Senate Hearings For Trump’s Latest Supreme Court Nominee Start At 9:30 EDT Today
And so far, stories about how Brett Kavanaugh’s an amazingly devoted father, a tireless coach, a fantastic boss, a fighter for the “little guy” (according to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, of the Judiciary Committee,) and a legal mind of such repute that–for God’s sake–one of the most liberal Justices, Elana Kagan invited to lecture at Harvard when she was dean of the law school there, seem to be winning the publicity battle and pacifying even portions of the public who might otherwise be vigorously opposing him. Because how could such a really great guy really be itching to unleash such a wicked brew that would wreck women’s rights and gut any control over money in politics? And that’s just for starters. And for decades…
But that’s wrong. Because based on stuff he’s already written and said, there are strong hints Kavanaugh is going to be that evil and that destructive. (And there’s even more we’re not going to know about because the White House is refusing to release documents related to his time working their for President George W. Bush).
You can basically forget about Kavanaugh treading into dangerous waters during his Senate testimony. There aren’t likely going to be any–as Trump likes to say–“Perry Mason moments”. Judicial nominees find they can now very effectively hide behind the argument that they don’t want to present any kind of opinion on an issue or a case they might one day have to rule on. Which means they don’t really have to talk about much of anything substantive.
We’ll even admit that from time to time recently we’ve found ourselves saying things like “well, Kavanaugh’s evil alright, and is going to destroy a lot of what we believe in, but let’s also face the fact that Republicans now control both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, so we can’t expect to be able to will everything we don’t want to happen into not happening.” While right now there is an air of inevitability about Kavanaugh’s nomination, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Because we can all remember a time fairly recently when we collectively turned the tables: with the repeated Republican plans to kill Obamacare, which all failed because people really got out and got the message out. That seemed like a lost cause too, at the beginning. When the momentum started, it caught everyone by surprise: from phone calls to town halls.
But that isn’t happening with Kavanaugh. At least not yet and time is running out. We think some of it has to do with the fact that Obamacare was a very specific thing where people immediately understood how it was going to effect them. Kavanaugh at this point is really just kind of an abstract concept. A bundle of ideas, not a single, specific, destructive one.
Partly because of that, there’s a lot more confusion among our Democratic friends and acquaintances about what to do, and what can be done. We can’t tell you how many people have angrily asked us “Why doesn’t Schumer just do what McConnell did and block the hearing?”
But the situation, unfortunately, is completely different. When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, Republicans controlled the Senate, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could block it. They still do. Meaning Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democrats cannot. It’s not a question of will. Democrats just don’t have the votes. As much as we’ve criticized Schumer of late, we do believe if he had the votes to block or delay these hearings, he would.
Still others twist this into a condemnation of “old-guard” liberals: “Democrats are either amoral or pathologically averse to taking any sort of stand“. And that worries us even more. Because the most important thing ultimately is to vote. For whomever is standing in opposition. Even if you don’t agree with them 100%. Even if there is someone you think is better or more deserving or more progressive or less progressive who was sidelined in a primary.
And in the meantime, push at the unmovable and maybe you’ll create some momentum. Then push harder. Maybe even a million people marching in Washington or 10-million phone calls won’t keep Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court. That doesn’t mean don’t do it.