It’s a done deal.
Brett Kavanaugh has been awarded a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Now there are two justices who sit under a black cloud of suspicion. It can’t get any worse than this, can it?
The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh was the most contentious in American history. Normally, the hearings have been cut and dried. This one was anything but. The contention was fueled by the MeToo movement which targeted powerful men suspected of being sexual predators. Already a number of high-profile individuals either have been fired or resigned their positions with a concomitant loss of reputation. No aspect of society has been spared: The business community, politics, the entertainment world, the news media, and even the clergy.
In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, the battle lines, and I use that expression advisedly, had been drawn between his supporters who pointed to his public-service record and his detractors who found fault with his youthful peccadillos. Not surprisingly, the battle lines took on political overtones, Republicans for and Democrats against, which added to the contention.
And the old question reared its head: Why did the accusers wait so long to speak up? Quite simply, the name-calling and the death threats hurled at the accusers answered that question. What woman would risk such calumny unless she felt compelled to tell her story of abuse?
One pundit I read stated that it was no longer a matter of Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal, but rather a war between the sexes. Another pundit (a woman) stated that an exemplary adult life, “credit in a moral bank account” in her words, was no excuse for a criminal act, no matter when it was committed. These points are debatable, and I mention them to demonstrate just how contentious the hearings were.
Another pundit (a woman) hit the nail on the head, however, by taking a more philosophical point of view. She stated that there exists in these United States a culture of white-male privilege and that all white males in positions of power are allowed to disregard any laws or moral codes which do not suit them, without consequence. Furthermore, they are allowed to treat anyone not a white male with impunity; and, in particular, they are allowed to treat women as objects and/or commodities. It is interesting to note, in this context, that comedian and actor Bill Cosby recently was sentenced to three to 10 years for his sexual predations, while the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Lester Moonves were let go with a slap on their hands. Brett Kavanaugh, the product of a private, all-white, all-boys school fit this bill to a “T.”
Yet, the allegations and the defenses were hard to prove to anyone’s satisfaction, and the hearings were little more than window-dressing. In the end, it made no difference who was telling the truth. Eleven privileged white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee were determined to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, come Hell or high water, and were willing to ignore the rules of the game. Why? Their re-elections were on the line; if they had failed, their president would have called them losers and any other derogatory name which came to his contradictory mind and refuse to stump for them. Their president’s loyal followers in the hinterland would not vote for them, even it meant replacing them with a (gasp!) Democrat.
Unfortunately, what was overlooked in this brouhaha was Kavanaugh’s public-service record. It was pushed to the back burner and never mentioned again. He had claimed to be an independent, unbiased, voice. He was not. His public service consisted of a stint in the regime of George W. Bush in which he did the bidding of the president and his cabinet and of a stint on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in which he sided with rich and powerful individuals and corporations against lesser mortals with each and every case he heard.
He is the man whom the Judiciary Committee believed was one of them, a good ol’ boy, as they say in the South, and who thus deserved a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. One cannot hope that this leopard will change his spots now that he has been given his reward for being a true soldier of Donald J. Trump.
There may be consequences. The Republicans may lose one or both chambers of Congress because of their self-righteousness. New voices are on the horizon, and they demand to be heard and to be heeded. It’s just a matter of time before they come to the fore.
Just a thought.