Rounding up post-Kavanaugh Thoughts

Thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for over a week.

Over the last week-plus I have been occupied by extended family and work issues and so have not written anything here in two weeks, which is a huge swath of political time these days.  Now that Kavanaugh has been sworn in, some thoughts to get out of my brain:

  1. Power Won.  This is not a surprise:  the number of needed votes was 50, and the Republicans had 51 for all practical purposes. Whatever else is said about this outcome, this is the bottomest of bottom lines:  the majority party was always likely to prevail if it came down to raw power.  This is also why the Garland nomination never saw the light of day.
  2. Minority Rule.  It should not be forgotten that a president who did not win the popular vote and 51 Senators who represent a minority of the population placed Kavanaugh on the bench.  Yes, I fully understand the way the rules work, but this fact cannot be ignored.  It is a fact that, whether understood viscerally or intellectually, helps fuel a lot of frustration with the outcome.  I predict longer-term erosion of confidence in our institutions, including SCOTUS, as a result. The institutional design of our system is showing strain–and this is likely to get worse, especially given the pivotal role of the Senate is just about everything the federal government does.
  3. Kavanaugh’s Campaign.  I think that Kavanaugh’s campaign for the office, first on Fox News and then in the pages of the WSJ was unbecoming and it contributes to the partisaning (to make up a word) of the Court.  His opening statement at the Senate hearing only deepens my position.  This is not good for the Court.
  4. His Testimony.  I remain where I was two weeks ago:  he should have been withdrawn or a thorough investigation should have been done.  I do not consider the investigation that happened to have been thorough.  Kavanaugh’s testimony only further convinced me of this. There is the aforementioned opening statement, but I found his testimony about his drinking and treatment of women to be problematic.  I think that he dissembled, if not lied, because he did not want to create the possibility that he could have been too drunk at the party in question to remember it.  I, personally, find it unbelievable that he never drank to the point that he had memory gaps. I also think that he lied about a number of items in his yearbook because he did not want to look bad and risk his nomination.  That, to me, was lying for personal gain, and was, therefore, disqualifying. He knew that the vote would be narrow and he could not afford to give Flake, Collins, etc. a reason to vote against.
  5. Party Politics.  I will say that I found the accusation the the Democrats were holding up the nomination (the FNC line that I saw a lot of last weekend) to be annoying.  The only reason there was a delay and an extended, albeit limited, background check was because a Republican (Jeff Flake) made it a predicate for his vote.  That is a member of the majority party making a demand because his vote was needed.  The Democrats had no power to do anything at that point.  My annoyance, mind you, is not about preferred outcomes, but about an incorrect description of what power dynamic was actually going on.
  6. The Investigation helped Kavanaugh.  The limited scope of the additional FBI background was not what I would consider a thorough process.  I think that it gave enough cover for Flake and Collins to say that no evidence had been found, and so they could vote with a clean conscience for Kavanaugh.
  7. Reasonable Doubt.  I think that the pro-Kavanaugh argument about reasonable doubt and due process was sufficient to solidify support for him.  Never mind that there was nothing like real due process in terms of the charges and that this was never a criminal trial with potential criminal penalties.  The worst case scenario for Kavanaugh was a return to his lifetime appointment to the second highest court in the land. The purpose of a reasonable doubt standard is to keep innocent people from going to jail, even it allows any number of guilty persons to walk.  This was not the context of this decision, not by a longshot.  I would further note that I totally agree that there was insufficient evidence to criminally charge, let alone convict, Kavanaugh of anything.  Further, I do not think there is anything that should lead to his removal from his previous job.  The issue at hand, and a topic that was not really discussed sufficiently, was the solemn privilege of being one of nine Supreme Court Justices.
  8. Fear the Accusations.  Another successful tactic here was to create fear of accusations, that all men are now at risk of false accusations derailing their lives.  I certainly understand the fear of being accused of a heinous act that one did not commit.  However, the question remains as to whether we in fact face a plague of false accusations or not.  The evidence seems to suggest not, even if we constantly remind ourselves of the Duke lacrosse team story.  I will say that if one watched FNC last weekend, one would have heard a lot of concern about the threats to white males.

Fundamentally, I think that Ford’s testimony, coupled with what I think of as a reasonable possibility that Kavanaugh was so drunk at the time that he doesn’t remember the event, renders the possibility that he perpetrated the event to be high enough that he should not be on the Supreme Court (a point that is now moot, I allow).  I still say, as I did a few weeks back, that Trump could have appointed someone else.  Beyond the allegations, for which I agree some level of doubt has to be present, I think that Kavanaugh’s testimony should have been disqualifying, but I am ultimately not surprised that he was confirmed.

FILED UNDER: Supreme Court, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Excellent, well-informed summary.

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  2. Modulo Myself says:

    Had he not flipped out and blamed the Clintons and started lying, he would not be on the Supreme Court. I don’t care about the excuses being made. Blaming the Clintons is like blaming the Jews–it’s crypto-fascist idiocy and it’s the proof of who he is which sold him to the party of Trump.

