From The Ethics Alarms “Democrats Must Be So Proud” Files: An Obvious Observation On Today’s Kavanaugh Hearing

It is disgraceful,  embarrassing, and dangerous, and only two or three steps away from Charles Sumner being physically attacked by Preston Brooks on the Senate floor.

It emerged during the proceedings that Senate Democrats planned to disrupt the orderly process of the hearings as a strategy. Nice. I guess that’s their replacement for the filibuster. I think I prefer the device used by Lilly Tomlin’s character in the Netflix series “Grace and Frankie”: when she can’t rebut an argument, she starts singing “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” as loud as she can, so nobody else can talk.

“The hearing began with protesters breaking in, and continued with serial efforts by Democratic Senators to postpone the hearing. To the credit of committed chair Chuck Grassley, he bulled on through. As he did so, the Democratic side degenerated into a contest regarding which putative candidate for the Democratic 2020 nomination could pander to the base more. Here is how the day began:

GRASSLEY: “Good morning. I welcome everyone to this confirmation hearing on the nomination of —“
HARRIS: “Mr. Chairman.”
GRASSLEY: “— Brett Kavanaugh –”
HARRIS: “Mr. Chairman.”
GRASSLEY: “— to serve as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
HARRIS: “Mr. Chairman, I’d like to be recognized for a question before we proceed. Mr. Chairman, I’d like to be recognized to ask a question before we proceed. The committee received just last night less than 15 hours ago —“
HARRIS: “Mr. Chairman, regular order.”
HARRIS: “— 42.000 pages of documents that we have not had an opportunity to review or read or analyze.”
GRASSLEY: “You are out of order. I will proceed.”
HARRIS: “We cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman. We have not been given the opportunity to have a meaningful hearing with Congress nominee–“[cross-talk]
GRASSLEY: “I extend a very warm welcome to Judge Kavanaugh, to his wife Ashley, their two daughters –[cross-talk]
UNKNOWN: “Mr. Chairman, I agree with my colleague, senator Harris. Mr. Chairman, we received 42.000 documents tat we haven’t been able to review —”
GRASSLEY: “— And everyone else joining us today.”
UNKNOWN: ” and we believe this hearing should be postponed —”
GRASSLEY: “I know this is an exciting day for all of you here and your you’re rightly proud —”
UNKNOWN: “Mr. Chairman, if we cannot be recognized I move to adjourn. Mr. Chairman, I move to adjourn.”
GRASSLEY: “— From Judge Kavanaugh —”
UNKNOWN: “Mr. Chairman, I move to adjourn. Mr. Chairman, we have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise —” (Audience cheering)
BLUMENTHAL: “Mr. Chairman, we have been denied the real access to the documents we need —[cross-talk] which turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms and, Mr. Chairman, I therefore move to adjourn this hearing.”
AUDIENCE: “This is a mockery. This is a travesty of justice. Cancel Brett Kavanaugh, adjourn the hearing. [ indecipherable].”
BLUMENTHAL: “Mr. Chairman, I ask for a roll call vote on my motion to adjourn.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “‘[indecipherable]'”
GRASSLEY: “Okay.”
BLUMENTHAL: “Mr. Chairman, I move to adjourn. I ask for a roll call vote.”
GRASSLEY: “We are not in executive session. We will continue as planned.”

A recurring theme was the disingenuous complaint that Democrats, who have received over 400,ooo pages of materials relating to Trump’s nomination to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat on the Court, as well as all of his judicial opinions which are what really matter, did not have time to read the most recently released batch of about 40, 000 pages. Everyone knows that what is in those documents doesn’t matter one bit, because the entire group of Democratic Senators have already made it clear that they are going to vote against Kavanaugh as a bloc. They are going to do it to express their outrage over Merrick Garland; they are going to do it to pander to the resistance narrative that Trump is an “illegitimate” President, they are going to do it because the party increasingly seeks to demonize conservatives, they are going to do it because they are afraid of their base. Oh, there are lots of reasons. All of the Democratic Senators, maybe most,  don’t seriously believe their party’s own scare-mongering that Kavanaugh will lead the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade, but there is the rapidly pro-abortion—not just pro-abortion rights but pro-abortion—feminist segment of the base to pander to as well.

Essentially, we are watching an entire political party embrace mob-style interference as an alternative to process, because they don’t like what the likely results of the established process will be. Of course this is dangerous to the nation and the Constitution. It is also a tantrum, just like the party’s reaction to President Trump’s election itself.

