ing views about pres­i­den­tial im­mu­nity are highly rel­e­vant to whether he should be put in a po­si­tion to ad­ju­di­cate Trump’s fu­ture.

Ka­vanaugh can’t be let off the hook just be­cause his now widely read 2009 Min­nesota Law Re­view ar­ti­cle sug­gested that pres­i­dents should be pro­tected by con­gres­sional ac­tion, not the courts. Nowhere does he say ex­plic­itly that the courts couldn’t act.

As for Repub­li­can ef­forts to rush Ka­vanaugh through, the judge wrote in that law re­view ar­ti­cle that the Se­nate “should con­sider a rule en­sur­ing that ev­ery ju­di­cial nom­i­nee re­ceives a vote by the Se­nate within 180 days of be­ing nom­i­nated by the pres­i­dent.”

It’s in­ter­est­ing that go­ing the full 180 days would take us well past Novem­ber’s elec­tion. And ac­cord­ing to the Ka­vanaugh Doc­trine, Gar­land ought to have been given a vote. Sen­a­tors should ask him about that, too.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.