    And as a straight white man who has thought a great deal about women and sex, I would rank looking at like an idiot as my #1 fear and being falsely accused of sexual assault at #1000, right in front of meeting a duplicitous con artist who will frame me for murdering her husband. It’s nonsense. Anyone who buys into that is revealing who they are.

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  3. Slugger says:

    What do you think about future court rulings? I see potential for First Amendment cases in the future. Trump speaks openly of increasing the scope of libel laws to encompass criticism of the government; will this court encourage him to take such actions? Social media is something never dreamt of by the authors of the constitution; what shields and what responsibilities will a Kavanaugh court promote?

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  4. John430 says:

    There was NO evidence that proves even a tiny part of the accusations. Even the “witnesses” denied Ford’s account. Don’t turn the rule of evidence on it’s head just because you FEEL he might be guilty of SOMETHING. That way lies true Fascism.

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  5. @John430: I do not think an adequate investigation was done for such an unequivocal statement. Further, I never, ever said that the accusations alone were enough–but I do think that if there is as much disagreement over that issue, and others, the Senate and WH should have moved on to another candidate (who would have been as conservative, if not more so).

    I am not asserting guilt. Guilt implies a legal sanction.

    I also think he lied under oath to help himself get the job. That is disqualifying in my opinion.

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  6. Teve says:

    IDK if Dems will decide to pack the court with 2 more justices, which would be appropriate, but I definitely think they’ll make DC a state ASAP to help offset our warped Senate.

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  7. @Modulo Myself: His strategy worked, to be sure.

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  8. @Slugger: That would first require new laws to be passed, which I do not anticipate.

    One thing that the current majority really doesn’t seem all that interested in is legislating.

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  9. @Teve: I cannot see the votes for either of those things appearing–especially not PR.

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  10. Pardon, I meant DC.

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  11. steve says:

    This was just pure power politics. Of course he was confirmed. However, if we are going to do this correctly, he really ought to have to wear a red robe since he has made his partisanship clear like no other judge.

    Steve

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  12. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: ASAP sadly doesn’t necessarily mean soon. But I think McConnell’s shitty behavior will come back to bite him.

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  13. Teve says:

    In my dream scenario Dems retake the senate in either a month or 25, Beto/Klobuchar wins the white house in 2020, Clarence Thomas has a massive heart attack and keels over in the middle of a plate of ribs, and Dems nominate his replacement from a list of Hispanic vegan lesbians prepared by the ACLU.

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  14. James Joyner says:

    I concur with the analysis with two minor quibbles:

    3. I prefer “partisanization” to “partisaning.”

    5. To the extent “he Democrats were holding up the nomination” was a legitimate argument, it stemmed from the fact that Feinstein, and perhaps other Dems, knew of the Ford allegations for months and then they conveniently leaked just as the vote was scheduled to take place, delaying the process. If, in fact, Feinstein or Democratic staffers leaked the Ford allegations, then I think it’s fair. But we don’t really know at this point. And Feinstein was in a no-win situation, given that Ford adamantly wished to the matter to remain private and it would have been unconscionable for Feinstein to have violated that request.

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  15. Teve says:

    OT: I live in deep Trump Country. I’m going to set up a wifi network in a few days. It’ll be hard not to name it something like “Jade Helm Apache 3127” “UN Invasion Network SE COM” “Comet Ping Pong Benghazi Server” etc

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  16. Tyrell says:

    After the dust has settled, the talking is done, and the sky clears, what is the lesson?
    Is there a better way? Can the process be tweaked?
    One idea would require a 2/3 vote for confirmation. Think about it. Would that move things more to the center?
    How about this:
    the president draws up the candidate list. All are thoroughly investigated by the F.B.I. And an independent group made up of private investigators. There would be some sort of criteria or rubric that the candidates must be scored on concerning past behaviors; but none of this high school yearbook things or second grade report cards. The president narrows the list to six. A group of judges review the list. Then leaders from both parties meet in private (no tv cameras) and agree on three candidates. Both parties are bound to the choice. Then they vote. No long, drawn out Jerry Springer shows like we just witnessed.

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  17. Teve says:

    Sen. Jason Rapert
    14 hrs ·
    Today was a great day for the preservation of our nation and restoration of decency and good sense. I pray that soon Roe v. Wade will be overturned and the killing of millions of innocent babies will cease. I pray also that Obergefell v. Hodges will be overturned and the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman will be restored. These two issues must be dealt with to restore decency and morality to our nation.
    God bless Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. May he make wise and godly decisions for the rest of his life and service to our country.

    Over 1 million gay people in the US have gotten married. This human garbage bag wants them all forcibly divorced.

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  18. @James Joyner: I agree that the letter and Feinstein’s actions extended the process. But what I was referring to was the delay between last Friday and this weekend.

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  19. If the GOP had had the votes last week, the vote would not have been delayed. That investigation was to convince Flake and Collins–and that was all it was for.

