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Capra Meets Kafka: Political Intrigue Too Bizarre for Fiction

In Justice on Trial, a devastatingly-thorough journalistic account of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino—both seasoned Washington hands—expose a tale of political intrigue more hair-raising than the conventions of fiction. When I was growing up in the D.C. area, a political novel based in the nation’s capital, such as Fletcher Knebel’s Seven Days in May (1962) and Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent (1959), typically featured coup attempts and similar treachery. Likewise, the hit 1975 movie, Three Days of the Condor, portrayed a rogue intelligence operation within the CIA. The villains were all insiders, a scenario reinforced by the real-life drama of Watergate. 

Then the familiar plot line changed inside the Beltway, as leftist operatives emerged during the Reagan administration to influence events through well-organized external machinations. Starting with the Left’s demonization of Robert Bork during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1987, and continuing with the attempted (but unsuccessful) take-down of Clarence Thomas in 1991, outside interest groups learned they could sabotage judicial nominees by “borking” them with phony charges, demagogic rhetoric, and character assassination. Their motivation is clear. Decades of judicial activism, exemplified by Roe v. Wade, have turned the U.S. Supreme Court into the nation’s most powerful political body. A majority of nine unelected (and life-tenured) justices decide policy for the entire country, making Supreme Court appointments far more important than elections themselves.

This is obviously not what the Framers intended for the “least dangerous” branch. The Senate’s “advice and consent” is not supposed to be an ad hoc referendum on hot button issues not even addressed by the Constitution, such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Yet here we are. As a result, confirmation hearings have become a battleground for organizations seeking to promote or preserve their political agendas. 

The forces of the anti-Trump Resistance went into a frenzy in 2018 when the President nominated Kavanaugh, a highly-respected 12-year veteran of the D.C. Circuit, to replace the pivotal Justice Anthony Kennedy—potentially tipping the balance of power on the Court. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer immediately announced his steadfast opposition. The Democrats came into the hearings with a desire for revenge due to the perceived slight of President Obama’s stillborn nominee for the Scalia seat, Merrick Garland, but events ultimately took on a life of their own. Due to sensational—but often one-sided and superficial—news coverage, most people are familiar with at least the highlights of the Kavanaugh story, but Justice on Trial provides a gripping blow-by-blow narrative. The details are highly disturbing—sometimes even shocking. 

Spoiler alert: An exemplary candidate was defamed and vilified, on the basis of unfounded (and largely unbelievable) allegations by a variety of questionable witnesses. The openly-biased news media establishment aired the baseless charges against Kavanaugh, unfiltered, stoking a public spectacle that demeaned the Senate and would have cowed a man less resolute than an indignant Kavanaugh, backed by an unwavering President Trump. It was an ugly episode in American politics—perhaps the worst in my lifetime—combining the most disgraceful elements of the Bork and Thomas hearings. Kavanaugh squeaked through by the narrowest of margins, and only after his reputation was unfairly impugned by Congress and the media.

It is important to understand precisely what happened, and at whose hand, so history can judge the malefactors responsible, and so that our institutions can make sure that this circus is never repeated. Justice on Trial is an impressive work—truly the “definitive account” of the Kavanaugh confirmation. Meticulously researched, and reflecting “background” interviews with over 100 insiders (including President Trump), the book combines superb reporting with deft pacing, putting the Kavanaugh confirmation in its larger political and historical context. The reader feels like a fly on the wall, behind the scenes, as the events dramatically unfold. Despite the authors’ right-of-center orientation, and Severino’s leadership role in the pro-Kavanaugh Judicial Crisis Network (which was formed in 2005 to counter the deep-pocketed People for the American Way), their perspective is admirably objective. 

The lengthy “rogue’s gallery” in this chronicle includes the progressive groups that orchestrated the unruly protests (such as the Soros-funded Center for American Progress and the shadowy Center for Popular Democracy), unethical lawyers who likely suborned perjury (not limited to Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick), reckless reporters who uncritically repeated lurid smears, no matter how far-fetched, and of course the grandstanding Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who pandered to a disruptive audience. Readers can judge for themselves whether the much-heralded testimony of Christine Blasey Ford about an incident that allegedly occurred decades earlier—and raised at the 11th hour—was worthy of belief, but the authors make a powerful case that it was entirely fabricated. Certainly the “full story,” including a fair-minded examination of Ford’s adventurous high school years at Holton-Arms and a rigorous investigation of the details of her allegations, remains to be told. 

