I have not followed the process closely, but here are some general thoughts:
1. After doing some cursory reading, I sensed that getting a good understanding of whether the process was appropriate and which side, Democrats and Republicans, would be striking the right balance between politics and responsibly fulfilling their Constitutional role would be difficult. My initial impression was that both sides were putting politics significantly ahead of responsibly fulfilling the role. In large part, I was reluctant to follow the process closer. There’s a scene in Seven Samurai that captures my mood and attitude. The villagers capture one of the bandits, and a violent mob begins to form around him. The samurai attempt to hold them back, saying that they must not hard him, as he’s a prisoner of war. Then, quietly, the village widow, whose son the bandits kill, hobbles out to the bandit with a hoe, and proceeds to kill him. The samurai, with resigned expressions, walk quietly away. The Republicans have let politics and the desire for power overcome them for a long time. The Democrats have shown far more restraint in my opinion, and have struck a better balance between partisanship and the serving the interests of the country (in the way they think is best). In this case, they haven’t, but it’s hard for me to protest too much. Hence, I’m turning away in resignation.
2. In this situation, I feel very confused about what to believe and who to believe. This is another reason I haven’t followed the story more closely. The issue makes me more aware of how much I depend on the opinion of pundits and the press to get a sense of what is true. Being in this state is uncomfortable.
3. Looking at this from afar, I can’t help but think of the position Bill Clinton was put in, when he had to testify under oath about Monica Lewinsky, and eventually lied about this. Some (many) people argued that Clinton should have just told the truth, that many in the public would have forgiven him. But I have my doubts that this is true, especially conservatives. It’s easy to say that one should tell the truth, arguing that the political damage would be minimal. But I’m skeptical we can be certain of that.
I hear similar arguments being made for Kavanaugh. “Just admit that you made a mistake, show remorse, etc.” Some people may accept this and be able to support his confirmation, but I’m pretty sure others, perhaps many others, would not. What would be the ratio? I have no idea, and so it’s not an easy call.
4. This doesn’t address whether Kavanaugh should even be confirmed if he is guilty of what he’s being accused of. Here, I have mixed feelings. If he sexually assaulted a 15 year old when he was 17, on one hand, I do think is good enough to prevent him from being on the SCOTUS. On the other hand, I suspect many people who are good and capable in the present have done awful things when their youth. I’m not saying large numbers of boys did the same thing, but I think we could find many awful things that they did. If we took the most prominent public figures, occupying the most prominent public positions, and dredged up all the skeletons in their closet, I would expect for many of them we’d find things that would make many people want to remove them from their positions.
5. A possible explanation for the following:
I'll ask again: Why would a man this indignant, emotional, and certain of his innocence not be demanding an FBI investigation of the accusations against him? Why is he not insisting that his friend Mark Judge testify on his behalf?
— John Heilemann (@jheil) September 27, 2018
An FBI investigation would take time, thus delaying the process, which could decrease the chances of his appointment. On one hand, if an FBI investigation could really make a difference in reassuring the public and legitimizing the selection of Kavanaugh–and if forgoing an investigation would weaken the legitimacy of the pick and harm the institution of the SCOTUS–then the right move would be to do an FBI investigation–if the institution is the higher priority. On the other hand, that Kavanaugh would not enthusiastically support this is understandable on some level. At the same time, if he doesn’t support it, then it suggests his personal ambition–and possibly his level of partisanship–is too high, and that makes him unfit to be a SCOTUS justice.
6. My sense is that the Democrats are more concerned preventing Kavanaugh at all costs–that is, they’re putting politics and the desire for power over the process or the institution. I don’t think the allegations are a fabrication, but I tend to think the Democrats are weaponizing those allegations (e.g., with the timing of their release) to prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
7. I really got annoyed, almost angry, listening to Sen. Graham’s and Sen. Hatch’s outrage at the extremely unfair, political nature of the process–to a good judge. So much of what they said could be said about Merrick Garland, so their words rang hollow for me. In my view, Republicans like these have lost any right to express outrage at unfair and inappropriate political tactics–about putting the desire for power over the principles and the health of institutions and the country’s interests.
I don’t have a good understanding about the standards and requirements for a Supreme Court Justice, but hearing this snippet makes me uneasy. What he’s saying and how he’s saying this does not create the impression that he’s going to be impartial and non-partisan. If he’s confirmed, and if the SCOTUS makes a decision, I will have serious doubts that Kavanaugh could put aside his partisanship and political ideology when making decisions.
If Kavanaugh is innocent, I can understand his anger at what’s happening. Still, he shouldn’t–can’t–say what he says in the quotes below:
— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) September 28, 2018
He’s make a veiled threat, implying that he will get revenge on Democrats, for their attempts to take him down politically. For a nominee to say that publicly seems close to disqualifying.
THREAD. 1/I worked in the Senate for 20+ years and handled hundreds of nominations as a Senate committee counsel. I was a nominee myself, and was confirmed for a job at DoD, in 2014. I've known many friends who were also nominees.
— Brian P. McKeon (@bpmckeon64) September 28, 2018
The two tweets below and the thread they come from sum up my feelings:
Regardless of who is right about events of 36 years ago, and regardless of how aggrieved Kavanaugh feels – even if he is rightly aggrieved – vowing retribution against a political party is disqualifying. 4/7
— David Franklin (@DFranklinChi) September 28, 2018
If this behavior is rewarded with a seat on our highest court, public faith in the integrity of the judiciary will be eroded and another crucial rule-of-law norm will be in peril. 6/7
— David Franklin (@DFranklinChi) September 28, 2018
Just learned about the news below:
This. Limiting the investigation to credible allegations of assault is reasonable. The White House dictating which witnesses can be interviewed is an absolute farce https://t.co/1yR3CyYuPR
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) September 29, 2018
If the investigation has the appearance of a scam–if the White House can’t provide legitimate reasons for the way they’re limiting the investigation–then it is just as bad as a scam. A key reason for doing the investigation is to show the public that Congress and the White House takes seriously the accusations and putting a good faith effort to make sure Kavanaugh is fit to serve on the SCOTUS–versus confirming Kavanaugh no matter what.
There is a reason Bruce MacKinnon is an award-winning editorial artist. This is one more prime example of why. @CH_Cartoon @chronicleherald #KavanaughConfirmationHearings #MeToo pic.twitter.com/aa2c9xNN09
— Derek (@derekkburnett) September 29, 2018
This is the kind of thing you say when you’re more concerned with winning elections & power than you are with the integrity of the Court, the rule of law & the fitness of your nominee. I see you Mitch McConnell. https://t.co/rfaiv8np5B
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) October 1, 2018
I agree with pretty much everything in this.
My thoughts https://t.co/U6DW7J24Vd
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) October 2, 2018
From someone who has worked very closely with Brett.
This correspondent is not alone among Brett’s colleagues, friends, and admirers in being deeply shocked by what he did last week. pic.twitter.com/DUvN7emlvI
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) October 3, 2018
Very striking. Hundreds of “professors of law & scholars of judicial institutions” from around the country united in one belief: that Kavanaugh “did not display the impartiality & judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.” https://t.co/hJ1Ayzrm3z
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) October 3, 2018
100s as in 600+.
“Judicial temperament is more than skin-deep. It is part of the DNA of person, as is well illustrated by Merrick Garland, who never once descended to the partisan rancor of Kavanaugh” — https://t.co/SXRMzc90Oc
— Bill Scher (@billscher) October 6, 2018
With Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation likely tomorrow, here a few thoughts on what this might mean for the next 5-10 years of Supreme Court action. (Thread.)
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) October 6, 2018