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  20. Lynn says:

    @John430: ” Even the “witnesses” denied Ford’s account.”

    You are lying just as Kav did. The witnesses did not refute Ford’s account; they said they couldn’t remember. Exodus 20:16

    I know, I know — don’t feed the trolls.

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  21. grumpy realist says:

    Well, two steps forwards, one step back.

    I think Justice Kavenaugh might surprise us all. He has to know that he now has a big fat question mark hanging over his head and that anything that looks sleazy at all in the future would boomerang back on his reputation multiple times.

    We’ve had other judges elected because they’ve been assumed to be staunch “liberals” or “conservatives” who then, once seated, end up going definitely down their own paths. A lot of SCOTUS Justices end up voting differently under the eye of history. Justice Kavenaugh already knows he’s only one slip from turning into Judge Taney.

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  22. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That investigation was to convince Flake and Collins–and that was all it was for.

    No, it wasn’t to convince them, it was to give them political cover.

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  23. Eric Florack says:

    (snicker)

    For the last 40 years every GOP candidate has blowing through a certain amount of democrat crazy, the level of which has been going up steadily over those years.

    I have been saying for well over a year now that the Democrats and their reaction to trump have precisely zero to do with Trump himself, but rather a protest against the roadblock to Democrat politics.

    Similarly, this last month or so had nothing to do with Brett Kavanaugh, per se’ …Rather, it was about an originalist ascending to the highest court in the country thereby blocking Democrat political goals.

    on the basis of those two observations I submit that if you want to see something even crazier, wait until the next u.s. Supreme Court nomination comes along from this President, as it will within the next year.

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  24. Eric Florack says:

    @MBunge: well observed and complete agreement. It is truly sad to see what’s become of this place over the last 10 years or so.

    Smh

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  25. Eric Florack says:

    @steve:

    over the last six decades we have had a left-leaning court for all but a few years. Funny, during that. We never once heard anything about a supposedly partisan court. Now suddenly it’s the new keyword being used by the left.

    You know I can’t imagine why…

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  26. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Gloat while you can, trolls. Everyone has an appointment in Samarra, of one kind or another.

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  27. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I also think he lied under oath to help himself get the job. That is disqualifying in my opinion.

    Lying under oath at a Senate hearing is perjury, is it not?

    I would further note that I totally agree there was insufficient to criminally charge, let alone convict, Kavanaugh of anything.

    Perjury before Congress is a federal felony, is it not?

    There is no “under duress” excuse for committing perjury. There is no “but it’s okay if you are only trying to get a job” clause in the perjury statutes. Kavanaugh did not only lie about his yearbook, but about other pertinent matters before the committee. The fundamental value of the threat of perjury charges should one lie under oath is to control for the “he said, she said” dynamic.

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge:

    we get the same tired arguments endlessly repeated without any effort at all to actually engage with the other side.

    That just might be the most hilariously un-self-aware comment I’ve ever seen at OTB.

    When have you ever engaged with the people here who disagree with you? Your consistent approach for years here has been to write a stream of condescending verbiage lecturing us about what blind sheep we are–and then fleeing the thread the moment anyone bothers to respond to your arguments. The people here–particularly the hosts–have bent over backwards to engage with you, and you have never returned the favor.

    Indeed, you’re proving it here. Over the past few weeks, there have been many responses to the arguments you’re stating now, about how Ford’s allegations are unsubstantiated. You haven’t responded to any of these rebuttals–you’ve completely ignored them and simply re-asserted the point in question, putting it in all caps for good measure.

    That’s not the sign of someone interested in “engaging in the other side,” it’s the sign of someone dogmatic and closeminded, who thinks their own viewpoint is so obviously correct the only way to get it across is to scream it at those who refuse to believe. You’re so utterly convinced of the certitude of your opinions that you literally can’t fathom the possibility that any reasonable person could disagree–and so you conclude, with total unintended irony, that we are the ones who have our mind shut, who aren’t listening to the other side. Funny how that works?

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  29. Gustopher says:

    Fear the Accusations. Another successful tactic here was to create fear of accusations, that all men are now at risk of false accusations derailing their lives.

    I think this is a genuine problem — not the accusations but the fear of them — and that it has been needlessly created by the feminist crowd because of sloppy wording: “Unwanted advances” has become the line in the sand, and there basically isn’t a man alive who hasn’t made an advance that turned out to be unwanted or unwelcome.

    In a situation where the other party has a reasonable ability to say no, and where there is an indication that a yes is a possibility, an unwanted advance is just a mistake, not a huge crime against all of womankind.

    And, growing up, people have trouble navigating consent, and that needs to be recognized as part of learning — Cory Booker taking a second run at copping a feel after being rebuffed at age 15 is entirely different than Brett Kavanaugh holding a girl down and putting his hand over her mouth while trying to undress her. The language used doesn’t reflect that.

    If I could change society with the wave of my hand, I would use the phrase “unwarranted advances” or “inappropriate advances”. It better matches the intent, it doesn’t make all men guilty, and it opens up the conversation about what is and isn’t appropriate.

