Why Brett Kavanaugh Should Not Be Confirmed

I am inclined to believe Christine Blasey Ford’s account and I have serious doubts about Brett Kavanaugh’s denial of what took place between them in 1982. The two accounts are in stark opposition to one another, but, for me, there is enough additional context in the two other accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, in the testimony of friends of his about his behavior as a young man, and in his Yearbook page to make his flat denials simply not credible.

Would I vote to convict him in a criminal case? No, but this matter has not been adjudicated in a way that remotely resembles a criminal case. This is not a criminal case, where the burden of proof rests with the prosecution and the accused has a presumption of innocence. In this matter, a nomination to the Supreme Court, there is no presumption to believe an accused person.  In this kind of consideration, serious doubts about character should count against a nominee.

Nevertheless, these accusations of sexual misconduct are not the reasons I believe any United States Senator should vote AGAINST confirming this nomination. These are the reasons.

First, this President should not be appointing anyone to the Supreme Court. He has shown such unremitting contempt for the rule of law and for the institutions of justice in the United States that no one he appoints should be considered.

This is the most important reason, and it only gains greater weight in the wake of the refusal of the Senate to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Here was a duly elected President, one who won a majority of votes and had no stain on the legitimacy of his election making the nomination. Trump not only lost the popular vote and has shown contempt for the rule of law but a Special Prosecutor is working through the question of whether he conspired with a foreign power to steal the election.

Second, Kavanaugh has shown a legal propensity to undermine the accountability of the President and the Executive Branch. These views are in conflict with a proper reading of the Constitution.

Third, we should not appoint to the Supreme Court people who have been deeply involved in partisan politics. Such nominees should be rejected out of hand. Kavanaugh had reasons I do not fault for being involved in the Bush-Gore election matter and in the Starr impeachment investigation, but I believe these should rule him out of consideration for a Supreme Court nomination.

Finally, even if we credit Kavanaugh with reasons to be angry about the accusations of sexual impropriety against him, his opening statement yesterday showed a disqualifying degree of partisanship. Even in the face of provocation, a judge needs to be impartial and measured.

About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
This entry was posted in Governance, Leadership, Politics and Policy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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