Ethics Observations On The Cruz-Hirono Exchange During The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

Here is the full exchange. Do watch it all:

I could justly call this a case of res ipsa loquitur, requiring no further explication, but let’s be clear about what was going on.

Senator Hirono stated that her objection to the doctrine of Constitutional originalism was not based on law or theory, but on the fact that cases like Roe v. Wade, which made abortion a right, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same sex marriage, would not have been decided as they were had the Supreme Court majority used an originalism standard. That is, obviously, a purely consequentialist argument: if the results of applying a principle do not yield what she favors, then she does not believe the principle should be applied. It is an “ends justifies the means” position, and that is antithetical to the rule of law, as we have discussed on Ethics Alarms often. If the law is enforced by judges according to a floating standard whereby a principle is valid when a desirable result will arise from applying it, and invalid when an authority prefers a different result, then the law has no integrity, and the system becomes arbitrary and chaotic.

Senator Cruz, after his questioning of the Biden judicial nominee who tried to dance his way through Cruz’s implications that he was not consistent in his judicial philosophy, then referenced Sen. Hirono’s unambiguous explanation about why she opposed originalism: decisions she likes would have come out the other way. She responded by accusing Cruz of “mansplaining” and mischaracterizing what she said. When Cruz reasonably tried to ask exactly how he had mischaracterized her statement, the Democrats furiously attempted to block his response. When that failed, and Cruz asked directly whether she had said what she said, Hirono babbled incoherently, finally said “No.”

Observations:

1. The Ethics Dunces here are the voters of Hawaii, who elected the spectacularly dim-witted and embarrassing Hirono to the U.S. Senate. By doing so they inflicted a virulent human virus carrying partisan extremism, incompetence and ethical confusion into the Legislative branch, surely not the only one, but almost certainly the worst.

2. Judges and elected officials on both sides of the partisan divide apply principles selectively to reach their desired results. Hirono was just frank about it. She did not have the wit or honesty, however, to stand by her own words.

3. The “mansplaining” tactic Hirono adopts is pure ad hominem and sexist to boot, a way to use a personal slur to avoid answering a legitimate question.

4. The frantic efforts of the Democrats to protect the Hawaii Senator from the consequences of her own carelessness demonstrates how party loyalty distorts the legislative process.

5. Hirono lied outright by denying that Cruz’s characterization of what she said was correct. Or she didn’t understand: with this Senator, Hanlon’s Razor is always in play.

31 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Cruz-Hirono Exchange During The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

  1. “3. The “mansplaining” tactic Hirono adopts is pure ad hominem and sexist to boot, a way to use a personal slur to avoid answering a legitimate question.”

    And is an unethical way to shut down debate over her position. It’s no different than the CRT list of arguments that white people aren’t allowed to use when debating the narrative of systemic racism.

    • Mansplaining. Inexcusable. What a baby. “You always have to get the last word in, Senator Cruz.” Pathetic. Why didn’t she thrown in a “I know you are, but what am I. Infinity!”

      If she had any wits about her, she’d have said, “He’s an activist judge, Ted. Get real. Why do you think President Klain nominated him?”

  2. “1. The Ethics Dunces here are the voters of Hawaii, who elected the spectacularly dim-witted and embarrassing Hirono to the U.S. Senate. By doing so they inflicted a virulent human virus carrying partisan extremism, incompetence and ethical confusion into the Legislative branch, surely not the only one, but almost certainly the worst.”

    I mean…. Hirono basically ran against an empty chair. Hawaii’s voters have never been spoiled for choices. I think the real dunces here are the Democats. They have intelligent people in their caucus, they really do. Why the actual hell would they give a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to someone like Hirono? It’s not even to help her out during elections… Hawaii votes 80% Blue. The Democrats could run a paperweight and still win.

    • HT, see my belated replies on our kerfuffle in the original Jason Whitlock thread and the subsequent “cross thread” where you erupted. Pace, pace.

      • Your inability to take responsibility for your own mistakes, and your characterization of my response as an eruption, is why you can eat shit.

        I know this might be hard for you to swallow, but you’re wrong. You did me wrong. And I don’t owe you civility. Again…. If you don’t have the testicular fortitude, the balls, to be man enough and own that… That’s fine. You do you. But maybe you should skulk away from me for a little while, because I don’t have it in my not to respond.

          • It was a drive by, but I was pissed (with good reason, in my opinion, obviously) and thought it was appropriate. But you’re right, it was uncivil. My mistake.