    I think a lot of men hear the sloppy language coming from the feminist crowd (and I would include myself in that feminist crowd), and hear something that they’ve inadvertently done, and think that they are being blamed — because that is literally the words coming out.

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  30. reid says:

    @Kylopod: For all of the reasons you’ve listed, I generally just skip his posts anymore. I can’t imagine why he even bothers at this point. We all know what’s coming.

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  31. Dave Schuler says:

    I agree with most of what you say above, Steven, but I would add that I think the whole thing was a bipartisan disgrace. Now I’m concerned that Justice Kavanaugh’s presence on the Court will remain an open sore that will fester for decades. That’s an injustice to everyone involved—Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford, and the American people.

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  32. Scott F. says:

    @MBunge:

    “More that a bit of a jerk” is immensely generous to yourself, but, hell, if you want to engage honestly, please share these specific reasons and rationales for not believing Dr. Ford that one can find with a quick Google search. I note that you chose not to list any of them in favor of a lot of ALL CAPS bloviating, so let’s see the reasoning.

    I’ll even give you a heads up on what it would take to convince me and if you think this bar is too high, then I’m open to being convinced. These specific reasons and rationales will need to address Dr. Ford’s incentives and motives. You’ll have to provide a specific reason that will explain what was in it for her to name Kavanaugh as her assailant to others well before he was nominated to SCOTUS. If she’s being truthful about the trauma and mistaken on the assailant, I’m going to need that data point for the theory to make any sense. I’d like to see the rationale for why she would subject herself to the public mockery she had to expect would come from Trump and his supporters, when she had NOTHING to gain from the public scrutiny. You’ll get bonus points for any reasoning that will explain why Mark Judge was never required to testify under oath in front of the Judiciary Committee.

    And to be fair, I will be prepared to offer compelling arguments on the incentives of Judge Kavanaugh, on why it was in his best interests to lie before the committee and on why it was in the interests of the WH and the GOP Senators to so histrionically support his nomination despite his lies.

    You see I can cite specific reasons and rationales for believing Dr. Ford over Judge Kavanaugh and I’m highly confident my arguments will be more coherent and persuasive than anything you’ll dig up on your Google search.

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  33. @MBunge: I have asked you to refrain from participating in my threads. Please do so.

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  34. @Kylopod: By “convince” I mean “convince them to vote in the affirmative, whatever that might mean, including simply providing cover.

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  35. DA says:

    You have to be both extremely stupid and extremely mean to buy the GOP BS. They refused to investigate and then claimed there’s no evidence? Only one side here was afraid of the truth, and that side won. It’s disheartening. It’s designed to be disheartening.

    The Republican party is all in on being pro-rape. “Grab ’em by the pussy” isn’t just something Trump said once, it’s now the Republican party platform. So far there’s been only electoral upside to their extreme and open misogyny. We can only hope November provides a check.

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  36. Scott F. says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    In light of all of Steven’s 8 clear points (especially the Power Won position), please justify the “bothsiderism” of the bipartisan culpability of the open sore now seated on the Supreme Court. Be sure to square your argument with the relatively easy confirmation of Neil Gorsuch when, considering the treatment of Merrick Garland, the Democrats had much more justification for a bare-knuckle nomination fight.

    The life-term stain on SCOTUS is on the GOP. Full stop.

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  37. @Dave Schuler: I am not going to say that the Dems covered themselves in glory. I do think the Reps deserve more of the blame insofar as they have the power to control the process (e.g., the timing, who testified, scope of the additional investigation, and even replacing the nominee.).

    Also, at the end of the day they can’t say (as they did) that they think Ford credible and yet have things play out as they did.

    Yes, the Dems used the Ford allegations to their political benefit, such as it was. This was the majority’s show, however.

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  38. @TM01: if you are tired of the argument, I would recommend avoiding my posts on the subject. By the same token, you could offer a counter argument. Have at.

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  39. Dave Schuler says:

    @Scott F.:

    Dr. Ford’s accusations could have and should have been handled quietly and a much more complete investigation done on a timely basis. Instead she apparently sent her representative a letter who then sent it to Sen. Feinstein and it was then leaked to the press by parties unknown. IMO that’s on the Democrats. Blaming it on Flake is special pleading. The Democrats took a calculated risk.

    I don’t disagree that Republicans have major culpability but two wrongs still do not make a right.

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  40. Dave Schuler says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I agree completely.

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  41. John430 says:

    @Lynn: Oh, you want the “I say tomatoh and you say tomato” thingy. No evidence, no matter how you slice it. Her BEST friend says, Wha?”
    Dr. Ford could only say who and could not recall the what, when, where, and why part. Gimme a break, you guys just wanna collect a Republican scalp.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @TM01:

    I am so sick of the “argument” that he’s unfit because he actually showed anger towards the partisan ass holes LITERALLY calling him a gang rapist.

