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It’s Time to Stop Worrying About the Optics

In the case of the confirmation of Brett Kananaugh as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, we are watching, in real time, a train wreck of at least 229 years of jurisprudence.  A train wreck that will have repercussions that will turn our future world upside down.  And all of this is because several key people in the Republican Party are more interested in their hatred of President Donald Trump or the optics of what is going on than the facts behind this train wreck.

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, replacing the retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, on July 9, 2018.

The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh kicked off a cycle of investigations, interviews, and review of his past work by the Senate Judiciary Committee which is tasked with the review and initial consideration of the nominee’s qualifications and suitability for the position they’ve been selected to assume. 

Immediately, the political games were started by the Democrats on the Committee.  Their goal was to disrupt and prevent the confirmation of a constitutionalist jurist to replace the ‘swing’ vote which bridged the divide between the 4 largely conservative jurists (Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Gorsuch) and the 4 consistent liberal jurists (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan).  Adding another conservative jurist was seen by the Democrats as effectively tipping the Supreme Court from one that could on some issues, like same-sex marriage, be an leftist activist court to one that would rein in activist judges or discover unwritten new ‘rights’ buried within the US Constitution.

The Democrats demanded access to not only the massive amount of writings by Judge Kavanaugh from his time on the DC Circuit, but also full and unlimited access to all paperwork that he worked on from his tenure with the George W. Bush White House between 2001 and 2006 regardless of those materials typically being subject to executive privilege.  They sought to delay the Committee’s review of Kavanaugh over these demands, while they also used every means they had to uncover or fabricate anything that could be spun by their ideological partners in the media to disqualify Kavanaugh.

Over 60 Committee meetings were held on the issue of the review of Judge Kavanaugh’s.  This was followed by 4 days of open hearings that kicked off on September 5, 2018.  These open hearings were immediately turned into a circus by the Democrat members of the Committee.  Seconds after gaveling the hearings into session, several Democrat members interrupted Chairman Grassley demanding that the hearings be postponed.  At the same time, dozens of protesters, invited to the proceedings by Democrats on the Committee, began to disrupt the hearings with the meme that a constitutionalist conservative Judge would repeal Roe v Wade, the landmark SCOTUS ruling which legalized abortion.

Despite these shenanigans, all gleefully covered and highlighted by a media resolutely on the side of the leftist politicians, the members of the Committee had substantial time to query Judge Kavanaugh on his legal viewpoints, on his approach to be a Judge, and on his background.  Many other witnesses testified before the Committee of his character, skill, and knowledge of the law.  

By the end of these four days, it looked as if the circus was over and Brett Kavanaugh was going to be passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line 11-10 vote…with a likely Senate confirmation of 51-55 votes to confirm if several Democrats crossed over as was widely anticipated.

But instead of proceeding to the Committee vote, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein launched “Operation Desperation” with the announcement that her office had, since late July, a letter from a person who accused Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault and attempted rape 36 years ago when he was 17 and she was 15. Senator Feinstein noted that the accuser desired to remain anonymous, but that in the era of #MeToo, the accuser was instantly credible, and Brett Kavanaugh was completely unsuitable for a position on the US Supreme Court.

Her call was repeated by every other Democrat member of the Committee, and the majority of Democrat Senators, already on record of opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation because he was a Republican nominee, joined in.  So did the vast majority of the press. 

Despite her previous demands for anonymity, the accuser, Christine Ford, outed herself in a Washington Post article the weekend after Feinstein’s announcement.  This article downplayed the accuser’s vague memories of specifics of the alleged event, noted that the accuser had in July retained a legal team of Democrat activists – who then noted that Dr. Ford took and passed a polygraph – as if that was all that was needed to confirm the veracity of the accusation.  They then demanded an immediate delay to any further Senate Judiciary Committee proceedings on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation until the FBI conducted a full and complete criminal investigation into the accusation.

Largely lost in the flood of outrage and demands that the accuser must be believed because of her gender, were some key questions that no one wanted to answer.  Most are still unanswered.  