Ford was a liberal partisan who had expressed extreme antipathy to President Trump, and who had—suspiciously—scrubbed her social media profile months before making her vague allegations against Kavanaugh public. Incredibly, the Washington Post and other media partisans presumed that Ford’s unsubstantiated story was true, rejected even the possibility of an ulterior motive on her part, and suggested that any skepticism amounted to “victim shaming” or a personal attack. Conversely, an overwhelmingly hostile media contemptuously rejected Kavanaugh’s consistent and unequivocal denial of Ford’s allegations. Hemingway and Severino aptly characterize the New York Times and the Washington Post as “the public relations arm of the anti-Kavanaugh movement.” 

Despite the kid glove treatment Ford received from the Judiciary Committee, her much-hyped testimony was underwhelming. The lack of corroboration for Ford’s allegations, numerous gaps and inconsistencies that emerged from the gentle questioning of outside counsel Rachel Mitchell (conducted awkwardly in five-minute increments), and the inherent implausibility of Ford’s account left many observers questioning her credibility—although the media (which the authors slyly refer to as “the cable news peanut gallery”) uniformly pronounced her utterly convincing. Kavanaugh turned the tide with his fiery testimony—a forensic tour de force more powerful than even Clarence Thomas’s dramatic peroration in 1991. Left-wing activists had turned the confirmation process from “advice and consent” to “search and destroy,” Kavanaugh charged. Hemingway and Severino note that Kavanaugh’s “bold defense of his life, his reputation, and of the rule of law” moved many listeners to tears. 

However, it was Sen. Lindsey Graham’s electrifying questioning of Kavanaugh that “changed the entire dynamic of the day,” in the authors’ estimation, with a full-throated denunciation of the opposition as the “most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.” Graham signaled to his fellow Republicans that the time for accommodating Ford and her handlers was over. Frank Capra could not have crafted a more cathartic denouement. Unlike a Hollywood ending, however, the story did not conclude on that triumphant note, and a few more cliff-hanging moments awaited Kavanaugh before his fate was determined, due in part to the insistence of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake that the FBI investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh before a final Senate vote. In the meantime, Rachel Mitchell undermined Ford’s story in a written report to Republican senators.

The FBI report, when it came out, contained no new revelations and actually cast doubt on Ford’s accusations—to which, the authors quip, “the media had ascribed almost biblical authority and which Kavanaugh’s defenders were terrified to attack directly.” For example, Leland Kaiser, a high school friend of Ford’s whom Ford contended was at the party where she was allegedly attacked, told the FBI that she did not know Kavanaugh and had no recollection of the incident. Despite enormous pressure, Senator Susan Collins of Maine delivered an important floor speech and ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh, as did Flake. The vote was 50 to 48. The Big Lie had nearly worked to defeat an exceptionally well-qualified nominee.

The story also prominently features those who stood beside Kavanaugh, whose qualities and efforts contributed to the favorable outcome of the hearings. These include President Trump, who chose Kavanaugh and never flinched during the ordeal; the unflappable White House counsel Don McGahn; Kavanaugh himself, credibly described in the book as “a remarkably straight arrow in and out of the courtroom”; his devout and supportive wife, Ashley; his devoted cadre of female friends (many dating back to high school!) and former clerks; and principled Senators who refused to succumb to the #MeToo media frenzy, particularly Chuck Grassley, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins. 

At Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, President Trump poignantly apologized to the Kavanaugh family, on behalf of the nation, “for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.” The President turned to Kavanaugh’s two young daughters and assured them that “your father is a great man. He is a man of decency, character, kindness, and courage who has devoted his life to serving his fellow citizens.”

Sadly, unless something changes, this travesty will be repeated if President Trump has occasion to appoint another justice to the Court. Given the recent trend, there may be an even more squalid sequel to this sordid tale. As Justice on Trial warns, “Compared with what might follow, the Kavanaugh confirmation might look like the good old days of civility . . . . The big unknown is whether America will let it happen again.” 

This outstanding book is a clarion call to the nation regarding the danger of a repeat performance.

Reader Discussion

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.

on August 02, 2019 at 11:38:14 am

This piece is Mark Pulliam at his finest and fullest, wrapping in the observable effects on LAW of the perversions of our legal system away from its 500 year evolution for determinations of obligations into a means for seeking economic, social and political ends.

Sadly, the perversions are not abating, but now are more and more entrenched; so more of the same (and worse) tactics to armor those perversions , even through subtleties, must be expected.

