Wednesday, 03 October 2018 08:20

Trump's mockings, Kavanaugh issue hurts GOP with women's vote

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Demery’s is the bar where SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh got into a fight in 1985. The fracas required police intervention and  a member of his party was arrested. The altercation started when Kavanaugh tossed a drink at another patron after a verbal engagement. In close proximity to Yale, the bar no longer exists but was widely known as a wild joint known for its Friday night brawls and underage drinking.

The allure of dives, though, isn’t the issue. It’s Kavanaugh’s assertion that he never engaged in bad behavior when drinking that’s making his confirmation so contentious. Women are especially bitter about his denials of inappropriate conduct towards them following the testimony of Dr. Christine Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It doesn’t help that Trump mocked her at a Mississippi rally .

Former Associate Justice Abe Fortas, nominated by LBJ to be chief justice in 1968, had a rough go, too, when Republicans conducted a no holds barred campaign to defeat him. Fortas, once a Yale professor, was accused of accepting legal, but large, speaking fees. GOP senators alleged they’d  impact future rulings. Sen Strom Thurmond, (R) SC, went further and questioned Fortas’ opinions in obscenity cases.

To make this point, Thurmond staged a “Fortas Film Festival.” It featured films with pornographic content that Fortas said was protected by the 1st Amendment. Especially galling to conservatives were depictions of rape and homosexuality, and Fortas’ nomination failed to get the votes needed  for cloture, though a 45-43 majority voted for him, anyway. Fortas would later resigned from the court.

Whether a nominee’s indiscretions from decades past are pertinent to current fitness depends on the gravity of the allegations, their merits, and how they’re characterized by the nominee. Americans believe in second chances but lying about the past raises questions about a judge’s present trustworthiness. The is evidence Kavanaugh lied about his drinking and aggression towards women.

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Supreme Court justices are expected to be exemplars which includes respecting everyone regardless of gender. Lying about outrageous behavior towards women, in all circumstances, is unacceptable. Kavanaugh’s denials he was ever inappropriate, despite credible evidence to the contrary, has galvanized female opposition to the nominee. Republicans can ill afford the heat and the allegations call into questions other denials made by the judge during his confirmation. 

Pushing for a vote on the nominee after a cursory reopened FBI investigation, under the aegis of the White House, only exacerbates the Party’s female  problems. Nor does dissipate the belief of many  the nomination is more closely related to Kavanaugh’s views on presidential immunities than interpretation of  laws, nerally.

The nominee has painted himself into a corner. If he’s seated there’s a danger additional facts about his past may come forward. If they do, it’d damage the court, itself. Kavanaugh should consider a Fortas--exit and step away in favor of a nominee with less baggage. There’s no shortage of qualified candidates and the act would serve the interests of justice while helping his party.

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