    One can be angry without lying — as Kavanaugh did repeatedly — or without suggesting that this was the work of the Clintons.

    One can also be angry without whining or crying.

    He faced a test of character, and he failed. He was confirmed anyway because Republicans in the Senate don’t care about character.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    Kavanaugh’s Campaign. I think that Kavanaugh’s campaign for the office, first on Fox News and then in the pages of the WSJ was unbecoming and it contributes to the partisaning (to make up a word) of the Court. His opening statement at the Senate hearing only deepens my position. This is not good for the Court.

    The worst part of this is that he went on Fox, rather than a more skeptical and less partisan network.

    There are countless stories about the man, so I am not going to begrudge him stepping out and trying to tell his side of things — even if that is unprecedented. The fact that he chose to take his campaign to only one half of America is a problem.

    He’s not supposed to be a Supreme Court Justice for Republicans, he is supposed to be a Supreme Court Justice for all Americans. If he cannot even pretend before he’s on the court, I have no faith in him once he is on the court.

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  44. Scott F. says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    I’m going to ask that you show your work on this reply:

    Dr. Ford’s accusations could have and should have been handled quietly and a much more complete investigation done on a timely basis.

    As James Joyner notes, based on all available evidence (despite the shrill claims of the Republicans), Feinstein held onto Dr. Ford’s accusations at her constituent’s behest and to do otherwise would have been highly disrespectful. And what would “handled quietly” look like for a Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearing? Is it the same “handled quietly” as the scrunity given the $200,000 in credit card debt suddenly resolved or the evidence from Sen. Leahy that Kavanaugh had misled the Senate during his 2003 federal hearings for Circuit Court confirmation? Quietly is ignored in the age of Trump.

    Also, the leak of the accusation was only late in the process based on an arbitrary timeline set by the GOP. (Scalia’s seat was open for over a year, you’ll remember), while a “much more complete investigation” was always in the hands of the GOP. (See Power Won argument.)

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    I am so sick of the “argument” that he’s unfit because he actually showed anger towards the partisan ass holes LITERALLY calling him a gang rapist.

    He’s unfit because he so obviously lied…

    THAT’S how much you have destroyed the institutions of the Senate and the Supreme Court. Any “destruction” or taint is all on you people.

    Merrick Garland, sweetie, Merrick Garland…arsonists do not get to torch the place and then claim everyone else is setting fires…nice try, though…

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  46. Gustopher says:

    Minority Rule. It should not be forgotten that a president who did not win the popular vote and 51 Senators who represent a minority of the population placed Kavanaugh on the bench. Yes, I fully understand the way the rules work, but this fact cannot be ignored.

    I think this cannot be understated. When the government does not reflect the will of the people, the government is illegitimate.

    In 2000, most people on the left shrugged — the election was more or less a tie, and each side tried to game the system to their advantage. George W. Bush had better lawyers who were better at playing the game. It was an anomaly, and America is a strong country and people wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. There was growing discontent throughout his administration, but that was more because of his administration than because of the election.

    This is the second time we have had the popular vote loser get the presidency in 20 years, and we have the modern Republican Party’s “power is meant to be used for partisan gain” philosophy at the same time. This is a minority forcing its will on the majority, and that’s not sustainable long term.

    Our system of government doesn’t lean towards consensus, it leans towards a decisive edge. We need leaders who are bigger people, and who build consensus for a minority government to have any legitimacy. We don’t see this from the modern Republican Party.

    I don’t see how this works going forward without tearing apart the country.

    Maybe we will have Blue State Compacts rather than relying on a hostile federal government — for instance, we might create portable, universal health insurance for citizens of blue states, with a three year blue state residency requirement, and screw Oklahoma. I could see the Northeast building out a health insurance partnership, or the west coast.

    Or, more negatively, a Blue State Emergency Management Agency, which handles emergency response among the states that pay in, and then always vote against funding for FEMA.

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  47. Gustopher says:

    @Scott F.:

    As James Joyner notes, based on all available evidence (despite the shrill claims of the Republicans), Feinstein held onto Dr. Ford’s accusations at her constituent’s behest and to do otherwise would have been highly disrespectful.

    I do think Feinstein was in a bind, but not pursuing the allegations when she was aware of them was highly disrespectful to the country as a whole. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, etc.

    The “how” is tricky.

    A more open FBI investigation, started earlier, with proper oversight, would have been appropriate, and could have been done quietly — with the threat of exposure if it is not done. Blackmail, basically. We can either handle this well, and behind closed doors, or in public.

    This does not let the Republicans off the hook for their behavior, however. They should have taken the accusations seriously when they were made aware of them, whenever that happens — their first duty should be to country rather than party.

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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    8. Fear the Accusations.

    Funny thing about that. How is it that I, a white male who grew up in a time that was by all measures even more drug fueled and misogynistic, and who was certainly not as pure and innocent as the driven snow (and one would never find me in a Norman Rockwell painting) and who has had his fair share of sexual adventures over the years, how is it that I am not afraid of being accused of such behavior?