It was predictable that if the funeral of a Senator was exploited  as an opportunity to attack the President, the hearings on his Supreme Court nominee would certainly be. (I am not finished looking, but so far I can find no comparable direct attacks on Barack Obama during the hearings on his two nominees.) Here, for example, is the reliable demagogue Dick Durbin (D-Ill), doing his best Keith Olbermann imitation:

“You are the nominee of President Donald John Trump. This is a president who’s shown us consistently he’s contemptuous of the rule of law. He’s said and done things as president which we’ve never seen before in history. He dismissed the head of the FBI when he wouldn’t bend to his will. He harasses his attorney general on almost a daily basis in the exercise of his office, and I didn’t vote for Jeff Sessions, but I have to tell you there should be some respect at least for the office he serves in. And it’s that president who’s decided you are his man. You’re the person he wants on the Supreme Court. You are his personal choice. So are people nervous about this? Are they concerned about it? Of course they are.”

As in the hypocritical remarks by the McCain mourners. Durbin is hilariously self-indicting. Durbin’s party has been  contemptuous of the rule of law in areas where the President has been committed to enforce it, as with illegal immigration. Durbin and his party have undertaken direct assaults on the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments. The way Democrats are conducting themselves in this very hearing has never been seen before in history.

And how in the world can a Democratic Senator demand that there should be respect for the Office of the Attorney General, when withholding any respect for the office of the President has been his own party’s policy for nearly two years? The principles Durbin is extolling are obviously those neither he nor his party believes in, unless they can be used to attack the President.

As has been true since Trump’s inauguration, it is the Democrats who are willing to destroy our democratic institutions in order to save them, to adapt an infamous Vietnam era line. This is one more of many examples, and they are behaving this way not to block some extreme, sinister radical, but a conservative jurist with unassailable credentials who would have passed through the confirmation process unanimously or close to it in any other administration.

56 thoughts on “From The Ethics Alarms “Democrats Must Be So Proud” Files: An Obvious Observation On Today’s Kavanaugh Hearing

  1. What’s more telling about how far gone the Democrat party is is how little they care about the damage they are inflicting on the Constitution and the Republic…almost as though they want the damage to occur.

      • I suspect they want the damage, since they didn’t get their way. I didn’t get my way many elections (both directions) but I went through those stages of grieving. They’re still in denial and bargaining. They don’t care about collateral damage because it should not have happened… That childishness is offending me more than they can possibly imagine.

        • I may be wrong, but I think they are doing serious damage to their electability now and in the future. I’m also not that sure their base actually makes the effort to vote, at least not in mid-terms. After eight years of Obama, I think the base thinks there isn’t a constitutional separation of powers and that the President rules by fiat so the only thing that matters is who’s President.

          • I have to agree with you here. Not only that, but in 2 or 6 years or whenever the dems claw back some executive power, it is going to be just as bad, because they have set a precedent. Do you really think the next president is going to get any better treatment? Of course the media will be on their side, but they have undeniably shown their colors over the last 4 years by ensuring Trump was nominated, and then having a nervous breakdown because their plan worked too well and he actually was elected to boot — that was not part of the plan.

  2. Essentially, we are watching an entire political party embrace mob-style interference as an alternative to process, because they don’t like what the likely results of the established process will be. Of course this is dangerous to the nation and the Constitution. It is also a tantrum, just like the party’s reaction to President Trump’s election itself.

    This is the same political party that wants to impeach the president. According to the Washington Free Beacon:

    MAN (off camera): “When y’all gonna impeach Trump?”

    SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: “Sooner the better.”

    https://freebeacon.com/politics/chuck-schumer-on-impeaching-trump-the-sooner-the-better/

    Deliberative. Thoughtful. Carefully considered. Minority leader of the world’s greatest deliberative body. Chuck Schumer, the very model of a modern Leftist senator.

    This is all Kabuki theater, and everybody not qualified as a Low Information Voter knows it. Probably most of them do, as well.

    I have to wonder what’s going to happen when the Republicans are in the minority and the Democrats are in power? I suspect, sadly, the same thing will be in the offing, although conservatives are not really very good at the demonstration thing. I guess they’ll have to settle for making nuisances of themselves by talking over the chairman, demanding votes and adjournments ad infinitum. Maybe this can be the new filibuster – refusing to let the hearings actually happen by talking over them and refusing to conform to the Rules of Order. It would have the benefit of being much more entertaining, because surely somebody is going to say something… impolitic. Probably several people and several somethings.

