Monday’s New York Times “The Daily” podcast was uncharacteristically obtuse and irritating.
Topic: “What the last few weeks mean for the future of the Supreme Court.”
How about “What the last few weeks mean for the future of the United States Senate,” since nothing has happened that delegitimatizes the court, but a lot has happened since 2016 to make people despise the Senate for treating Justices as partisan political actors, a role the Justices themselves shun.
Let me put it another way: I don’t think that Democrat Presidents get vote pledges or even winks and nods from their court nominees. Neither do Republicans. I prefer Republican nominees from the expectation (which has been frustrated more than once) that they hold a judicial (not political) philosophy that will produce decisions I prefer (and think closer to the Constitution’s true meaning) as compared to those likely from Democrat nominees.
For me, the court is presumed to be Teflon to Senatorial misbehavior. Senators can beslime a nominee, but swearing in washes right off from the nominee all the Senate’s slime. Senators can beslime themselves, too, and that lingers..
Democrats and/or progressives reportedly are concerned about whether they can get a fair shake now from Justice Kavanaugh.
I suspect they will, though it’s possible that Justice Kavanaugh feels, and will continue to feel, the equivalent of what Clarence Thomas reportedly said upon learning that he head been confirmed: “Whoopty-damn-do. Now where do I go to get my reputation back? It wasn’t worth it.”
If they can’t get a fair shake because of the last few weeks, it will be a shame. It will also be an illustration of what trial lawyers say about cross-examining sympathetic witnesses: “If you wound, you’d better kill.
Unrelated to the Times podcast, it’s ironic that progressives/Democrats were saying Kavanaugh will overturn Roe” with conservatives/Republicans replying “no he won’t.”
UPDATE: I wish Justice Kavanaugh, already sworn in, had talked The Donald out of that Monday evening dog-and-pony-show “shadow swearing in,” the slime of which linger a bit longer because … Trump.
UPDATE 2: Here’s a more thorough scrutiny of Monday’s night’s unseemly events:
Though ceremonial swearings-in like the one Mr. Kavanaugh received are not unheard-of, President Barack Obama’s two court picks, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wisely eschewed such spectacles after they were confirmed, asserting their independence from the president who chose them. Mr. Kavanaugh, unwisely, did not follow their example, dragging his fellow justices to an event that at times felt like a Trump victory lap. “The White House ceremony, which included cocktails and a band, in some ways felt like a cross between a campaign rally and a wedding reception,” The Post’s Ashley Parker and John Wagner reported. Also in attendance were Fox News’s poisonous conservative provocateur Laura Ingraham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
In my mind, Justice Kavanaugh damaged himself more by not following the Kagan and Sotomayor approach than he ever did in the confirmation hearings.
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