It seemed like a “done deal.” But Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell may yet regret that they rushed Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. It’s not about the “mobs” of protestors Donald Trump had complained about. Business publication Forbes is reporting that none other than Chief Justice John Roberts has called for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s behavior—not the heavy drinking and sexual charges—but how he behaved in front of the Senate Judicial Committee.
The fever pitch of protest actually diminished after Sen. Jeff Flake called for an FBI investigation. Things cooled off a bit, but while Trump said publicly that the FBI should do a “thorough” investigation, he gave the FBI clear guidelines, and the “week investigation” was finished in four days, after neglecting to interview the two main characters, despite Ford’s repeated request to be included.
We know the investigation was stymied because FBI Director Christopher Wray said so.
When it was announced that the FBI would investigate the allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, President Donald Trump repeatedly claimed the FBI would have broad discretion in who they could interview in their effort to find the truth.
But it now turns out the president’s claims that the Bureau had broad discretion to find the truth in the allegations against Kavanaugh were simply lies. Christopher Wray, the FBI director, directly contradicted those statements. . . Wray said, “Our only authority is as required by the adjudicating authority – in this case, the White House. . . I think I would say that our investigation. . .was limited in scope,”
. . . the FBI director also refused to answer whether his agency looked into allegations that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate during his confirmation hearing.
And that is the real problem, according to Forbes.
Chief Justice Roberts yesterday requested the Tenth Circuit to review more than twelve ethics complaints that have been made against Kavanaugh. The complaints concern Kavanaugh’s behavior at
the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27. . .
The complaints were not made without legal basis. More than 2,400 law professors have determined that Kavanaugh has “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court.”
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens also stated that Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated bias and is “not fit for the Supreme Court.” Former Justice Stevens, in remarks to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla, declared that Kavanaugh’s statements on September 27 revealed prejudices that would make it impossible for him to do the court’s work. “They suggest that he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh himself has expressed regrets in the Wall Street Journal. . .
Now, Chief Justice Roberts has requested Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, the chief circuit judge of the Denver-based Tenth Circuit, to review the complaints against Kavanaugh and “any pending or new complaints related to the same subject matter.” Judge Tymkovich has the option of handling the complaints himself, dismissing them or appointing a special committee to examine them.
Unlike the allegations of Justice Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct and excessive drinking as a teenager, there is no question here about the facts as to what happened, since they occurred on national television. . . he was angry and confrontational in manner. . .aggrieved and complaining. . .impolite and challenged the integrity of the Senate questioners and portrayed the hearing in the starkest partisan terms. . . dismissive of the inquiry and was careless on matters of fact. . . made obfuscating responses to questions about the meaning of words. He made no apparent effort to hold emotions in check and shouted at U.S. Senators. . . sought to shift the attention and blame to others. . . He approached the inquiry with an attitude of entitlement and self-pity. His conduct was remarkably unprofessional.
We are in uncharted territory here, as the article continues:
Although Kavanaugh’s behavior was the very opposite of what one hopes for and expects in a judge, … Technically, Supreme Court justices are not subject to the misconduct rules governing these claims.
In other words, Supreme Court justices are, basically, above the law, in a way that even the president is not. However, they could be subject to impeachment, according to the conservative publication, The Hill. A petition calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment has already raised over 155,000 signatures. And, again, this is not about boozing or molesting, it’s about perjury.
“Kavanaugh has been credibly accused of . . .lying under oath in 2004, 2006 and at least 30 times during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings,” the petition, organized by liberal group Credo Action, claims. “Perjury is an impeachable offense.”
Meanwhile, Trump ally, Alan Dershowitz, says the confirmation process needs revamping, according to The Hill.
“We should have a commission appointed by all three branches of the government to vet potential judicial nominees in advance and perhaps present the [president] with a list from which he would then choose,” he told Hill.TV.
He also recommended more investigation before the nomination is made, so there are “fewer surprises.”
Business Insider points out how rare impeachment is.
Throughout American history, just 19 federal officials— one senator, one cabinet secretary, two presidents, and 15 judges— have been impeached, but only eight were convicted and removed by the Senate. (And just six of the impeachments occurred in the last 80 years.)
The real problem with the confirmation was that it was rushed through, at a time when the public wanted more investigation of the original charges, regardless of his behavior in front of the Senate panel. If there had been a few weeks of investigation by the FBI, it would have allowed tempers to cool, and give the impression of an objective review. The four-day study, tightly restricted by the White House, and so limited that it didn’t even include the two main characters, occurred too quickly, according to the public.
The Hill noted just this past Friday, that a majority of the public didn’t like the confirmation.
More Americans oppose Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation than support it, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday.
The poll showed that 41 percent of Americans support his confirmation while 51 percent oppose it.
More Americans also support a deeper Congressional investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh while he was in high school and college, or by a 53-43 percent margin, the poll shows.
While men are roughly divided over the prospect, with 47 percent supporting an investigation and 49 percent opposing, women support it by a 21-point margin, or by 58 percent to 37 percent.
However, Mitch McConnell sees a silver lining.
“The ironies of ironies, this has actually produced an incredible surge of interest among these Republican voters going into the fall election,” McConnell told USA TODAY in interview just before Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“We’ve all been perplexed about how to get our people as interested as we know the other side is, well this has done it,” he said.
But Politico says that Democrats have been even more fired up over the way the Kavanaugh hearings were held. More importantly, the public, as a whole, is disgusted by the process.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation is not popular: In the poll, which was conducted after last week’s Senate vote, 46 percent of voters said the Senate “made the wrong decision” in approving the controversial judge, while 40 percent said it was right to elevate him to the high court. . .
Independent voters are far less supportive of the decision to confirm Kavanaugh: 47 percent say the Senate erred in confirming him, while 34 percent say it made the right decision. . .
A plurality of voters, 44 percent, said the confirmation process gave them a less favorable view of Kavanaugh — including 36 percent who said it made them view him much less favorably — while 30 percent said it made them more favorable toward him. . .
In this week’s poll, 70 percent of voters say they are very motivated to vote — including 77 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Republicans, and 60 percent of independents.
That is the saddest part of this whole episode. The public used to see the Supreme Court as ideologically split, but not tied to the political parties. Now, candidates are running for or against Kavanaugh, and the court, itself. Just last year, Trump’s first pick, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed with normal speed, and no uproar. Would it not have been wise to allow the public to “digest” the whole Kavanaugh situation before elevating him to the Court?