Saturday, April 20, 2024

Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, on his nomination to be U. S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP/REX/Shutterstock via Flickr)

Republican insistence on seeing Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court got stranger and more confusing the longer the effort went on, since there were so many other nominees (including a woman) who could be confirmed without a cloud of attempted rape allegations and drunkenness stinking up the place for decades to come. But the Republicans dug in and got Kavanaugh confirmed.

He should have been disqualified because he was lying, and using some pretty lame trickery to do it – below the level of deceit you expect or want to see on the part of a Supreme Court justice, which suggests Kavanaugh just isn’t smart enough to wear the same robes as a Thurgood Marshall or Earl Warren. The truly disqualifying moment, and this should have been true of Republican senators as well as Democratic, was when Kavanaugh heard that potential witnesses didn’t remember an incident and repeated it back as they “said it didn’t happen.”

Can you really trust a lawyer, let alone a judge, who doesn’t understand or purposefully ignores that distinction?

No. Which is why an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey released Friday shows just 25 percent of respondents think Kavanaugh was completely honest; three-quarters of the country think the Senate confirmed a liar to the bench. And of course, plenty of those people are pretty sure he’s an attempted rapist who’s never apologized or come to terms with his behavior in high school or college.

And so only about 33 percent has confidence in the Supreme Court, according to the survey, and that’s way below approval of how the court handles its job in numbers Gallup has collected since the mid-2000. Historically the figures range from a high of 62 percent approval to a low of 42 percent (a figure last seen in July 2016), but never see dips anywhere close to this level of disapproval or doubt. (Approval percentages plunged to being regularly in the 40s from being regularly in the 60s and 50s in 2010, the year the court decided the Citizens United case 5-4, letting corporations spend freely on political campaigns.) 

So Republican insistence on seeing Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court isn’t strange or confusing.

They get passage of a conservative agenda, including a continued rollback of abortion rights, and the doubt is gravy for Republicans, who possess conveniently shifting ideas about “rule of law” but ultimately want to undermine trust in government; appointing a liar and a bad lawyer to a lifetime on the nation’s ultimate court of appeal is not so far removed from standard operating procedure of giving leadership of government agencies to people who aren’t familiar with those agencies’ missions or are actively hostile to them.

The rest of us who want government to work should be not just dubious and dismayed, but angry – making a system dysfunctional intentionally is also known as sabotage. Not to sound hysterical, but isn’t sabotaging an entire system of government tantamount to treason?