Submitted Date 04/15/2019

American politics has always been a strange creature. Its history is a wild flux between respectful debate and unpredictable theatrics, and this has never been more true than in recent years. And while there have been many examples of late, there is one that stands out among all the rest: the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.



Most people have no idea what went down on the Senate floor in September of 2018. That's perfectly understandable given that politics—real politics—is super boring. The hearing was over forty hours long, after all. Who could be expected to wade through such an officious government ceremony?


Turns out that I did. I had been watching a lot of fast-paced sitcoms at the time and decided that an esoteric Senate proceeding would be relaxing by comparison. This ended up being a foolish assumption on my part.


The quick summary goes something like this: it was an absolute debacle. The Democratic Party did everything in their power to prevent Kavanaugh from being appointed, and the Republicans offered little resistance. In the process Justice Kavanaugh was berated, demeaned, and (possibly) slandered. For many reasons I believe the incident is worth study, the most important of which is increased awareness and understanding.


My intent for this article is to serve as a companion guide to footage of the hearing. Please believe me when I say: this is one of the most important political events of this decade, and is worth doing a little due diligence. Even watching one hour's worth on YouTube is enough to get a pretty good understanding of what happened. Otherwise, you'll have to take my word on it—and that's going to be very hard to believe.



The Situation:


The story at its beginning is emblematic of a bi-partisan government. It's a pretty complicated situation but what follows is the basic outline.


The Supreme Court is the highest court in America. When they rule on a case, all similar cases in the future are likely to be decided the same way. So it's a really important government body in relation to how our laws work.


Kavanaugh, a conservative Republican judge, was nominated to the open seat by President Donald Trump. But the Senate is the body that ultimately decides if the nominee goes through. The nomination of a Republican to the position made the Democratic senators very angry, causing them to act out in a really outrageous way during the hearing.


That may sound like a biased analysis, but no one is debating that that's what happened. If you watch any of the hearing yourself you'll come to the same conclusion.



The First Three Days:


The first three days of the hearing were marked by an organized stalling campaign perpetrated by the Democrats. Whether you agree with their tactics or not, it's patently obvious that the Democratic senators were acting in bad faith. They used three basic tactics:




The first hour of the hearing was nothing but people shouting at each other. The committee leader sort of tried to keep things together, but nobody was playing by the rules. Speaking out of turn never went out of style during the entire hearing. It was painful.


The Documents


It's a long story, but there were these classified documents about Kavanaugh that the Democrats felt they were entitled to. They latched on to these documents as a talking point and wouldn't stop talking about them. Seriously, every single Democratic senator brought up the documents and most of them didn't talk about anything else. It was very painful.




There were loud, aggressive protestors in the audience. These people would stand up about every ten minutes and intentionally disrupt the proceeding however they could. Normally it would be hard to blame either party for this, but they just kept letting in more protestors. You've got to imagine they could've screened these people out if they really wanted to. I can't stress enough how many times this happened. Every twenty-ish minutes, eight plus hours a day, for three full days (and then some). It was intolerable.


Pictured are several of the many protestors. Over two hundred were arrested during the five-day hearing.


During this barrage of dirty tactics, it should be noted that Judge Kavanaugh himself was perfectly professional. He was respectful, and genuine in his answers, and totally composed. Basically all he did was answer questions and talk about how much he loved the Federalist Papers (an important judicial document). I can safely say that I, and everyone I know, would've fared much worse under the same conditions.



The Fourth Day:


The fourth day is when both parties were allowed to bring in character witnesses. It was relatively peaceful; I assume this is because the Democrats didn't want to heckle their own witnesses. The protesters were still going full-force, though, so maybe I'm wrong.


Anyway the result was totally predictable: all the Republican witnesses that personally knew Kavanaugh spoke very highly of him, and all the Democrat witnesses were sob stories designed to make him look bad. But this kind of thing is par for the course.



The Scandal:


Normally Supreme Court confirmation hearings last four days, with time for deliberation. But at some point during or shortly after Kavanaugh's hearing the Democratic Party released a tactical scandal.


