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Twelve days ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy stepped down and Monday night the pick to replace him was in. President Trump named D.C. Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The president sought a candidate who would “do what the law requires” and “apply the Constitution as written.”
That is also what Trump supporters are looking for, and why Democrats opposed Trump’s whole list. For Democrats, the Supreme Court is a robed politburo that gives them what they fail to win through the electoral process. Even before the announcement of Kavanaugh, who clerked for Anthony Kennedy, they were turning up the volume to eleven. The battle to confirm Kavanaugh is certain to be fierce, so all age groups, Millennials in particular, might profit from a review of the Democrats’ grand inquisitors of the past.
Ohio Democrat Senator Howard Metzenbaum, a veteran of Communist Party fronts such as the National Lawyers Guild, took the lead against black conservative Clarence Thomas in 1991. Metzenbaum thought he was intellectually superior to the Bush nominee, but Thomas, a Yale man like Kavanaugh, made him look a fool. It was likely Metzenbaum who leaked Anita Hill’s fake story, and the Democrat pushed hard on the sexual harassment allegations.
When black businessman John Doggett testified in favor of Thomas, Metzenbaum charged that Doggett was also guilty of sexual harassment. White liberal Joe Biden also attacked on that front.
“From my standpoint as a black American,” Thomas said, “as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
Thomas’ “high-tech lynching” charge enraged West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, a former Ku Klucker who also voted against Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. Byrd voted against Thomas and so did Sen. Ted Kennedy, who in 1969 left Mary Jo Kopechne to die at Chappaquiddick. In 1984, Kennedy colluded with KGB boss Yuri Andropov to try and prevent the reelection of Ronald Reagan, who in 1987 nominated Robert Bork to the high court.
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions,” Sen. Ted Kennedy famously charged.
Blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy. America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks. Yet in the current delicate balance of the Supreme Court, his rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.
The damage that President Reagan will do through this nomination, if it is not rejected by the Senate, could live on far beyond the end of his presidential term. President Reagan is still our President. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and on the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
Expect that kind of fare, or worse, in the hearing for Kavanaugh, which could well feature an escalation. Their lead inquisitor will be Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 85, ranking member of the Senate judiciary Committee. Long before Donny Deutsch charged that Trump voters are Nazis the San Francisco Democrat was the loudest voice for the leftist boilerplate that the nation is bristling with Nazis.
Last September, in a confirmation hearing involving Amy Coney Barrett and Joan Larsen, both on President Trump’s original list, Feinstein said the backdrop for the hearing was the “neo-Nazis and white supremacists” in Charlottesville. “These are ideologies that people across the world died in a war fighting to defeat Nazism,” and just in case anybody wondered, “there isn’t any good in Nazism.”
Feinstein went on to tell Amy Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, including two adopted Haitians, “you are controversial” and that “dogma lives loudly within you.”
Led by Feinstein, the Democrats will surely deploy the Nazi smear in the confirmation hearing. But don’t expect any arguments on Roe v. Wade. If that 1973 ruling does come up after confirmation, Kavanaugh and the court won’t need any religious arguments.
The late Christopher Hitchens, an atheist, contended that life begins at conception because there is no other place where it can begin. The late Nat Hentoff, not known as a religious conservative, argued that a change of address does not make you a human being. Neither arguments depends on dogma of any kind.
And now abide bigotry, ignorance and slander. All live loudly within Democrats.
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images