    Pretty simple: Because I never did engage in such behavior. That when a woman said “No.” I took it she meant “No.”, no matter how far down the path we had traveled. That she had a right to change her mind.

    Also because I had a mother and 3 sisters who taught me women were not play things to be used and tossed into the trash when I was done, and if I ever had they would have flayed me.

    Also, don’t bother looking for my HS year book. I never bought one, never signed one, and after my sophomore year I never sat for another picture. HS sucked, it was an endurance trial, a thing to be survived and left behind for good once I had my diploma.

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  49. Kari Q says:

    @Gustopher:

    In 2000, most people on the left shrugged

    Mostly because of 9/11. It did a great deal to retroactively legitimize the outcome. Without that, Bush would have lost in 2004, easily.

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  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I live in a county in Washington State that went 69% for Trump (with 79% of eligible voters registered and 84% voting, BTW) and one of my neighbors has a wifi connection named “Isis Mainframe.” Go for it!

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  51. @Gustopher:

    The worst part of this is that he went on Fox, rather than a more skeptical and less partisan network.

    I concur. If he had picked, say, “60 Minutes,” it would have played differently. If the goal was really to lay it down in front of the America people rather than to shore up the base, I would view it differently (although I still wouldn’t have liked it).

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  52. @TM01: you are missing his point. Your allegations are about norms. It is hard to take anyone seriously complaining about Senate norms (as McConnell did on Friday and as you doing now) if they supported the way Garland was treated.

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  53. An Interested Party says:

    What a POS you are.

    *SMILE* Your tears taste sweet, dummy…Steven rightfully understood what I meant…you? Not so much…

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  54. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If he had picked, say, “60 Minutes,” it would have played differently.

    Then he would have to deal with tough questions, it would not work.

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  55. @Andre Kenji de Sousa: Which underscores what he did and why he did it.

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  56. reid says:

    @TM01: Oh, Garland just didn’t get a vote. No big deal, nothing wrong with that. *rolls eyes*

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  57. reid says:

    @TM01: Pssst, no one here actually did that. Does your outrage ever diminish?

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  58. @TM01: You know what, you don’t have to come around. Indeed, consider yourself invited not to.

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  59. reid says:

    @reid: Relating to this eternal outrage…. My google news feed features articles from all over the place. I can almost always tell from an odd headline that it’s from either Fox News or the Washington Times. Here’s a current example: “Reporter fired for wearing MAGA hat while covering Trump rally”. Outrage! There’s always some isolated, strange incident to prove how awful the liberals/media are. I used to respect Jonathan Turley, but his blog is notorious for this sort of nonsense and Clinton rants. The folks in the right-wing bubble are apparently fed a non-stop diet of this.

    Anyway, pardon for changing the subject a bit. Just more reasons I weep for our future.

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  60. @reid: I saw a lot of FNC recently. It was outrage reinforced by white anxiety.

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  61. steve says:

    “Stop pretending those are even close to the same thing.”

    What happened with Garland is much worse. Notice that Kav is now a SCOTUS Justice.

    Steve

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  62. reid says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Were you being punished for something? Glad to see you made it back with a sound mind.

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  63. charon says:

    @reid:

    . Here is the headline used at the Washington Post:

    A TV reporter wore a MAGA hat to a Trump rally. He was fired the next day.

    . https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2018/10/06/tv-reporter-wore-maga-hat-trump-rally-he-was-fired-next-day/

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  64. Eric Florack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: the norm is if you want to choose Supreme Court nominees, you have to win elections

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  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: So he wasn’t actually fired for wearing a MAWA MAGA cap, he was fired for being in violation of station policy against wearing apparel that shows partisan leanings while on the job? If he doesn’t want to follow the rules, he should find a job with different rules, right?

    Isn’t that how right to work in a free market economy works?

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  66. Barry says:

    @grumpy realist: “Justice Kavenaugh already knows he’s only one slip from turning into Judge Taney.”

    We think that that is a Bad Thing; right-wing judges don’t.

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  67. Barry says:

    @Eric Florack: “over the last six decades we have had a left-leaning court for all but a few years. ”

    For the past several decades we’ve had a GOP-majority court. You’re calling them ‘left-leaning’ because they won’t give you what you want.

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  68. Barry says:

    @Gustopher: ““Unwanted advances” has become the line in the sand, and there basically isn’t a man alive who hasn’t made an advance that turned out to be unwanted or unwelcome.”

    Lie.

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  69. Eric Florack says:

    https://youtu.be/8vMOfQwywMg

    Do you understand, yet?

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  70. Eric Florack says:

    @Barry: nope.
    We have not.

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  71. Guarneri says:

    #4 is based upon shear speculation on your part. That’s your right, but it doesn’t elevate your point beyond that.

    #5 is disingenuous. The entire Dem strategy included delay as a key feature.