Whether the current "dike-works" of ongoing judicial appointments will do more than slow the now 60+ year trends remains to be seen.

Still, we can be grateful to have observers like Mark Pulliam. We will at least know "what happened," and, some "why."

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Image of R Richard Schweitzer
R Richard Schweitzer
on August 02, 2019 at 12:09:12 pm

As Kavanaugh is a dyed in the wool swamp creature himself, I didn't care much whether or not he was confirmed.

What was shocking was how debased, spineless and just plain ignorant the Senate has become.

The government of the US is now merely the regime the Supreme Court has created since 1925. As Law and Liberty continues to worship at the feet of the Supreme Court, I'm a bit surprised that Mr. Pulliam finds anything to criticize about the process of selecting a replacement Nazgûl.

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Image of EK
EK
on August 02, 2019 at 12:09:40 pm

In order to triumph, the atheist materialist believe they must do everything in their power to deny that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, Is The Author Of Love, Of Life, And Of Marriage. By denying this self evident truth, the atheistic materialists know it necessary follows that, our unalienable Rights that can only be endowed to us from The True God, will no longer be, unalienable.

Woe to all of us who have forgotten that this Nation was founded on Judeo - Christian principles, and that every time we have failed to uphold these Judeo-Christian principles, we have suffered both individually, and as a Nation. If we no longer desire to be One Nation, Under God, and thus, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all, Salvation History has revealed that that is when the conditions become ripe for tyranny and evil to prevail.

This political travesty of justice served as a catalyst to try to prevent a Supreme Court Judge who they feared might desire to Render onto God what belongs to God, from being elected. The lack of evidence for these false accusations, speaks for itself.

We are indeed, as Pope John Paul II, stated, at a Crossroad , for those who desire to continue to ‘Render onto God, The things that are God’s.

Who can deny that, “Through
some fissure”, Atheistic Materialism, has even found it’s way into the hierarchy of His One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church?

It is not possible, however, for a counterfeit church to subsist within Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, And Apostolic Church, due to The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, for it is not possible to have Sacramental Communion without Ecclesial Communion.

It has always been about The Marriage In Heaven and on Earth.

In order to save this Nation, we must return to our Founding
Christian principles, which serve in opposition to atheistic materialism, and thus serve for The Common Good.

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Image of Nancy
Nancy
on August 02, 2019 at 12:17:20 pm

So far as I know the Constitution does not mandate Senate hearings. That is a tradition and maybe a rule, both of which I presume can be dispensed with. The Democrats rendered hearings pointless with Bork; pointless, that is, to anything other than their grandstanding and defamation of character. Just don't have a hearing the next time.

The only solution to this situation is a political one. Only a resounding Trump victory next year has the chance to suppress the left's increasingly violent and outrageous behavior, at least drive it back underground for a time.

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Image of QET
QET
on August 02, 2019 at 12:28:03 pm

Brett Kavanaugh almost certainly lied in his testimony before Congress.

He lied about the meaning of "Devil's Triangle." He lied about the meaning of "boofed."

Apparently, it's OK for a Supreme Court nominee to lie in sworn testimony.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/2/17923574/brett-kavanaugh-ford-hearing-lies-republicans

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Image of Mark Bahner
Mark Bahner
on August 02, 2019 at 12:50:29 pm

If you think I “worship” at the feet of SCOTUS, I suggest you visit my website, Misrule of Law, and check out the essays under the heading “Constitutional Law” and “Judicial Activism.”

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Image of Mark Pulliam
Mark Pulliam
on August 02, 2019 at 12:54:56 pm

You need to review Section 2, Article 2 regarding the President's powers:
"... by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States..."

I would think "Advice and Consent" encompasses Senate hearings on such appointments.

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Image of R O
R O
on August 02, 2019 at 14:18:54 pm

Perhaps for an appointment to the "non-political" Branch, the Senate should adopt a rule to conduct its Advice and Consent in a non-political manner:

1) Decline public comment on the candidate's nomination during the process.

2) Reserve comments on candidate and vote taken until after the vote.

3) Conduct public hearings but not in the presence of TV/Video recording.

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Image of Paul Binotto
Paul Binotto
on August 02, 2019 at 15:04:05 pm

Please. A circus-like hearing is not logically entailed by the words A & C. No specific process is. Sure, a hearing seems like an appropriate procedure to carry out the A&C, but it is not Constitutionally mandated, and given what it has degenerated into, we'd be better off without it.