    The only question I have is this: Can the Democrats surpass the unethical horror unleashed on Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork? I think we’re going to find out, but I guess if our Republic survived those two, they can survive this one.

  3. I watched bits and pieces of today’s opening salvo of slander and spin but my tolerance fir such things wanes quickly when I tune in and hear Durbin lecture us all on why we should be afraid, very afraid of Kavanuagh.

    I believe televising these hearings serve no public purpose. The grandstanding, the outbursts from the minority and the peanut gallery does not help the public gain an understanding of the process or the person.

    I recommend that the transcripts be the only thing available to the public. Force us ( the electorate) to read the respective arguments.

    I never watch Jerry Springer or Maury Povitch so if congressional hearings become the equivalent of such trash TV count me out.

  4. Jack writes: Essentially, we are watching an entire political party embrace mob-style interference as an alternative to process, because they don’t like what the likely results of the established process will be. Of course this is dangerous to the nation and the Constitution. It is also a tantrum, just like the party’s reaction to President Trump’s election itself.

    I do not know a great deal about this aspect of things. But my understanding is that the Supreme Court has become the activist branch for ramming through (is that a fair word?) certain forms of social change. I am not sure if this had always been the case or was something contemplated by the Founders.

    It has also been said that *moneyed interests* have been able to have their way or to get their way by (somehow) manipulating the Supreme Court. E Michael Jones speaks of this but, at times, he seems to exaggerate (and he does have a certain agenda). How pressure comes to bear on the Supreme Court, and how it turns out that it is an ‘activist’ body, is not something I understand well.

    Now, it is the stated intention of Republicans and Conservatives to change the make-up of the Court, both high and at the state level. By putting conservatives in the courts, they can bank on more conservative decisions. Some say that means decisions that favor business (and I am inclined to see this as likely).

    But then there is the issue and problem of a radicalized Court that holds to the ‘living document’ Constitutional theory. Therefor, if the court(s) become more conservative, the mechanism of American Radical Progressivism will be encumbered.

    If this is so, it is imperative to stop Trump and the Republicans (the Conservatives I guess) from getting their people into the Courts.

    If this is so, and their blocking efforts are ‘because they don’t like what the likely results of the established process will be’, this can only mean that conservatives will block or stymie ‘progressive policies’, and this is of genuine concern to the democratic wing.

    In their view, the Conservative efforts toward determining judges will be ‘dangerous to the nation and the Constitution’.

    Thus their oppositional efforts make sense, do they not? That is, they are not exaggerating that the outcome of getting judges that are more conservative is inhibiting to their efforts.

    • But my understanding is that the Supreme Court has become the activist branch for ramming through (is that a fair word?) certain forms of social change.

      No, I would not say that is a fair word, on either side. Has SCOTUS become more partisan that I would like — sure, but I don’t think it comes within miles “ramming through social change”. Is there even an example you have, or are you just regurgitating platitudes?

      How pressure comes to bear on the Supreme Court, and how it turns out that it is an ‘activist’ body, is not something I understand well.

      That is kind of the point of having lifetime appointments. I suppose you could achieve the same effect with a 18 year single term appointment (this way we could confirm a new justice every 2 years). The point being, they do not have to think about elections, rather they should be applying the law as they see how the constitution provides. Again, can you provide some sort of example of this activism? Remember that they actually write opinions that explain their reasoning. If you object to this then you are effectively objecting to our entire justice system (which to be sure is flawed, but still the best in the world with regards to individual rights and deference to the accused.)

      Now, it is the stated intention of Republicans and Conservatives to change the make-up of the Court, both high and at the state level.

      This has always been the point, and it is conversely true of the Liberals / Democrats. That is how our system is set up. The executive gets to nominate, the legislative branch (specifically Senate) gets to confirm. So, not only does the president have to pick a qualified candidate (we have seen how this goes if they do not) but half of the Senate has to agree. The other side has this same opportunity when they are in control. But, yes, the president is going to nominate someone who has the same philosophy that they wish to shape the court with. Then that person has to collaborate with 8 other supreme court justices to do anything.

      • Given the level of partisan hatred the nation has been pushed to, I wonder if we are prepared to live with long term vacancies on the Supreme Court until the few coincidences that the Senate and the Presidency are of the same Party?