    #7 is a red herring. The issue isn’t whether my brother or your brother could be accused. The issue is whether wholly unsupported accusations will be allowed to derail political nominations. If so, our nomination processes will devolve into exactly what we saw. I wouldn’t want my name associated with such a stance. Dr Ford had existing and longstanding processes to air her grievances. It is instructive that she chose not to.

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  72. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack: Pure hoax. I only had to do a quick search on Google to unravel it. Here’s the full context of Pelosi’s remark:

    Republicans are afraid of that contrast in a race, because they’re going to go there to be involved in trickle-down economics, shutting down hospitals and the rest of it. So they don’t want them to see that contrast, so they focus on something else. And it’s a diversionary tactic, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You demonize — we call it the wrap-up smear. You want to talk about politics. It’s a wrap-up smear. You smear somebody with falsehoods and then you merchandise it and then you write it and say, see, it’s reported in the press that this, this and this so they have that validation that the press reported the smear and then it’s called a wrap-up smear. Now I am going to merchandise the press’ report on the smear that we made. It’s a tactic.

    The video you link to completely ignores the first section of that quote and starts with the sentence “You demonize — we call it the wrap-up smear,” and then absurdly interprets the comment not as Pelosi’s description of Republicans (as the full context makes absolutely clear), but as a proud admission of her own tactics.

    https://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3469829-fake-news-pelosi-and-the-wrap-up-smear-tactic.html

    What’s striking is that whoever first sent this story around knew they were lying. There was nothing ambiguous about what Pelosi said in full that could lead to a sincere misunderstanding; no, this was from someone who consciously and deliberately omitted the relevant section in order to deceive people, and judging from the amount of right-wing sites that have picked up the “story,” it worked. It provides a powerful glimpse of the way right-wingers see the world, that they would actually think it plausible Pelosi would openly and proudly boast about lying on the floor of Congress.

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  73. @Guarneri:

    I presented #4 as my opinion. You are free to disagree

    #5: I am speaking there of the delay for the addition week for an investigation. Empirically, that happened because of Flake.

    Would the Democrats have liked more delays? Sure. But they had no power to delay anything.

    #7: If you don’t like that characterization, let Trump and and many others in his orbit know, because they are the ones sharing it.

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  74. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @TM01: You thought it was cute when McConnell and Klan disrespected the duly elected Black President’s nominee. You’ll rue the day he ever crossed that Rubicon.

    Now go clean yourself off and come back to get your a$$ knocked out on 6 Nov.

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  75. @Eric Florack:

    the norm is if you want to choose Supreme Court nominees, you have to win elections

    The norm had been that if a vacancy occurs, the Senate holds hearings and a vote.

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  76. Bruce Henry says:

    And now that @Kylopod has pointed out to Florack how he has either been deceived or is himself knowingly spreading falsehood, will Florack acknowledge it? Fat fcking chance.

    This is what wingnuts do. All the while claiming victimhood and the mantle of “normalcy.” Amoral, if not positively immoral.

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  77. charon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, I was responding to Reid’s use of that story as an example of Fox News firing up its troops, just pointing out the story had a similar headline to Fox at the Washington Post.

    Not that I am a Fox sympathizer, but Reid used a bad example to make his case.

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  78. charon says:

    @charon:

    Here is the original claim from Reid:

    ” …I can almost always tell from an odd headline that it’s from either Fox News or the Washington Times. Here’s a current example: “Reporter fired for wearing MAGA hat while covering Trump rally”. Outrage! … “

    Perhaps a bit of confirmation bias there.

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  79. al Ameda says:

    @TM01:

    Garland didn’t get a vote. The Senate didn’t consent to him being on the Supreme Court.
    No one accused him of being a gang rapist.
    Stop pretending those are even close to the same thing.

    Help me out here; Has anyone ever found anything in Merrick Garland’s background that is remotely similar to the ‘black out drinking and frat boy’ culture that Kavanaugh was immersed in from high school through college?

    Thanks.

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  80. @al Ameda: And as also needs to be pointed out in placing Kavanaugh in historical context: there was none of this for Gorsuch. The idea that Kavanaugh represents the New Democratic Approach to SCOTUS has to explain why Gorsuch was confirmed in relatively normal terms.

    And yes, there was Democratic opposition to Gorsuch, and lots of rhetoric (this is normal), but there were no charges. If people think that all this stuff against Kavanaugh is a made up smear campaign, why didn’t the opposition not use the same tactics on Gorsuch? (who, after all, was getting the seat that Garland was appointed to fill).

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  81. Gustopher says:

    @Barry: Lie?

    Have you never, in all your years of living, made an unwanted advance? Have you never, even once, been rejected asking a man or woman out, or had them gently move your hand to a less intimate location when you were moving a little faster than they were?

    Taking the language that is used literally, unless the object of your affections is sadistically enjoying rejecting you, it is an “unwanted advance.” And basically every man has done this.

    It’s not what it meant by the term, but it’s the literal definition — and that makes it very easy for terrible people to bend that definition, to deliberately muddy the waters and create fear and uncertainty, and then round actual offenses down. And that’s one of the things the right wing patriarchy has done well.