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Image of QET
QET
on August 02, 2019 at 15:54:19 pm

Oh Yes! It is perfectly within the New Order to deny SCOTUS nominees based on adolescent behaviour. 30 years on. I so agree. And you know what, my dear troll? The next ones will be attacked based upon how they handled food fights as toddlers. I can tell you were plain Nazi.

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Image of Peter Gee
Peter Gee
on August 02, 2019 at 16:27:46 pm

*DEVILS TRIANGLE*

Is that the place where all the democratic party rhetorical planes (read: flights of policy fancy) are mysteriously sucked into the ocean.
Isn't it somewhere near Bermuda.

The sheer gall of this New Justice!
He should be tarred and feathered.

Oh wait, I think he was - YET, he survived.

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Image of gargamel rules smurfs
gargamel rules smurfs
on August 02, 2019 at 17:22:48 pm

"It is perfectly within the New Order to deny SCOTUS nominees based on adolescent behaviour."

He was an adolescent when he lied under oath???

"I can tell you were plain Nazi."

Yeah, right. And who have you voted for President in the last few elections?

And to what party do you think these two guys holding Nazi flags belong?

https://media.graytvinc.com/images/690*388/Charlottesville8.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Charlottesville_%27Unite_the_Right%27_Rally_%2835780274914%29_crop.jpg/325px-Charlottesville_%27Unite_the_Right%27_Rally_%2835780274914%29_crop.jpg

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Image of Mark Bahner
Mark Bahner
on August 02, 2019 at 17:38:12 pm

And to what party do you think these guys belong?

https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2018/08/08/USAT/a2668b92-7c26-4736-b568-feb08d471e03-ax098_4a00_9.jpg?width=534&height=401&fit=bounds&auto=webp

https://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_1484w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2017/08/12/Local/Images/_82A2092.jpg?t=20170517

https://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/klcc/files/styles/x_large/public/201708/Flickr_RodneyDunning.jpg

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/xWDSBI8nz4M9xCW_80_oyiJm4jk=/0x0:3000x2000/1200x800/filters:focal(1015x602:1495x1082)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/60792717/unite_the_right_aug_12.0.jpg

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Image of Mark Bahner
Mark Bahner
on August 02, 2019 at 18:23:21 pm

Ok. Given that the current format is frequently badly abused when it suits the more irresponsible senators to turn it into a freak show-like vehicle for their agendas, I like Paul Binotto's guidelines below. Any other ideas on how to carry out the mandated A&C?

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Image of R O
R O
on August 02, 2019 at 18:28:09 pm

Heck, Mr. Pulliam, all he has to do is actually read the article he is commenting on, specifically:

"Decades of judicial activism, exemplified by Roe v. Wade, have turned the U.S. Supreme Court into the nation’s most powerful political body. A majority of nine unelected (and life-tenured) justices decide policy for the entire country, making Supreme Court appointments far more important than elections themselves."

If that constitutes worship I would shudder to see how you criticize someone. (Though I did enjoy his reference to the Supremes as Nazgûl.)

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Image of John Seymour
John Seymour
on August 02, 2019 at 21:08:27 pm

"He should be tarred and feathered.

Oh wait, I think he was – YET, he survived."

Are you aware of what tarring and feathering is? Despite Bret Kavanaugh's sniffling, I'm pretty sure what he went through wasn't as painful as being tarred and feathered.

And your comments--just like Mark Pulliam's piece--don't address the fact that Bret Kavanaugh lied under oath more than once...in order to obtain a seat on the Supreme Court!

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Image of Mark Bahner
Mark Bahner
on August 02, 2019 at 22:25:04 pm

[…] Read more: https://www.lawliberty.org/2019/08/02/capra-meets-kafka-hemingway-severino-kavanaugh-confirmation/ […]

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Image of Capra Meets Kafka: Political Intrigue Too Bizarre for Fiction | The American Tory
Capra Meets Kafka: Political Intrigue Too Bizarre for Fiction | The American Tory
on August 03, 2019 at 01:07:42 am

But Pulliam, you so quickly gloss over the fact that Bork was untrustworthy because of his role in Watergate (in carrying out the Saturday Night Massacre after those with conscience refused), and you likewise gloss over the political stonewalling of Merrick Garland's nomination. Don't these issues threaten the credibility of your argument?

