One of the more disturbing parts of Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was how it laid bare the core of Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy, if you can even call it a judicial philosophy:
KAVANAUGH: Since my nomination in July, there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.
And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.
These remarks appear to point to Brett Kavanaugh having a pretty clear agenda: revenge upon his left-wing enemies.
And it isn’t just these remarks that illustrate this potential agenda. It is also Brett Kavanaugh’s history, starting with his role in Republican attempts to take down Bill Clinton:
Brett actually makes a cameo appearance in my memoir of my time in the GOP, “Blinded By The Right.” I describe him at a party full of zealous young conservatives gathered to watch President Bill Clinton’s 1998 State of the Union address — just weeks after the story of his affair with a White House intern had broken. When the TV camera panned to Hillary Clinton, I saw Brett — at the time a key lieutenant of Ken Starr, the independent counsel investigating various Clinton scandals — mouth the word “bitch.”
But there’s a lot more to know about Kavanaugh than just his Pavlovian response to Hillary’s image. Brett and I were part of a close circle of cold, cynical and ambitious hard-right operatives being groomed by GOP elders for much bigger roles in politics, government and media. And it’s those controversial associations that should give members of the Senate and the American public serious pause.
Both Ted and Brett had what one could only be called an unhealthy obsession with the Clintons — especially Hillary. While Ted was pushing through the Arkansas Project conspiracy theories claiming that Clinton White House lawyer and Hillary friend Vincent Foster was murdered (he committed suicide), Brett was costing taxpayers millions by pedaling the same garbage at Starr’s office.
A detailed analysis of Kavanaugh’s own notes from the Starr Investigation reveals he was cherry-picking random bits of information from the Starr investigation — as well as the multiple previous investigations — attempting vainly to legitimize wild right-wing conspiracies. For years he chased down each one of them without regard to the emotional cost to Foster’s family and friends, or even common decency.
Kavanaugh was a principal author of the Starr Report to Congress, released in September 1998, on the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clintonsex scandal; the report argued on broad grounds for Clinton’s impeachment. Kavanaugh had urged Starr to ask Clinton sexually graphic questions, and described Clinton as being involved in “a conspiracy to obstruct justice”, having “disgraced his office” and “lied to the American people”. The report provided extensive and explicit descriptions of each of the President’s sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, a level of detail which the authors described as “essential” to the case against Clinton.
Then, after taking part in Republican efforts to impeach Bill Clinton, Brett Kavanaugh took part in Republican efforts to stop the Florida recount during the Presidential election of 2000, so that George W. Bush could be elected President:
This time, it was the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. With the Florida votes still undecided in December because of a state-mandated recount due to the razor-thin margin of the election results, Kavanaugh joined Bush’s legal team, which was trying to stop the ballot recount in the state.
Brett Kavanaugh is not a conservative judge. He is a Republican judge. Neither John Roberts nor Samuel Alito not Clarence Thomas nor Neil Gorsuch ever betrayed such a partisan history or partisan agenda as has been displayed by Brett Kavanaugh.
And this all lies at the feet of Mitch McConnell, whose raison d’etre has been nothing but partisan warfare. Mitch McConnell has done more to destroy confidence in the United States Government than perhaps anyone in history. First assuming leadership as the Senate Minority leader in 2006, Mitch McConnell laid bare his partisan agenda in 2010 when he declared that his party’s top priority was not to help the country, but instead to deny President Obama a second term:
And his strategy never strayed from that directive. Mitch McConnell led a mission to obstruct each and everything President Obama attempted to accomplish. When McConnell was the Senate Minority Leader, he presided over a record number of Senate filibusters by his minority party, bringing the government to an effective halt, ensuring that no problems could be solved by a Congress that McConnell almost single-handedly ensured could not work together:
Opposition Republicans are using the delaying tactic at a record-setting pace.
“The numbers are astonishing in this Congress,” says Jim Riddlesperger, political science professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
The filibuster, using seemingly endless debate to block legislative action, has become entrenched like a dandelion tap root in the midst of the shrill partisanship gripping Washington.
McConnell strategized that the blame for the country’s unsolved problems would go toward Obama, while McConnell counted on the gerrymandered congressional districts and makeup of the Senate (Wyoming, which has 1/70th of the population of California gets the same amount of Senators) to allow his partisan agenda to remain unpunished by any electoral consequences. And he has been proven right…so far. Since Mitch McConnell was elected Senate Minority Leader in November of 2006, public approval of Congress has gone steadily lower, yet Republicans took control of the House in 2010 and Senate in 2014 and have maintained their majority in each.
Having helped wreck Congress and hinder any progress attempted by President Obama, Mitch McConnell next set his sights on obstructing the judicial branch:
Next Tuesday marks 125 days since President Barack Obama nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland, an eminently qualified judge, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate’s inaction on the Garland nomination is the longest a Supreme Court nominee has ever waited for a hearing or confirmation. When the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reconvenes in September, the wait for a vote—let alone a hearing—will have grown to 176 days.
The blame for this unprecedented delay can largely be placed at the feet of Sen. McConnell. Under his leadership, the Senate has refused to do its job of offering advice and consent on the nominee. Moreover, by this and other actions—or more rightly put, inaction—Sen. McConnell has all but sealed his legacy as an obstructionist.
Since Sen. McConnell assumed the role of majority leader in January 2015, he has shown an unwillingness to make any sort of progress in the Senate, particularly in confirming federal judges. As a result, the number of U.S. District and Circuit court vacancies in the federal judiciary is growing. Vacancies under Sen. McConnell jumped from 40 when he took office in 2015 to 79 in late June 2016, a 97.5 percent increase. Federal courts face severe backlogs because of these vacancies. Plaintiffs alleging discrimination in the workplace must wait longer for their case to be heard; companies accused of violating environmental law go unpunished; and indigent criminal defendants are denied a speedy trial.
Mitch McConnell wasn’t just trying to ruin Obama’s Presidency, either. He also stuck his nose into the 2016 election, and ultimately helped Donald Trump, a mentally ill reality TV star, gain the Presidency by covering up the fact that Russia was influencing the election.
“The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’ ” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.
… McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims.
And now, after doing his best to ruin the country’s confidence in the Presidency and in the Congress, Mitch McConnell is trying to ruin the country’s confidence in the Supreme Court by forcing through a Supreme Court nomination on a party line basis (after removing the 60 vote requirement) for a judge whose history consists solely of being a partisan operative and who told the country of his partisan agenda on national TV.
History will not look kindly on Mitch McConnell. In everything he has done, he has put the Republican party before the good of the country. And Brett Kavanaugh is the cherry on top of McConnell’s partisan sundae.
This is a slow-motion coup of Democracy. It’s not that Mitch McConnell and the GOP are unconcerned by the fact that their actions are harming the country’s confidence in our government, they actively want the country to lose confidence in the government. They want voters to become beaten down, to feel as if their vote doesn’t matter, because they do not want people to vote. They are trying to entrench party power so that they can rule without any fear of electoral consequence, and a loss of confidence in the government plays right into that hand.