            • I know that you think you had reason. It’s why I think you should re-read it. You’re wrong. I mean obviously, objectively wrong.

              There is no way in context that I could possibly be talking about Clarence Thomas when I said “these people aren’t smart, funny or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent their identity markers” because I EXPLICITLY specified Candace Owens and Dave Rubin as “these people” and EXPLICITLY separated them from a group that EXPLICITLY included Clarence Thomas.

              But at the time, you didn’t know that, because Jack had compressed four paragraphs into:

              “One of the worst trends to come out of conservative politics in the last couple of years is to put up on a pillar any minority person that will say things that conservatives agree with. I think it’s a reactionary measure; Progressives say we’re racist, sexist, or homophobic, so we go out of our way to find female/minority/gay people to platform in order to prove we aren’t…Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re bad people, I just don’t think they’re smart, funny, or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent these identity markers that conservatives seem especially hungry for….”

              But even then… Clarence Thomas has been on SCOTUS since 1991. So even if you for some reason thought that I meant that “space in media” was somehow synonymous with “nominated to SCOTUS” and even if you want to equate “not smart, funny or talented enough” with “House Nigger”, then you were only off by thirty or so years.

              It’s painfully obvious that you decided to read what I’d written in the worst possible light, work yourself up over it, and put me on blast. In reality. You’re wrong, you have poor reading comprehension, and you made an ass out of yourself. You also lack the character to admit it.

              I’m done. You’re getting the Alizia treatment. From here on out, if you interact with me, I’ll either ignore you, or mock you, but I will not engage with you.

    • Au contraire, HT. I think the Dems are happy as can be with someone like Hirano. Look at Steve Cohen or Adam Schiff or Jerry Nadler or, let’s be honest, Kamala Harris. These people are all vicious nitwits and ultra hacks. Schiff is probably smarter than the rest, but they are all standard issue vicious, ruthless political operatives. Pelosi and Schumer are not much better.

    • Simple, she’s a simple-minded hack who they can always count on to vote for whatever the party leadership wants. The smarter Democratic Senators might go independent minded, but she never will.

  3. Jack wrote, “with this Senator [Senator Hirono], Hanlon’s Razor is always in play.”

    In my opinion, Senator Mazie Keiko Hirono is a bald-faced liar that tries to hide the stupidity of her loose cannon when she gets caught. Senator Hirono is full of malice and that ad hominem laced lying exchange with Senator Cruz is signature significant proof of her tendencies towards pure malice.

    The Senate should formally censure Senator Mazie Keiko Hirono for her bald-faced lie and ad hominems towards Senator Cruz that’s now a matter of Congressional record.

    These people need to be held accountable.

  4. Senator Hirono is a combination of ignorance, arrogance, and bullying. Not a winning combination at any time, but particularly toxic here. I think she also has a certain dislike of men generally, her husband isn’t even mentioned on her Wikipedia page, and she said during the Kavanaugh hearings that men need to “shut up and step up.” It’s just that right now she thinks it’s ok to be a misandrist. She’s always thought it’s ok to ram her preferred outcomes through without any debate or discussion, and wondered why the other side should even be allowed to speak.

  5. She’s lucky she only has to deal with Ted Cruz who is hardly a weak debater. One does wonder what folks like her would do if they had to go up against some of the formidable Senators of the past like Calhoun, Clay, Thaddeus Stevens or even Lyndon Johnson. Charles Sumner would have eviscerated her.

      • My lasting impression of Congressional demeanor from what, ninth gradehistory? Not much has changed in coming up on almost two centuries.

    • Oh, hell, who couldn’t eviscerate her? I’m not a Ted Cruz fan, but he’s very smart and knows the law. Him debating this hack is like putting Ali in the ring with Billy Barty.

      • Okay, you got me. All right, you’re an American actor and actresses historian. Had to google him. That’s taking obscure popular culture knowledge to the extreme, non?

  6. HT
    With all due respect, I interpreted your post as OB did such that conservatives only like minorities when they are in agreement. I began to respond but then decided that I could not add to OB’ s comment on this blog. I have no knowledge of any exchanges elsewhere.
    To be honest I thought it quite out of character for you. It is good to know that my initial interpretation was mistaken.

  7. Son of a gun. That was supposed to be regarding Adam Schiff, NOT HT. Was supposed to be in response to Steve Witherspoon’s comment. Shit.

    Thanks for the comment, CM. I appreciate it.

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