Brett Kavanaugh Has Lied His Way Onto the Supreme Court

Oct 09, 2018, 11:27 AM

The Nation

Republican leaders of the Senate refused to organize a confirmation process that might have allowed senators to provide honest advice and consent regarding Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. This failure of duty, orchestrated with deliberate intent by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, has resulted in a narrow 50-48 confirmation vote for Kavanaugh—a vote that will be remembered as one of the most dishonorable decisions in the long history of an often-blameworthy institution.

McConnell and Grassley—a pair of White House hirelings who were assisted in their infamy by blank-stare partisans such as Jeff Flake and Susan Collins—upended the constitutionally defined provisions for the oversight of presidential nominations for the high-court bench. By Saturday evening, Kavanaugh had been sworn in as a justice whose championship of expanded executive authority threatens to further erode the separation of powers as outlined by the Constitution.

But this does not mean the system of checks and balances must continue to give Kavanaugh a pass. He is no longer under the protection of the Senate, and that means that Justice Kavanaugh can and should face the accountability moment that was denied by McConnell’s debasement of the confirmation process.

The measure of that debasement is found in the confirmation of Kavanaugh, a man whom former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has dismissed as unfit to sit on the high court.

The reasons for keeping Kavanaugh, a veteran political operative and determined judicial activist, off the Court were outlined by dissenting members of the Senate during the debate that preceded Saturday’s extraordinary vote, and by thousands of protesters who rallied around the Supreme Court Building and the Capitol. Those protests continued through the confirmation vote, which was interrupted by a woman who cried “Shame!’ from the Senate gallery as Vice President Mike Pence completed the charade.

Some of the arguments against Kavanaugh were political. Some were practical. Some were moral. Many of them intersected in the message from a group of women, angered with the failure of the Senate to take seriously allegations of sexual abuse against the nominee, who unfurled a banner that read survivors vote: november is coming.

Posters denouncing Kavanaugh’s “Pattern of Lies” reminded everyone of the corruption of the confirmation process by a Republican majority that refused to address the nominee’s deliberate dishonesty in testimony under oath to the Judiciary Committee.

That dishonesty must not be dismissed by responsible members of the Congress.

No matter what Trump, Pence, McConnell, and Grassley claim, and no matter what cautious Democratic strategists might suggest, Congress cannot ignore credible evidence that Kavanaugh lied while under oath. The list of the justice’s documented lies continues to grow. It is more than sufficient to merit an investigation into Kavanaugh’s lawless behavior by the House Judiciary Committee. That investigation has already been discussed by the man who will chair the committee if Democrats win the House in November, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler.

Nadler explains that, with “the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”

One of the ablest arbiters of constitutional issues in the Congress, Nadler proposes the dutiful examination of the Kavanaugh nomination that was thwarted by Senate leaders. “We can’t have a justice on the Supreme Court for the next several decades who will be deciding questions of liberty, and life, and death, and all kinds of things for the entire American people who has been credibly accused of sexual assaults, who has been...