      • RR writes: No, I would not say that is a fair word, on either side. Has SCOTUS become more partisan that I would like — sure, but I don’t think it comes within miles “ramming through social change”. Is there even an example you have, or are you just regurgitating platitudes?

        To regurgitate implies that it was masticated and swallowed. But in my case merely masticated! But not yet swallowed.

        My understanding of the Culture Wars is that the *activism* of the SC is one major source of debate. That the Court is given power, through its decisions, to *radically change culture*. I read a book called ‘A War for the Soul of America’ that deals on the culture wars. ‘Ourselves and our Posterity: Essays on Constitutional Originalism’ (Bradley Watson) describes what judicial activism is and contrasts it with originalism.

        You might not agree that this judicial activism has ‘rammed through social change’, but there are many who think just that. I am of the opinion (ie I am masticating the possibility!) that this is the case. There must be reasons, and reasons that can be traced, to explain our Hyper-Liberal present.

        The homosexual marriage activism, as well as abortion *rights* activism are the classic examples, are they not? of judicial activism. There is also the one of desegregation. The line goes that the activist judges impose their values and ideas on a (generally always) more conservative culture and thus *mold* that culture.

        The Wiki page (not to be trusted but still useful) says of this issue:

        Detractors of judicial activism charge that it usurps the power of the elected branches of government or appointed agencies, damaging the rule of law and democracy. Defenders of judicial activism say that in many cases it is a legitimate form of judicial review, and that the interpretation of the law must change with changing times.

        In my view, our present culture has preceded to one of extremes of liberalism. What I call Hyper-Liberalism. In the case of America this issue is complex since America was founded through certain forms of radicalism.

        While I admit there can be no one or sole cause of hyper-liberal decadence, I am not closed to considering judicial activism as one element of ‘social engineering’.

        • “The homosexual marriage activism, as well as abortion *rights* activism are the classic examples, are they not?”

          No, they are not. Despite Kennedy’s awful majority opinion, there was no legitimate way the Constitution and Bill of Rights could be reconciled with denying gays a right to marry.

          • Jack writes: No, they are not. Despite Kennedy’s awful majority opinion, there was no legitimate way the Constitution and Bill of Rights could be reconciled with denying gays a right to marry.

            I think I more or less well grasp why it is that you have that understanding. I am less certain that it can be stated as you have stated it: a self-evident fact that really requires no explanation, or no defence shall I say.

            I tend to the more antiquated view of ‘originalism’, yet with caveats. Put another way I am uncertain if I support the premise of a ‘living constitution’. You always have surprising revelations about your own positions but I’d suspect you are in the ‘living constitution’ camp?

              • Right, and that Amendment and the ‘activism’ that arose from it, are a large part of the problems of hyper-liberalism in our present.

                I completely accept what you say, and I think I understand it. You are, perhaps above all other things, a Constitutionalist and a man of the law.

                I respect that sort of viewpoint, and try to understand it better, but as I assume you have gathered, find it weak in numerous respects.

                And it will require 10-50 years of conscious work to reverse the trends that have allowed hyper-liberalism to flourish.

              • The Equal Protection Clause is remarkably unambiguous.

                And one of the most ignored, when it involves prosecution of a progressive. We now have two tiers of laws: those that apply to the Establishment Elite (and those they grant ‘limited immunity’ to, on a case by case basis) and the laws that apply to the rest of us.

                Prime Examples: If I did what Corey Booker did just this week, I would have been perp marched by law enforcement. If I destroyed emails under subpoena, ala’ Hillary “with a cloth” Clinton, I would be in jail to this day. If I leaked classified information to the press (Comey), or lied to a FISA court Judge, I better look good in an orange jump suit.

                Change my mind. 🙂

                • “Elite” and “people with power” are not a class like “gays” or “blacks.” You’re talking about enforcement; the topic is the law. No law could say “but people with power an connections are exempt. Nor would any court be liely to overturn a just conviction because someone else wasn’t prosecuted who should have been. The public and the news media, not the courts, have to enforce what you’re talking about, which is “Equal law enforcement against all perps.” That’s not in the Constitution.

  5. Part of me is concerned that thousands of pages were produced yesterday (if true). I have waded through thousands of pages of meaningless documents, but you have to do it, because you never know what you will find.

    Yes, I don’t believe the Dems were acting in good faith, but I think they should have enough time to look at documents produced.

