In the New York Times: The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh
One of the most disillusioning aspects of the epic 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, the worst and most damaging of them all, has been the serial disgrace of one profession after another as they abused their public trust, ethics codes, core values, and expertise. Psychiatrists, physicians, lawyers, journalists, academics, educators, judges, elected officials, pundits, journalists, law enforcement officials and more: so many have sided with partisan mobs when the nature and mission of what makes them valuable society demand that the professionals remain neutral and objective. Law professors have been particularly fond of disgracing themselves since President Trump’s election, and almost all of them are Democrats, so seeing over 2400 of them sign a statement that can stand as a warning to all against taking pronouncements from this particular group of legal academics seriously is hardly a shock. It’s still discouraging.
What is unethical, as well as dumb, about this stunt, for stunt it is? Let us count the ways.
1. It is grandstanding and virtue signaling designed to mislead the public, and seed further division, if that’s possible. Every one of these professors can have their own individual opinion about the Kavanaugh nomination, but it is no better, or more influential, nor should it be, than yours or mine. They seek to increase their influence by amassing thousands of personal and biased opinions into a single loud one masquerading as a professional opinion, which it is not.
2. The number 2400 is inherently misleading. This isn’t close to a majority of the law professors in the country. It’s not close to a majority of the Democrats and progressives in the profession. Most of the public, however, doesn’t have continuing relationships at law schools, haven’t worked for them, haven’t graduated from one, or taught at one, like, say, me. The petition is designed to deceive. There are more than 20,000 law professors in US Law schools. Now we know at least 10% appear to be unfit to teach law.
3. The letter is completely irrelevant. Nobody in the Senate cares what a group of liberal law professors want. No Senator is going to read this opinion and say, “Oh, no! I guess I better vote against Kavanaugh: a boatload of professors I’ve never heard of think I should!”
I just noticed that Ann Althouse, a long-time law professor herself, nicely incinerates the statement’s logic and motives, so I’ll recap her points, which dovetail with mine:
4. “I don’t believe the law professors when they say they oppose Brett Kavanaugh because they have concerns about his “judicial temperament,” writes Ann. Of course not. How many of these professors wanted Kavanaugh confirmed before the late and unethical attack by Dr. Ford ? I’d guess few to none. My Facebook friends follow the same pattern which is also the transparent stance of Democrats. The Senators were going to vote against him anyway, indeed announced that intention. When “he’s going to overturn Roe v Wade!'”-fearmongering looked like it wouldn’t be enough to defeat him, they moved on to set-ups like the Great Handshake Snub, deliberately misquoting him, and my personal favorite, claiming that his former associate was making secret racist hand signals during the hearings. Be proud, Democrats!
Then they went full Salem Witch trial, with decades-old recovered memories, a new standard that declared that one accused without evidence was guilty until proven innocent, a sudden insistence that high school misconduct was more important than adult rectitude, and that juvenile drinking and preppie vulgarity was somehow relevant to a veteran judge’s ability to serve on the Supreme Court. Then, when that slime attack looked like it might fail, they moved on to this.
5. Meanwhile, the accusation itself could not be more contrived or dishonest. Ann quotes from the letter:
We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.The question at issue was of course painful for anyone. But Judge Kavanaugh exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was repeatedly aggressive with questioners.
Allow me to summarize her perfect analysis: “Bullshit!”
He was confronted with devastating allegations that were vague and uncorroborated. He knows his own life, yet he was supposed to be committed to “judicious inquiry” about it?! He was supposed to be “open”?! He was supposed to act as though he were absorbing the facts for the first time, like a judge deciding a case? Who wrote this letter? Why did so many law professors sign this text?
Oh, I can answer that one, Ann. So many signed it because at least that many law professors lack integrity, and have been convinced by the hard-left echo chambers of academia that the election of Donald Trump suspended the ethical obligations to be fair and honest.
6. From the letter:
Even in his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh described the hearing as partisan, referring to it as “a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” rather than acknowledging the need for the Senate, faced with new information, to try to understand what had transpired.
This one made my head explode. He described the inquisition against him as partisan? What could EVER make him think that? Or that it was orchestrated, just because the accusation was conveniently leaked after being held under wraps by Senator Feinstein for two months, just in time to postpone the vote and allow a search for more ancient hearsay and manufactured offenses? How dare he call an obviously coordinated strategy of personal destruction orchestrated? Here’s Althouse:
But the hearing really was partisan! Yes, the Senators were in a tough spot, since they were trying to figure out what happened, but Kavanaugh knows what he himself has done. Kavanaugh was supposed to be supportive of the predicament the Senators got themselves into and not defend himself vigorously?He was under a vicious attack, and he knew it was unfair and cruel — unless he was lying. If he was lying, then that‘s why he shouldn’t be on the Court. But this “judicial temperament” idea is designed to work even if he was telling the truth.
7.”So we need to read this letter in light of the professors’ intent, ” says this former law professor:
Imagine an innocent Kavanaugh, under an outrageous attack and subjected to a horrendous ordeal. He expresses indignation and challenges his accusers. But he was supposed to remain calm and be deferential to the Senators, and because he didn’t — and for no other reason — he doesn’t belong on the Court. Who believes that?!
Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators….
Why would Kavanaugh need to “sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised” — he knows what happened in his own life — and why would 1,000 law professors say that he should have?!
It’s obvious, Ann, isn’t it? They say it because they have no decency or integrity, because bias has made them stupid, and because the election of Donald Trump showed how shallow their professionalism really was.