We don’t know why Senator Feinstein’s office sat on the accusations until after the 4 days of public hearings and a successful vote was apparent.  She or her staff never brought up the letter with any other members of the Committee or staff until she went public with its existence.  Not once in the 60+ committee meetings.  Not once in the several private interviews and meetings she had with Brett Kavanaugh. Not once during the 4 days of public (and televised) hearings.

Beyond the questionable timing and handling, come questions about the missing specifics and clear gaps in the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh.  That several of the alleged witnesses named to the alleged assault, said it never happened as clearly as Brett Kavanaugh denies ever doing what he is accused of doing. 

Yet, because of this era of #MeToo, key Senate Republicans, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and others less than supportive of the President, any two of whom could defeat Kavanaugh’s confirmation in a Senate vote, seconded the demands for delays and granting new hearings to discuss the accusations.   

With the media once again accusing the Republicans of misogyny and a bias against women, Chairman Grassley decides that the best course of action is to not play to that false meme and enter in ‘negotiations’ with the accuser and her legal team for new hearings to permit Dr. Ford to ‘tell her story’.

This brings us to circus #3, the delays and starts / stops regarding an ever-changing series of demands from the accuser and her legal team on the timing and conditions of her being willing to appear to discuss her 36 year old accusation.  Deadlines set by Chairman Grassley for this past Friday at 10am are extended to 10pm and then extended once again as the accuser isn’t willing to appear on Monday, the 24th. 

She wants to define when she appears.  The way she is permitted to make her statement, and assurances that she will not be subject to a cross-examination.  She wants her safety assured as if there is an expectation of violence against her at the hearing.  She insists that the person she is accusing of a crime isn’t present and that any testimony from him on the accusation occurs before she testifies so she has the last word.

Simply, she is demanding that centuries of jurisprudence are eliminated or else she will not participate.  Gone is the presumption of innocence.  Or the right of the accused to face their accuser.  It is replaced with the presumption of guilt.  The concepts of ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’ are eliminated and replaced with ‘J’accuse’.  While women like Juanita Broderick, who was allegedly raped by Bill Clinton while he was the Arkansas AG, had their accusations dismissed and character assassinated, Dr. Ford, because she accuses a man of the right, is instantly credible.

In these optics, we see once again, a Republican Party that is unwilling to stand up for the actual principles of justice, fairness, and equality. One willing to negotiate with people who are unserious about negotiating.  Who are playing into the delaying tactics which are intended to delay the process until public opinion, or multitudes of other alleged victims, end any possibility of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.  

Deadlines set are always extended because the Republicans want to look like they are being ‘fair’ to the accuser. 

Democrat members of the Judiciary Committee and their staff often aren’t participating with Republican efforts to grant their demands for new hearings – and Senator Feinstein continues to refuse to turn over to the Committee the original unredacted accusatory letter her office received from the Democrat Congressional Representative for the district Dr. Ford resides in.

Chairman Grassley seems intent on letting this charade and circus continue.  He seems content to let the Democrats set the initiative.

Meanwhile, the Democrat base is fired up by both the latest example of ‘Resistance’ and the lack of fortitude by the Republicans to support their President and his nominee.  This also has the effect of demoralizing a Republican base who are tired of a milquetoast GOP Senate that rarely is willing to find a hill to fight on.

It’s past time to stop this charade.  It’s past time to stop worrying about the optics and do what is right.  To stand on some of the core principles of this nation.  To not let ‘J’accuse’ become the mantra of the left – and the new standard of jurisprudence.

Set and stick to a deadline.  You define the conditions under which Dr. Ford speaks and if she doesn’t like them, then just hold the damn vote. 

Stop trying to appease the left.  It can’t be done.

And once the vote is done, Senator Diane Feinstein needs to be censored for her craven and fundamentally wrong handling of this matter.  These abuses cannot be permitted to continue.  

And if the Republican Senate can’t do this, then what good are you as our representatives?

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