September 07, 2018
There's probably no one happier to call it a week than Brett Kavanaugh. Four days, 212 arrests, and one cause for Senate expulsion later, the president's Supreme Court pick finally arrived at the end of the most chaotic SCOTUS confirmation hearing in history. Piling one bizarre moment on another, Democrats stuck to their plan to turn one of the most important jobs of the Senate into a noisy, mud-slinging riot. And it worked. Democrats finally managed to prove someone was unfit for the job. But it wasn't Brett Kavanaugh!
When they weren't shouting down Republicans or releasing classified documents, 2020 hopefuls like Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) were demanding that Kavanaugh answer questions they'd never dream of asking a liberal president's nominees. "Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell [the case that decided national marriage equality] was correctly decided? It's a yes or no. Please." "That is the precedent of the Supreme Court agreed with by..." Kavanaugh started before he was cut off. "Sir, I'm asking your opinion. You're the nominee right now so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land," Harris insisted. "... Either you're willing to answer or not. And if you're not willing to answer it, we can move on. Do you believe Obergefell was correctly decided?"
"Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence," he began. "So you will not answer that question?" Harris interrupted impatiently. He didn't. Just as Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito did not. No one seemed to mind in 2010 when Kagan replied to a question on abortion that it would be "...inappropriate for a nominee to ever give any indication of how she would rule in a case that would come before the Court. And I think, too, it would be inappropriate to do so in a somewhat veiled manner by essentially grading past cases." Of course, when this president's nominees apply the same standard, they're shamed, vilified, and harassed on social media.
The double standard continued through most of day three, capped off by some outright distortion of Kavanaugh's answers on abortion. When Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked the judge why he dissented in a case over the Obamacare contraception mandate in 2015, Kavanaugh said that he agreed with the majority of courts who've decided that forcing groups like Priests for Life to provide birth control or "emergency contraception" is a violation of their religious liberty.
"The question was first was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was," Kavanaugh explained Thursday. "They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to." Planned Parenthood and NARAL swarmed social media, insisting that Kavanaugh had referred to all birth control as "abortion-inducing." "Kavanaugh referred to birth control -- something more than 95 percent of women use in their lifetime -- as an 'abortion-inducing drug,' which is not just flat-out wrong, but is anti-woman, anti-science propaganda," said Planned Parenthood's Action Fund.
Of course, that's not what he said -- or meant. And while abortion groups will swear until their dying day that Plan B doesn't end a pregnancy, the facts are the facts. "Even Plan B's packaging warns that the drug may destroy a newly conceived human being: 'This product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release). It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation).'" So if anyone's spreading anti-science propaganda, it's the abortion industry.
Fortunately for everyone, the time is just about up on the Democrats' charade. And while the hearing has probably given Republicans a lot more footage for their "The Left Is Crazytown" ads, the lasting feeling from this week is one of profound disappointment. In an op-ed for Fox News, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis (R) wondered if the Senate could ever recover. "It's a sad commentary that in retrospect, now-Justice Elena Kagan's confirmation in 2010 seems like something from a different era, when senators on both sides of the aisle took the vetting process for the highest court in the land seriously."
When then-Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Republicans to be fair, they were. So much so, Tillis points out that Kagan made a point of thanking them for "such a respectful and expeditious consideration." It's a shame Kavanaugh can't say the same.
For Ken Blackwell's take on this confirmation circus, check out his new Townhall column, "Kavanaugh Soars over Keystone Kop Democrats."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.