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Image of SWMN
SWMN
on August 03, 2019 at 03:25:54 am

This book is reminiscent of David Brock's hit piece against Anita Hill in defense of sex harasser (and perjurer) Clarence Thomas. Although Kavansugh probably also committed perjury (he may truly not remember his sexual attack against Dr. Ford due to alcohol abuse), he has apparently lived an exemplary life for decades. There were also non-credible accusations against Judge Kavansugh, such as by Avenatti's client. So, the evidence is certainly mixed and there is much to criticize about the process. However, the attempt to weaken Dr. Ford's highly credible account, by laughably suggesting Kavanaugh's Senate testimony was heroic and trying to pick apart Ford's past betray the author's ulterior motive: to propagate the Big Lie that Ford's testimony was not compelling and credible. The review, just like the book, seeks neither truth not justice, while pretending to do the opposite.

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Image of Chris Matthewson
Chris Matthewson
on August 03, 2019 at 03:26:46 am

Anita Hill in defense of sex harasser (and perjurer) Clarence Thomas. Although Kavansugh probably also committed perjury (he may truly not remember his sexual attack against Dr. Ford due to alcohol abuse), he has apparently lived an exemplary life for decades. There were also non-credible accusations against Judge Kavansugh, such as by Avenatti's client. So, the evidence is certainly mixed and there is much to criticize about the process. However, the attempt to weaken Dr. Ford's highly credible account, by laughably suggesting Kavanaugh's Senate testimony was heroic and trying to pick apart Ford's past betray the author's ulterior motive: to propagate the Big Lie that Ford's testimony was not compelling and credible. The review, just like the book, seeks neither truth not justice, while pretending to do the opposite.

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Image of Chris Matthewson
Chris Matthewson
on August 03, 2019 at 08:54:38 am

Mark Pullmans bias is incredibly obvious in his writing... He cant help but lavish his language with adjectives that gush over eveything conservative and marginalize anything else. Then, there is the screaming halmark of conservative writing... Replacing facts with casual dismissals. There is no justification for assuming the accusations against Kavanaugh were unfounded.

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Image of Nigel
Nigel
on August 03, 2019 at 09:40:19 am

Christy,

You are one tool of the unthinking left if you believe Ford's testimony was anything other than a whole cloth fabrication, bought and paid for by her handlers. But you were a damned good pitcher.

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Image of Nick Adams
Nick Adams
on August 03, 2019 at 09:48:11 am

With respect to the Garland nomination, the Senate advised that they would not consent. The lack of a hearing was irrelevant. The Senate discharged its Constitutional duty.

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Image of Nick Adams
Nick Adams
on August 03, 2019 at 10:20:22 am

The big lie is that it is possible for a human person to conceive a son or daughter, who is not, in essence, a human person. Oh what a tangled web they have weaved in order to make it appear as if speciation does not occur at the moment of conception. an error in Substantive and thus Procedural Due Process Law, in order to justify the destruction of the innocent life of a son or daughter, residing in their mother’s womb.

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Image of Nancy
Nancy
on August 03, 2019 at 12:11:24 pm

"Advised that they would not consent." But unfortunately, that's not Constitutional. The Senate is required to provide advice AND consent.

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Image of smwn
smwn
on August 03, 2019 at 15:46:58 pm

The only thing that weakened blasey fords testimony were the facts and the lack thereof...the minute this country starts convicting people simply because a woman can cry when she talks then we will truly have lost our "home of the free" and be lost as a society...the only thing that keeps us safe from tyranny Is our judicial system based on the presumption of innocence. A presumption that was totally lacking for poor Brett kavanaugh who spent his entire adult life giving that same presumption to everyone who entered into his courtroom.

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Image of Sheryl
Sheryl
on August 03, 2019 at 21:36:44 pm

Prior to the nomination of Brandeis in 1913 there were no hearings for Supreme Court nominees.

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Image of lloyd
lloyd
on August 05, 2019 at 04:38:37 am

The presumption of innocence only applies in criminal cases, where the prosecutorial power of the state to take away your freedom is implicated. You have no such "presumption" when applying for a lifetime appointment to SCOTUS. Unfortunately, your ignorance of the law is matched only by your conservative bias.

