Time to question, listen on Trump’s nomination

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Brett Kavanaugh, who has served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court since 2006, never had time to take a breath.

Nominated by President Trump to the vacant Supreme Court position, Kavanaugh accepted the nomination this week and then awaited the brickbats. Alas, they’d been thrown long before Monday.

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That’s because the U.S. Senate, once the “greatest deliberative body in the world,” is keeping its downward path toward becoming a wholesale sham, a bastion for kneejerk reactionaries.

How many Americans even knew Kavanaugh’s name before this week? Precious few, and those were inside-the-Beltway types. Now he’s dangerous?

In case you did not know, Kavanaugh is, according to the Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke campaign, a “threat to voting rights, civil rights and workers rights.” He’s also a threat to your healthcare and a woman’s right to choose and LGBTQ equality.

How did he get past the Senate the first time? Why did four Democrats vote for his confirmation?

O’Rourke, who is challenging incumbent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has a surefire plan to stop the Kavanaugh nomination: Send him three bucks. It’s urgent. He was pushing that plan this week. That, with a side order of hyperbole.

In truth, O’Rourke is no different than others in Texas politics or in Washington when it comes to party politics, especially in recent decades. That includes many Republicans, as well.

The president has played his role in selecting a nominee. Given his party affiliation and his conservative bent, Trump winnowed his short list to four over the weeks; predictably, all were conservatives. What did Democrats expect? Trump said when he ran he’d appoint conservatives. It was a key topic in the 2016 presidential election.

Kavanaugh has proven himself to be reliably conservative — he was a Bush administration insider — but not necessarily a partisan since 2006. He has called Roe vs. Wade, the Democratic Party’s litmus test for judges, binding law, and said he would follow the higher court’s ruling.

As for partisanship, he told the Catholic University Law School in 2015, “Check those political allegiances at the door when you become a judge.”

That might be good advice for senators, too, as this important nomination moves forward. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, has already submitted her vote before asking a single question or hearing a single answer from the nominee: No.

Sound like thoughtful deliberation?

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has laid out for rabidly partisan Senate colleagues the proper course to follow: Let the process work.

There is time to question, time to listen, time to review. Don’t prejudge the judge. (That’s apparently Elizabeth Warren’s job.)

This is not war. These are not “battle lines.” This is how our Senate ought to behave, if they can remember how.