    It’s sloppy language that gets used all the time.

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  82. reid says:

    @charon: Perhaps. The Post headline wasn’t in my news feed. Maybe Google is trying to bias me? In any case, I still believe there’s merit to my claim.

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  83. reid says:

    @reid: Here’s another example: both Fox and Turley have articles about a Colbert show writer who tweeted that he’s just glad that they ruined Kavanaugh’s life. Damn those Hollywood liberals!! (I haven’t checked ig the Post also wrote about this.)

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  84. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @TM01:

    Garland didn’t get a vote. The Senate didn’t consent to him being on the Supreme Court.

    Then the Senate should have rejected him. Chuck Schumer famously wrote a list of Republicans that he would thought could be approved as a consensus in the Senate, I’m sure that McConnell could find Republicans that could be palatable to Obama.

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  85. charon says:

    @reid:

    I am not disputing your main point, just saying you chose a poor example.

    As for the specific headlines whether at Fox or Washpo, they would be read differently by different people reflecting their preconceptions. Some people would see the reporter’s error as partisan clothing, others as Trump support clothing, depending how they think the media actually behaves.

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  86. reid says:

    @charon: Understood.

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  87. Jake says:

    Excellent video.

    “Concha & Hemingway Discuss ‘Media Smears’ of ‘Guilty Until Innocent’ Kavanaugh”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrUKx_EJuV8

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  88. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Justice Kavenaugh already knows he’s only one slip from turning into Judge Taney.

    Kavanaugh spent a lot more time as a GOP apparatchik than as a judge. The odds of him pulling an Earl Warren range from slim to none. Right off the top, look at Kavanaugh’s background as a twit of privilege, Federalist Society brainwashed law student, and GOP apparatchik compared to Warren’s background.

    That, and given Kavanaugh’s background, he probably sees Taney as a role model. Also, I don’t know how the Federalist Society, the Kochs, etc. arrange handlers for Justices, but it smells like they’re a lot better at it now.

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  89. Tyrell says:

    @gVOR08: How about Justice Harlan?

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  90. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    The odds of him pulling an Earl Warren range from slim to none.

    Even Earl Warren didn’t exactly “pull an Earl Warren.” He was from the beginning part of the moderate/liberal wing of the GOP–a faction that pretty much doesn’t exist today. When he ran for governor of California, he appeared on both the Republican and Democratic tickets, and he went on to govern as an unapologetic progressive. That was years BEFORE he reached the Court.

    I’m aware of the apocryphal Eisenhower quote about how appointing Warren was the worst mistake he’d made, but the fact is it was not a case of a conservative moving dramatically to the left once he got on the Court. It was a case of a moderate Republican president appointing a moderate Republican justice, who ended up being maybe a bit more activist than expected.

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  91. An Interested Party says:

    I didn’t realize what an ass-kisser Kavanaugh is…

    Kavanaugh fought hard for his attention. Snubbed from candidate Trump’s short list of Supreme Court candidates, he broke with security protocols and added a picture to his official biography, delivered speeches, chatted up his Washington friends, and ultimately got the primetime unveiling of a lifetime in the East Room of the White House. Before an audience of millions, the judge kissed the ring: He sucked up to Trump with the outlandish claim that the president has an abiding respect for the courts, and offered up a fabricated line about Trump being the most well-versed appointer-in-chief the republic has ever seen: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

    That kind of sycophancy, which everyone in Trump’s sphere must deploy faithfully to remain in his good graces, bled right into Kavanaugh’s performance at his first confirmation hearing. Try as they did, Democratic senators couldn’t get him to say anything untoward about his benefactor. He wouldn’t defend Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge on the receiving end of Trump’s racist invectives and doubts about his impartiality. Asked about the events in Charlottesville, and Trump’s both-sidesism in the controversy, he dodged the question as political — denouncing white supremacy was apparently a bridge too far for Kavanaugh.

    There will be some real judicial independence coming from him…

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  92. Barry says:

    @Gustopher: “Have you never, even once, been rejected asking a man or woman out, or had them gently move your hand to a less intimate location when you were moving a little faster than they were?”

    Which has nothing to do with the accusations.

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  93. Gustopher says:

    @Barry: Reading comprehension dude.

    The Republicans were able to claim that any man can face accusations of sexual misconduct in large part because the line is “unwanted advances”. They aren’t acting in good faith when they deliberately misinterpret the meaning behind the words and instead use the literal meaning of the words, but it resonates with a lot of people who think they are acting in good faith.

    And then they use that confusion to downplay Kavanaugh committing sexual assault to a mere trifle of boys being boys, and comparing him to Cory Booker.

    We, the good people, shouldn’t be making it easy for them with sloppy language.

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  94. Jake says:

    Interesting article from a Liberal regarding Kavanaugh.

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/aftermath-as-prologue/

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  95. An Interested Party says:

    An even more interesting article from a conservative regarding Kavanaugh…

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