    Also, I am rusty on my rules of order, but I did not think the motion to adjourn was improper. I thought it was a non-debatable motion subject to an up-down vote (which probably would have failed)

    -Jut

    • The Senators don’t do the reading, of course. So they divide up the stuff among Democratic staff, and rely on them to flag anything remotely useful. If they wanted to do it in X hours, they probably could. I agree that in a sincere and good faith inquiry, the whole Senate should have fair time to read relevant documents. This is a stalling exercise, however. The Republicans don’t have to pretend they don’t know that.

      • True, it is a stalling exercise (I believe). And, while the Republicans need not treat it otherwise, they should at least give the appearance that this is not an ambush or that they are not being railroaded.

        As in many things political/ethical, appearance is reality; that is why even the appearance of impropriety must be avoided in some cases.

        -Jut

    • Read the documents? You’re not supposed to read them. You’re supposed to vote aye, after which you find out what was in them.

      In all seriousness, I’d assert that after passing the ACA the Democrats are ethically estopped from protesting on the grounds that they haven’t read the terms of what they’re doing, except that you’re right: it’s a legitimate concern for everyone, and not allowing people to voice it would cause even more problems than we have already.

      I don’t know enough of what’s going on to hold a strong opinion, but I am skeptical that they’ll find anything in the new documents that will change their opinions one way or another.

    • The 40,000 pages, like most of the 400,000 pages before, are meaningless trivia. The meat and potatoes of the man’s career are on PACER, from over a decade on the federal appellate bench.

      • Yep, the outrage over documents is purely manufactured.

        1) This has never proven to be a major issue in the past.
        2) I mean, we’re scouring his articles he wrote for Yale’s newspaper for crying out loud.
        3) Somewhere battalions of left wing acolytes are looking for some insensitive remark to try to sink him with.
        4) He’s still going to be confirmed.
        5) The Leftwing meltdown isn’t going to stop even after people get hurt.

  6. Just in case anyone needs to understand how depraved the Left is:

    Kavanaugh’s young children had to be escorted by guards out of the hearing because of the heckler’s harassing them.

    *harassing his children*

    And no, these aren’t one off leftists who managed to make it into the chamber to exercise their right to protest. This entire fiasco was an engineered and coordinated event from Guttenberg’s ambush ‘handshake’ to the temper tantrums at the start of the hearing. Which means harrassing his children was all part of the plan.

  7. Who are the enemies of the representative republic in which we live? Who is a danger to “democracy”? Who is disrespectful, uncivil and hateful? Who cares so little for the Constitution and the processes it requires?

    When one sees these tactics, it is difficult to understand how this ends well.

    How is voter ID in any way associated with voter suppression? This is not pre-voting rights act Mississippi.

    To be just, the right hand side of the political spectrum does need to offer appropriate time to perform analyses on anything requiring a vote. Shame on them for partaking, even minimally, in the vote on it before you read it tactic employed in such a bludgeon like fashion during the Obama Care vote. At least Kavanaugh has a long public record as a judge to peruse.

    • To be just, the right hand side of the political spectrum does need to offer appropriate time to perform analyses on anything requiring a vote.

      Well… the documents requested by Democrats have FAR outstripped anything in the past. Requesting so many documents was a delaying tactic.

      The GOP is not bound ethically or legally to allow such bullshit abuse of the process to succeed. This is how we got to this pass in the first place: allowing liberals and progressives to abuse norms when it suited them to get an illegitimate win.

  8. I had a chance to watch some of the Kavanaugh hearings yesterday, I was genuinely curious how everyone would conduct themselves; what a freaking circus. I was so disgusted at the whole orchestrated spectacle that I had to turn it off and walk away.

    I don’t understand how those people can rationalize away their conduct.

  9. See?! Justice Kavanaugh is a poopiehead, a big fat meanie who surrounds himself with racists and white supremacists. I am not voting for him. Check it out from the Daily Caller:

    https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/04/zina-bash-kavanaugh-hearing-trump-video/

    Now, that is the wife of John F. Bash, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Her name is Zina Gelman Bash, is a former Kavanaugh clerk who previously worked in President Donald Trump’s administration and now serves in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s administration. Oh, and get this: She is Mexican on her mother’s side and Jewish on her father’s side. She was born in Mexico. Her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Yet, clearly, she was showing her white power hand gestures to an unsuspecting, uneducated, unwoke US populous. I immediately recognized the hand gesture when I saw it. Yes, I did. I can tell she is just can’t wait to go home and parade around in her hood singing “Deutschland über alles”.

    jvb

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