Post#: 261-18 – Words: 1314 – Audio: N/A
Shades of Anita Hill!
Back during the Clarence Thomas hearings I was particularly struck by a senator… the guy holding the chairmanship of the committee at the time, Joe Biden. I have oft told those around me.. wife, kids, anyone who might listen.. that when there’s some crisis/important House or Senate committee session going on that’s making the news.. always pay attention to the members who you don’t know; who happen to not generally get much press attention. Chances are one or more of them may end up being important in their own right.. maybe running in a larger election or maybe an appointment to a cabinet seat sometime in the future. Listen between the lines on what they say.
Anyway, back when Biden first attracted me I was struck by his level of candor and more or less saying-what-it-is without mincing a lot of words. I found it a bit refreshing from an elected official, but that doesn’t mean I might find someone with those qualities a good president. So I kept old Joe in the back of my mind and watched him move along in his career thru the Obama administration. Frankly I was very shocked that he was able to “keep cool” during his tenure as Veep.. and there was little if any outspoken “Biden” as one might have expected. Now he’s pondering running for president and I find myself encouraged yet also a bit dismayed; encouraged enough that he has the tenacity to whip Trump’s ass if Trump is still around in 2020, yet dismayed because of the age thing. It will be one of those election situations where his being president would make me feel much better if the VP he selects would also make a good president.
Damn.. I digress… this post is not about Joe Biden.. even remotely.
This generation’s “Anita Hill”, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleges, Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a teenage party, himself in a drunken stupor, while a senior in high school. Oh, boy.. where to start. I suppose it’s easier to present in bullet points…
- It’s little wonder people are generally not jumping over themselves for elected office.. especially now when public vetting will extend into your individual high school past. Where/when does this nonsense end? How many drunken parties, pot parties, drug parties did you attend while in high school? How many illegal pranks did you and your friends pull that you never got caught doing? Remember that time you got your first car, loaded it up with your friends.. and went speeding over the limit to show off? Remember that time you were at the mall and you lifted some lipstick? Remember that chick you tried to kiss in study hall and she slapped you? Ford didn’t report her assault then, Kav never had his day in court… and now because #MeToo is such an issue (which obviously has no moral statute of limitations) she brings it up? I don’t deny it may have occurred. I don’t deny she had a lifetime of trauma (although she was ok enough to have a successful career). More on this in another post.
- Kavanaugh had some lousy PR handlers in this at the outset. If I were in his shoes.. the first thing I would do… in spite of the fact I may, in my own mind, have absolutely NO recollection of her alleged event, I would have acknowledged that while I indeed have no knowledge of having such an encounter… come forward with your identity and let’s discuss, and see what the situation is. Kavanaugh flat out said from the start… no.. not me.. never me. That immediately places him in a situation of maybe to have to be found out as lying. At best, or worst, acknowledging that the event could have very possibly happened later after you might recognize her name or a buddy you trust was there with you… being tanked up drunk as a teenager and not remembering the event is normal. Acknowledging it might possibly have happened, and showing some level of concern for the victim, gets you points. Hell, if it were me I’d be concerned enough to want to meet with her.. and her husband.. to try and understand what she went through and to show some sincere empathy and compassion. More on this part later as well.
- All this doesn’t matter because Kavanaugh, like Thomas (who was well into his adult years at the time of his alleged transgressions), will be selected anyway. Again it’s that old story that’s popular these days, do we measure a man only by his accomplishments… or not? Does Kavanaugh get disqualified for allegedly assaulting a teenage girl (per her accusation) during a drunken stupor when he was a senior in high school…. in spite of having a life-long upstanding career that has brought him to this point? Get real. (No.. I am NOT insensitive to female assault victims… if it’s true. Again, another post.)
I’ve mumbled before that this whole process being used for decades on advise & consent in selecting a new justice.. it pretty much sucks and achieves nothing, other than quasi-TV entertainment (and checking out potential future Senate power brokers). We want our judges to be impartial, as long as that impartiality is biased toward what we want. Again.. for decades the entire argument in favor one potential replacement over another has been solely on some feeling about Roe Vs. Wade… and LGBTQ (with a side of 2nd Amendment). Everything else is just ignored, or in the least just of peripheral interest. And for me, the crazy thing is that the Roe V. Wade and Gay rights debate is on religious/moral convictions… nothing from within the Constitution itself. No matter what Justices occupy the bench, any judgment on each of these subjects can be a cry of SCOTUS making legislative decisions and not sticking with the Constitution.
Conservative or Liberal Slant?
It shouldn’t care, but it does.. and that’s the politics of it all. Those who keep score will whip out the stats that one court era made more conservative rulings and another era made more liberal decisions. I suppose there could be some relevance to all that, but I tend to believe judges are human. It could very well have been that a conservative decision or a liberal decision did in fact, get rendered according to the “correct” or “proper” Constitutional interpretation. We have grown accustomed to there being two possible solutions to legal interpretation, representing each political ideology.. when in reality there might be just one… the other being flat out wrong, or, more than two.
It’s my feeling that there’s a sobering up moment when a justice gets appointed. It’s NOT all about “Whooppeee! I get to make my own decisions according to my personal beliefs! I’m going to change America!” When they first walk into those chambers it’s only human to feel awed with a responsibility of an entire nation looking at you. This is way past political party. Every time you render a decision, or a dissension, you will need the wisdom of the ages to present your thoughts, based on logical and legal precedent… and showing your work. This isn’t all about religion, ideology, personal preference, hidden agendas. You are one of nine who is being called upon to decide how our Constitution continues to be relevant. No.. I believe the “average” newly appointed Justice is only human.
All that being said… once the committee vets the nominee of the President, evaluates the numbers of decisions that might have gone challenged by the higher courts, the types of decisions, the overall performance record in their entire career, anything else pertaining to the direct application of legal precedent… wrap it all up inside of an hour. By the time they get nominated they are all the same anyway.
Yep. I’m dreaming.
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