Justice Stephen Breyer famously quipped that the Supreme Court confirmation process is like the recipe for chicken a la king – “from the point of view of the chicken.” Let’s go with the metaphor a little and point out that the main stream media appears to be preparing the long knives for the nominee du jour. Last week, the National Review and other sources reported (based on information obtained by America Rising Squared) that the New York Times and the Associated Press have sent document requests under Maryland’s open records law asking for work emails of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, who is a district manager for the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Associated Press was content to ask for all of her work emails, while the Times sharpened its focus by asking for correspondence containing politically laden words such as “gay,” “abortion,” and “gun.” There could be only one purpose for this fishing expedition, of course – digging up “controversial statements” Kavanaugh may have made in personal emails to his wife. Naturally, opposition senators and staffers wouldn’t stoop to such lows to mine dirt on the nominee, but they aren’t beneath using what appears in the pages of the Gray Lady or the nation’s wire services.
Set aside for a moment the unlikelihood of the notion that a federal appeals court judge would engage in unguarded email correspondence on politically charged topics with his wife, a public servant, on her government email. Tactics like these have a way of sparking a race to the bottom. Remember Justice Clarence Thomas’s nomination, with unsubstantiated accusations of harassment thrown against the wall to see what would stick? Nothing did, ultimately (thank God), but allow us to repeat what we said in this space last week: it is shameful and morally wrong to entertain unsubstantiated allegations against the character of a good man. “How low can you go?” shouldn’t be the catchphrase for a serious constitutional process. Senate Democratic leadership, beginning with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, should repudiate these tactics and vow not to use any personal comments gleaned from inter-spousal communications hashed out in the media.