Watch­ing Brett Kavanaugh, and I like what I’m hear­ing

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

By Chris­tine M. Flow­ers, Philadel­phia Daily News

I tried to pay at­ten­tion to what Judge Brett Kavanaugh was say­ing dur­ing the hear­ings this week. For any­one as ad­dicted to the Supreme Court as I am, a nom­i­na­tion hear­ing is more ex­cit­ing than the re­turn of Hal­ley’s Comet, and only slightly more com­mon. This was one of the ma­jor rea­sons that I was dis­ap­pointed by the Se­nate’s re­fusal to give Mer­rick Gar­land a fair hear­ing in 2016, along with the fact that it was petu­lant, mean-spir­ited, par­ti­san, and on the ra­zor-thin edge of un­con­sti­tu­tional.

But I’ve moved on, even if the Democrats haven’t. That be­came very clear the mo­ment the gavel came down on Tues­day morn­ing. Be­fore the nom­i­nee even had a chance to say, “My name is Brett, and I’m a ju­di­cial con­ser­va­tive,” a band of scream­ing ban­shees filled the air with their gut­tural, des­per­ate whelps. Oh, no, I thought, did an itin­er­ant group of Women’s March alums get lost on their way to Pat Toomey’s of­fice?

Alas, no, they were ex­actly where they’d been paid to be, th­ese pro­fes­sional mourn­ers of soon-to-be abol­ished re­pro­duc­tive rights. Know­ing that Kavanaugh is a fairly sure vote to over­turn Roe v. Wade if he gets on the court (I mean, yadda yadda, it’s prece­dent, yadda yadda, wink wink, yadda yadda, sorry Sen. Fe­in­stein), the women and the men who sup­port them had come to make life mis­er­able for the nom­i­nee, even though they knew he’d be con­firmed.

And the rea­son he’ll be con­firmed is be­cause Harry Reid de­cided to in­voke the nu­clear op­tion back in 2013, when he ruled the Se­nate, and Democrats were in the ma­jor­ity. An­gered by what he saw as GOP ob­struc­tion­ism in re­fus­ing to con­firm Pres­i­dent Obama’s lower court picks, Reid de­cided to go all Hiroshima on his col­leagues and elim­i­nate the 60-vote su­per-ma­jor­ity that was once nec­es­sary to con­firm fed­eral ju­di­cial nom­i­nees. Now, only a sim­ple ma­jor­ity of one vote is needed. And that use­ful fil­i­buster? It’s as dead as Kellyanne Con­way’s chance of be­ing hired as the new­est pan­elist on “The View,” or Sarah Huck­abee San­ders’ chance of getting any meal but take­out.

But the scream­ing ban­shees aren’t an­gry at Reid and his Demo­cratic brethren. They’re livid that a Repub­li­can pres­i­dent has once again found a way to put a con­ser­va­tive white Chris­tian male within arm’s length of the high­est court in the land. Say what you will about him, Trump has been in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive in re­shap­ing the bench. His first pick, Neil Gor­such, is in his 50s and has al­ready placed him­self next to Clarence Thomas as one of the two most con­ser­va­tive jus­tices. If Kavanaugh, who is also in his 50s, is con­firmed, he will be a for­mi­da­ble ad­di­tion to the “star­board” side of the ju­di­cial ship.

The pro­test­ers know this. They al­most make you feel sorry for them with their hand­painted signs, their de­fi­ant chants, their cute lit­tle “Hand­maid’s Tale” get-ups and their Chicken Lit­tle warn­ings. You want to tell them that it will be OK, that it’s pos­si­ble to sur­vive even when you feel as if your civil rights are be­ing vi­o­lated, and that ad­ver­sity makes you stronger. We in the pro-life move­ment have been getting stronger every day for the past 45 years. Now it’s time for the other side to en­joy that same sense of ex­hil­a­ra­tion as you fight against laws that vi­o­late your sense of hu­man­ity.

Be­cause even though I didn’t get to hear much of Brett Kavanaugh’s com­ments on Roe v. Wade, I heard enough to con­vince me that he’s not as im­pressed with that “su­per-prece­dent” as the late, great Arlen Specter. Kavanaugh made all the right rhetor­i­cal con­ces­sions, but it’s pretty clear that if the op­por­tu­nity presents it­self, he will vote to over­turn our gen­er­a­tion’s Dred Scott.

Prece­dent is only bind­ing on the peo­ple who don’t make it. And Kavanaugh is in­ter­view­ing for a job that will put him squarely in the po­si­tion of mak­ing it. The scream­ers know this.

There are rea­sons to wish that this nom­i­na­tion process was cleaner, fairer, not so rushed. And the spirit of Mer­rick Gar­land, iron­i­cally a good friend of Kavanaugh’s, hangs over the pro­ceed­ings. I can’t deny there’s a slightly bit­ter taste in my mouth.

But then I see the crazy peo­ple ex­er­cis­ing their First Amend­ment rights be­tween hits of Tho­razine, and all that mat­ters is the prospect of getting one vote closer to over­turn­ing Roe.

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