Long gone are the days when presidents nominated people worthy of sitting on the Supreme Court for decades. There was a time when nominees could garner overwhelming support in the Senate because partisanship was not the name of the game in DC. Ruth Ginsburg was approved 96-3, Anthony Kennedy 97-0, Sandra Day O’Connor 99-0, John Paul Stevens 98-0. Even right-wing troglodyte Antonin Scalia whizzed in with a 98-0 slate. That kind of bipartisanship has left the station, maybe never to return.
The core reason nominations to the Supreme Court have become so volatile is that Congress no longer wants to legislate, with the exception of passing falling-off-a-log easy bills like massive tax cuts and dedicating post offices. None of these invertebrates wants to work hard nor become attached to tough, controversial legislation that might upset their plans for life-long occupancy of a job on the government tit. Better to leave it to nine gnomes in black robes to tell the country what it can and can’t do.
Tackle campaign finance reform? Nah – kick it to the Supreme Court in the form of Citizens United. You don’t like Obamacare but can’t get the votes to repeal it (and don’t have a clue what to replace it with)? Find some aggrieved party to take a case to the Supremes. Feckless Evangelicals busting your balls about outlawing abortion but you don’t have the guts to actually pass such a law let alone float a bill? Go see the judges (as long as you’ve packed in at least five like-minded, mostly white male zealots.) Affirmative action got you down? Bring it to Clarence Thomas, the whitest black dude sitting on any court today. He hates affirmative action programs. And he should know – he benefited from them his whole adult life.
Things got really ugly in early 2016 after Scalia croaked, opening a slot for Obama to fill. Violating every norm, and – horrors! – the original intent of the founders, Mitch the Bitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland – the kind of accomplished, squeaky-clean, middle-of-the-road judge who would have been confirmed 95-5 a generation ago. Sadly, the Bitch got away with it and was able to hold the slot open until Trump showed up and nominated Neil Gorsuch. And although conservatives hail Gorsuch’s elevation as one of Trump’s signature accomplishments, it wouldn’t have happened had McConnell not ditched the filibuster of Supreme Court proceedings.
Now we’re witnesses to another fugly confirmation – this time of frat-boy Brett Kavanaugh. A confirmation that of late has been focused not on jurisprudence but penises, gang-rapes, drunken black-outs and lots of beer drinking. Can the fall of America be far behind?
Major Terata will not dive in to rehash the details that are plentiful and easily accessed elsewhere. Instead we lay out our unvarnished analysis of what really is going on behind the bluster, hand-wringing, and crocodile tears.
Topic 1: The delay in revealing Christine Blasey Ford’s shocking allegations of sexual assault.
Diane Feinstein has explained that she sat on the allegations for weeks because the accuser wanted to remain anonymous. The letter Blasey Ford wrote to Feinstein alleging an assault by Kavanaugh was leaked forcing the Senate Judicial committee to address the situation – much to the Republican’s chagrin, as they were gliding smoothly to confirming Trump’s second nominee. The Reps called foul – why did the Dems sit on these allegation so long and only reveal the slime right before the slam-dunk vote?
Simple: payback for Merrick Garland. The Reps threw all rules out the window and are now dealing with opponents who are following their playbook. Let the tantrums begin.
Topic 2: He said, she said. Then what?
Blasey Ford, when asked how certain she was that Kavanaugh assaulted her, she replied immediately “one hundred percent.” When it was his turn in the hot seat, Kavanaugh angrily declared that he was 100 percent innocent. Clearly no room for compromise on this basis.
Absent a King Solomon to cut Kavanaugh in half, how to resolve this conundrum?
Simple: Studly beer-drinking sot Kavanaugh blacked out – i.e. he was physically functional (albeit sloppy) but his ability to remember anything of the situation was completely incapacitated. Both Ford and Kavanaugh believe they are telling the truth, and would pass polygraphs. But the best explanation for the Grand Canyon gap in their recollections can best be resolved by relying on Kavanaugh’s now-well-known propensity to get hammered beyond recognition. I grew up around the same time as Kavanaugh when alcohol and dope were easily acquired, avidly consumed and present at all sorts of functions. Even some that took place in the middle of the week – not just on weekends like Kavanaugh suggested. I’ve witnessed unusual and outright bizarre behavior of friends who swore on a stack of bibles that they did not do the things everyone saw them do the night before. Alas, to Kavanaugh’s benefit, no cell phones then to video the action and post to Instagram.
Topic 3: Lindsey Graham’s Oscar-worthy outburst
Lindsey Graham – a guy who used to follow John McCain like a pet poodle and who would fit right in at Tara wearing a big hoop skirt – morphed into the Wicked Witch of the West the other day. Nearly suffering a case of the vapors, Lindsey bloviated about how the proceedings had devolved into a mean miasma of unfairness. So uncharacteristic of the gentleman from South Carolina. Why?
Simple: Dear Lindsey is up for re-election in 2020 and needs Trump on his side to fend off the many primary usurpers who want to take down what they see as an unsuitably conservative toad. He has to act like an out-of-control lunatic to impress Trump and earn his primary-killer endorsement next year. (Sidebar: In many ways, the motivation behind Lindsey’s outburst also explains why Kavanaugh angrily spit out his opening remarks in sharp contrast with those of his polite and demure accuser – to impress Trump. Undoubtedly, it was made known to Kavanaugh that if he somehow failed to get confirmed, Trump would lambaste him (and the Dems and fake news, of course), essentially consigning him to the garbage heap for the rest of his life.)
Although craven Lindsey talked shit about Trump during the 2016 campaign, he is now burrowing like a hamster deep into the Orange Poop Chute for air cover in 2020. It is almost surreal that a Trump sycophant like Lindsey once said this: “I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.” And this: “You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.” And this: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.”
Topic 4: Susan Collins in the wringer
Women aligned to the #MeToo movement were hoping for Maine Senator Susan Collins to vote against Kavanaugh because of the judge’s obvious animus toward Roe v Wade – a case that Collins considers the law of the land. She has portrayed herself as a champion of choice and a defendant of Roe. When Trump picked Kavanaugh from a list given to him by the Federalist Society, everyone knew the reasons were the judge’s anti-abortion positions and his views on presidential insulation from prosecution – something far more important to Trump than women’s rights. Collins must know Kavanuagh would strike down Roe if given the opportunity yet she seemed to accept his lame argument that Roe is settled law. News flash: every Supreme Court decision is settled law – until they overturn it. What’s going on?
Simple: Collins was counting on some other Republican senator to put the kibosh to Kavanaugh’s nomination: perhaps Lisa Murkowski of Alaska or the exiting Jeff Flake of Arizona. Collins assumed at least one other rep would flee and then she could follow with less fear of retribution. But now it looks like Flake’s gone squishy and Murkowski is silent.
In fact, Flake will toe the line even though he has nothing to lose, and the two females will cave as well.
And then we’ll have a Justice Kavanaugh rounding out a far-right ticket on the Supreme Court – and all the 18th Century thinking that that entails.