My personal bottom line: Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, will be one of the most disastrous appointments ever made to the U.S. Supreme Court. This has nothing to do with his intellect, nor even with most of the decisions he may render, but what the appointment process is doing and has already done to tear this nation apart. This win-or-lose game is a losing game for this country as a whole.
This specific appointment is a crucial part of the longterm objective of the radical right wing in this country, to seek effective control of public policy making and interpretation. Personally, I trace this back over about 40 years.
Nov. 6, 2018, is another crucial date – election day (see postnote).
Later this morning begins the end game in the U.S. Senate regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I have no idea what the real end of the end game will be. A Supreme Court appointment is, after all, for as long as an appointed Justice wants it to be. It is a lifetime appointment, until the Justice resigns, dies, or does something incredibly outrageous.
Becoming a Supreme Court Justice, or a Judge at any level, is a very big deal for our society. You don’t know this till personally affected.
I follow this kind of thing pretty carefully. Not obsessively, but carefully. I’m just one citizen among many.
This is the third time I’ve written about Kavanaugh (links towards the end of this post).
This week I hand-delivered brief, personal letters to my two U.S. Senators, my Congresswoman, and to the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, as well as to two Catholic Priests who I highly respect. (The public officials Sens. Klobuchar and Smith, Cong. McCollum; the cleric, Archbishop Bernard Hebda.)
The Congress letters were delivered Monday. The letter to the Archbishop was delivered yesterday, after I learned that the National Council of Churches came out publicly against the Kavanaugh nomination (the U.S Catholic Church hierarchy is not part of the National Council of Churches). The Catholic Bishops and Cardinals (there are 472 of them) as of this moment are officially silent.
The essential enclosure to all three letters was a one-page letter I wrote to then-Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sep. 7, 1998, related to the Clinton impeachment then raging. You can read it here: Clinton Lieberman 1998001. I will let it be my official position on the matter currently at issue.
I didn’t ask for nor do I expect a reply from any of the lawmakers or Archbishop. But I wanted to hand it, in person, to someone at their physical offices.
But this is not the end of the story.
I had no idea, twenty years ago, that my simple letter, open as it is to interpretation, would be highly relevant today.
For me, the theme, then and now, is hypocrisy by the those who think they are high and mighty (para three and five). It is also about shameless abuse of power.
An excellent summary of the current state of the Kavanaugh matter can be read here.
POSTNOTE: It is customary for people generally, and politicians specifically, to rail against “politics as usual”. This includes incumbents and candidates.
“Politics” is every single one of us, regardless of our activity or lack of same. Ultimately, we get exactly what we deserve.
One year ago I watched the entirety of the Ken Burns series on the disastrous Vietnam War (I and my two brothers are military veterans from that era). Who was responsible for that disastrous war will be argued forever, of course. 58,000 young Americans died in that war, and millions of others in southeast Asia.
I was most struck in that series by a repetitive theme – every President from Harry Truman through Richard Nixon – was blamed for our getting mired in that war. Every single President, in one way or another, either directly or via advisors, succumbed to a simple fact: to be seen as against engagement in Vietnam, however stupid it was seen to be, was a political (election) risk to be avoided at all costs. To be against war, was to risk losing an election. It made no difference, whether Republican or Democrat.
We, the people, got exactly what we deserved. We were all casualties.
We are replaying the old script this day, October 5, 2018.