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Kavanaugh Column, News

Not with a Bang, But with a Whimper

Friday wrapped up the Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. After over thirty hours on the “hot seat,” far longer than any other Supreme Court nominee in recent memory, Judge Kavanaugh may be breathing a sigh of gratitude that he can return to a somewhat “normal” life while he awaits the formal Judiciary Committee vote on his nomination, set for September 20, 2018. Perhaps he’ll get some coaching in for his daughters’ basketball team at Blessed Sacrament Academy, which was present in force in the hearing room on Friday.

 

Friday’s session was a bit anticlimactic after the fireworks that anti-Kavanaugh senators brought earlier in the week. Internet live feeds showed witness statements in favor of and opposing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination being made to a virtually vacant Senate Judiciary Committee. The American Bar Association’s testimony was perhaps the most notable, with officials discussing Kavanaugh’s unanimous “well qualified” rating from the ABA. Asked whether Kavanaugh was a mainstream jurist, ABA official John Tarpley answered, “Absolutely. He’s at the top of the stream.”

 

This week’s nomination hearing may be remembered for quite a few face-palm inducing “Spartacus moments” on the part of Kavanaugh’s detractors, not the least of which was Cory Booker’s brave but failed attempt to break Senate rules in order to question Kavanaugh about a confidential email Booker refused to show him. But it was the determined but ultimately pathetic pro-abortion forces that generated the most faux mots, from California Senator Dianne Feinstein alleging on more than one occasion that before Roe, “between 200,000 and 1.2 million women” died from illegal abortions. Feinstein was attempting to cite an Alan Guttmacher Institute statistic that represents the number of women who had illegal abortions. The junior Senator from California, Kamala Harris, did Feinstein one better by (apparently) intentionally misrepresenting Kavanaugh’s judicial record by editing out the context of one of Kavanaugh’s opinions on the Affordable Care Act contraceptive mandate to make it appear that Kavanaugh was presenting the party’s views as his own. Far from chastened when the trick was uncovered, Harris tweeted:

 

Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control. He was nominated for the purpose of taking away a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake – this is about punishing women.

 

Kavanaugh’s performance over the week, on the other hand, was nothing less than sublime. He made an extraordinarily hostile and strenuous process look easy. As Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation remarked (available here – Session 9), “Kavanaugh at times displayed an almost encyclopedic knowledge, not only of his own decisions but of important Supreme Court decisions. If somebody took notes of the answers he’s given, you could use them to write a treatise on constitutional law.”