Brett Kavanaugh: The Election of Mediocrity

Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

Payton Williams
Voices Editor

As the seasons change, so too does Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s woefully undeserved title.

The former United States Circuit Judge and White House legal staffer for the Bush, Jr. administration ascended to the highest court in the nation on Oct. 6, 2018.

Mark that date in your calendar, remember it, because that’s the official date the Republican party of this country lost whatever little bit of credibility they still had.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been shrouded in a pretty impressive amount of controversy, as anyone who has bothered to turn on a television for the past few weeks will have certainly noticed.

This controversy has been mostly due to the allegations from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers, and both attending high school in Bethesda, Maryland.

Before I start, I should point out that I believe Ford’s allegations.

I believe Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford, and until someone points out a credible reason why she would lie about it, I will continue to believe her.

And moreover, I think it is absolutely shameful that the Republicans in the senate, given a credible accusation of sexual assault, spent such precious little time confirming their star conservative yesman crony, Brett Kavanaugh.

But this is not the point I want to make here.

Instead, I want to talk about what qualifies a person to sit on the bench with the other members of the highest court in this country.

Or at the very least, I’d like to talk about what should qualify a person for the job.

And, I’d like to talk about the many things Brett Kavanaugh is not.

The Supreme Court is the chief interpreter of the laws of this country. It is the Court’s job to say whether something is constitutional or not.

More to my point, it is the Court’s job to say whether the acts of Congress, as well as of the President of the United States, are constitutional.

I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject, but I believe that the men and women chosen for the honor of a lifetime appointment to the lofty heights of the Supreme Court’s bench should be endowed with at least some care for the best interests of the people of this country.

And with that, I would like to get into the things Brett Kavanaugh is not.

Brett Kavanaugh is not, nor has he ever been, particularly concerned with the best interests of the American people.

As White House Counsel and, later, Staff Secretary in the George W. Bush, Jr. administration, Kavanaugh worked to pass the Patriot Act.

Passed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, within the fearful looming shadow of international terrorism, the Patriot Act was meant to protect citizens and to deter further terrorist acts.

That was what it was sold as, at the time.

In practice, however, it has proved time and again to be a blank check for government organizations such as the CIA and NSA to spy on foreign nationals and U.S. Citizens with impunity, under the guise of fighting international terrorism.

At the time, Kavanaugh called it a “measured, careful, responsible and constitutional approach.”

While I’m sure there are some reasonable defenses for the Patriot Act, calling it “measured” and “careful” is certainly not one of the first things that would come to mind for me in describing a hastily written law that arguably did more to dismantle privacy law than any other piece of legislation in this country’s history.

But, then, I might be inclined to give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt and say that his glowing review of the Patriot Act was just him doing as he was told by his employer.

That is, I might, if Kavanaugh hadn’t consistently voted for government and law enforcement surveillance in his career as a jurist.

And when I say “consistently,” I don’t mean more often than not. I mean Kavanaugh has voted for surveillance every time the question has been brought up.

In the Klayman v. Obama case that occurred as a direct result of the Patriot Act, Kavanaugh argued in a written opinion that the NSA had the right to gather call detail records from millions of Americans without their consent, an action which fairly clearly violates the Fourth Amendment rights of the American people.

This is particularly interesting because, in this particular case, Kavanaugh was not required to write an opinion.

Let me repeat that, Brett Kavanaugh went out of his way to defend the unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens.

And on the question of privacy, he rules this way every time.

On another case, United States v. Maynard, Kavanaugh dissented with the majority on the D.C. Circuit court that the installation of GPS device on a suspect’s car by law enforcement officials was perfectly legal, even without a warrant.

So, he’s all for unlawful searches, invasions of privacy, and all manner of police and government surveillance, seemingly no matter what the circumstances.

And he’s against personal rights, at least with regard to reproduction.

Kavanaugh has consistently argued against abortion, perhaps most egregiously in the case of Garza v. Hargan.

Garza v. Hargan is an ongoing court case in which a young, unnamed undocumented immigrant in ICE custody who wishes to have an abortion.

Kavanaugh dissented in the case when it was brought to the D.C. Circuit court, saying that it would provide “… a new right for undocumented immigrant, abortion on demand.”

This very dissent was one of the key elements in President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s nomination is, in large part, an effort by Republicans, both within the Trump Administration and in Congress, to repeal Roe v. Wade, and make strides toward stricter limitations on the availability of abortions in this country.

The Republican party, in their haste to pander to the ugliest and most vocal part of the Religious Right in this country, were looking for a nominee who could reliably vote their way on reproductive rights.

They were looking for someone who would follow party lines in all cases without blinking an eye.

Someone who could be relied on not to be independent.

And once again, on the subject of things Brett Kavanaugh is not, he most certainly is not independent.

He is a partisan hack, a crony of the Republican party who has spent his entire legal career in the service of the Republican agenda, even to the point of risking our individual freedoms.

He possesses none of the qualities necessary to qualify him for the highest court in this country. He is ill-tempered, smug, entitled and an alleged perpetrator of sexual assault.

And if the Republican party were even the smallest bit concerned with our personal freedoms, they would have taken all this into account, and at the very least deliberated for a little while before confirming a man so vastly unqualified for his job.

But they did not, and so here we are.


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