Democratic senators had been contacted by a woman months in advance with claims that she had been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh in the 1980's. The woman in question, Dr. Blasey Ford, had no credible witness nor evidence of the alleged assault.


The Democrats decided to keep the allegation secret until after the hearing was technically over. Then, during the deliberation period, they released the information. The media predictably lost their mind over this story. Judge Kavanaugh was branded a rapist almost universally, with his guilt a foregone conclusion.


This wildly-speculative witch hunt continued unabated for twenty days. The Senate then decided to bring in both Ford and Kavanaugh and have them testify on the record.


Now, I'd like to make something patently clear. If Kavanaugh was guilty of these claims, he obviously should not be allowed onto the Supreme Court. No one's debating that. The only question is whom you choose to believe. The results were predictable: Democrats believed Dr. Ford, and Republicans believed Kavanaugh.


But to anyone without an extant political bias the case was pretty thin. Ford's testimony was full of holes—she didn't remember where the assault happened, or how she got there, or who else was there. The witness she brought in her own defense couldn't confirm her story. If this had been a criminal trial, Kavanaugh would have almost certainly been acquitted.


That being said, the party lines had already been drawn. The Democrats were relentless in their accusations and the Republicans roundly condemned their colleagues across the aisle. Emotions were high on all sides.


"We mean no ill will."


Judge Kavanaugh himself was (rightfully) incensed. His reputation was in ruins over a very flimsy accusation. Normally these kinds of things are handled privately, so as to limit exactly this kind of collateral damage. It's also worth noting that anyone in a prominent position gets this kind of accusation on a regular basis—it very rarely comes to anything.


Anybody can make a claim like this, and it's usually cheaper to just pay them off than to take it to trial. So for the accuser it can be a lucrative endeavor. I don't like this system, personally, but that's the world we live in.



The Result:


Ultimately, Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2018. Turns out, the Republicans had a majority vote in the Senate from the beginning, meaning that he was always likely to get confirmed. The votes were (again, predictably) right across party lines, with only the smallest deviation.


In the long run no amount of political maneuvering could prevent Kavanaugh's confirmation. All the protesting, insubordination and scandalizing came to nothing. The most important day of Justice Kavanaugh's career is forever marred by premeditated political mudslinging. And his personal life was wrecked in a pretty significant way—much like anyone accused of being a rapist. All for a political agenda that ultimately failed.


And the senators responsible for this horror show? To the best of my knowledge, none were ever held accountable. At least one has already announced a run for the 2020 presidential candidacy. More are expected to follow.


In a just world this kind of thing would entail harsh repercussions. But the nature of bi-partisanship prevents that. Democratic voters, by-in-large, are going to overlook these transgressions. Some believe these actions were justified. Others just don't care; all that matters is that their "team" wins. Some even view these actions in a positive light.


That's why I believe that every American should watch at least some of the confirmation hearing for themselves. If you consider yourself politically knowledgeable, this incident is one you must know first-hand. And knowing it may not change your mind. You may believe everything that happened was totally justified (and that's fine). But don't take the political establishment's word on it. Don't take the media's word on it. And especially don't take my word on it. Go see for yourself.

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  • Tomas Chough 2 years, 9 months ago

    This is a great explanation. I'd heard some things about this here and there but to be honest knew almost nothing about it. I think you were pretty straightforward and clear in describing the situation and you couldn't have ended it better. Thanks for sharing!

  • Catherine Rohsner 2 years, 9 months ago

    *Applause!* This is really good. The arguments based on slinging emotions and false witnesses are sad, and yeah, this type of government is not able to work unless the people are moral. I think it's great that you encourage us to watch the hearing for ourselves and to seek the truth out for ourselves instead of just believing what people report. I remember that accusation of scandal and hearing how baseless it was. Thanks for this review!

  • Kiersten Felch 2 years, 9 months ago

    Very interesting read you put in a lot of detail and information.