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Image of Chris Matthewson
Chris Matthewson
on August 05, 2019 at 04:43:35 am

The first part of my comment was deleted. My entire comment was:
The book, like this review, is reminiscent of David Brock's right-wing propaganda book against Anita Hill in defense of sex harasser (and perjurer) Clarence Thomas. Although Kavanaugh probably also committed perjury (he may truly not remember his sexual attack against Dr. Ford due to alcohol abuse), he has apparently lived an exemplary life for decades. There were also non-credible accusations against Judge Kavansugh, such as by Avenatti’s client. So, the evidence is certainly mixed and there is much to criticize about the process. However, the attempt to weaken Dr. Ford’s highly credible account, by laughably suggesting Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony was heroic and trying to pick apart Ford’s past betray the author’s ulterior motive: to propagate the Big Lie that Ford’s testimony was not compelling and credible. The review, just like the book, seeks neither truth not justice, while pretending to do the opposite.

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Image of Chris Matthewson
Chris Matthewson
on August 05, 2019 at 04:45:27 am

You are correct, sir. It's just like liar David Brock's book, The Real Anita Hill.

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Image of Chris Matthewson
Chris Matthewson
on August 05, 2019 at 06:18:17 am

Goodness that’s a pathetic argument. The appointment is subject to the Senate’s advice and consent, in other words it requires both in order for an appointment to be valid. The clause does not obligate the Senate to consent. A right to provide consent obviously implies a right to withhold that consent.

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Image of John Seymour
John Seymour
on August 05, 2019 at 06:38:11 am

You know how ridiculous this is, right? That it is only your own progressive bias that makes both Ford’s testimony and this argument seem “compelling and credible.” Ford told a good story, unfortunately there are no facts that back her up. Some of the people she claimed were at the party denied being there, and in the end there were NO corroborating facts. None, not one. When someone makes public charges like this for the first time 30 years after the event, I think we are entitled to some evidence that the events in question actually occurred.

Something may have happened to Ford 30 years ago, but given the foibles of human memory, I don’t think even she has any real idea what it was. And Feinstein suspected it was weak as well, which is undoubtedly the way she played it the way she did.

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John Seymour
on August 05, 2019 at 08:52:04 am

So you open with "almost certainly" and then proceed immediately to drop that qualifier of your knowledge. We now know what you believe. But we have learned nothing. Good work. I hope I never find myself before your court where your beliefs as to what is "almost certain" will be sufficient to convict me.

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Image of QET
QET
on August 05, 2019 at 09:07:20 am

Credibility is a judgment, not a fact. You found Ford credible, I did not. But somehow you have transmuted your own, probably prejudiced judgment into fact that ought to have disqualified Kavanaugh. Other commenters here say that Kavanaugh "almost certainly lied," and that "there is no justification for assuming the accusations against Kavanaugh were unfounded." Then you lecture about criminal law. The mental contortions you and the others must go through to convince yourselves of your own arguments must take quite a toll on your minds. Here's a hint: what Kavanaugh was accused of is a crime. But Ford did not bring a criminal case because she knew she would never be able to prove her claim. So she waits for a more civil-like proceeding where everyone congratulates themselves on its preponderance of the evidence standard and then feels righteous in thundering against Kavanaugh and defaming his character in the worst way imaginable, solely on the basis of some testimony where the accuser was uncertain about everything except that it was Kavanaugh. No doubt you and the others are prepared to find any accuser of a Republican nominee credible and compelling (notwithstanding your dismissal of some of the ultra-fabulist pile-ons against him). We can only hope that one day you find yourself before a tribunal of the like-minded.

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Image of QET
QET
on August 09, 2019 at 08:44:37 am

"So you open with 'almost certainly' and then proceed immediately to drop that qualifier of your knowledge. We now know what you believe."

I used "almost certainly" because the certainty that he lied vastly exceeds a "preponderance of evidence," but in a courtroom might not reach "beyond a reasonable doubt." (A jury trial would be necessary to establish whether he lied "beyond a reasonable doubt.")

"But we have learned nothing. Good work."

You have learned that I think he almost certainly lied, and the two items about which I think he lied. If you can read, that is.

"I hope I never find myself before your court where your beliefs as to what is “almost certain” will be sufficient to convict me."

In case you're unaware of the situation, this was not a trial. It was an employment interview for a position on the Supreme Court. That fact that Republicans considered Brett Kavanaugh's behavior (e.g., almost certainly lying under oath, on more than one occasion) to be acceptable for a position on the Supreme Court shows just how pathetic Republicans are.

P.S. And the fact that Mark Pulliam doesn't even address Brett Kavanaugh's lies under oath makes me wonder whether the entire book even mentions Brett Kavanaugh's lies under oath. (But I'm not curious enough to actually buy the book.)

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Mark Bahner
on October 08, 2019 at 05:57:05 am

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Supermajority Rules as a Check on Hyperpartisan Removals
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