Don’t Let The Facts Get In The Way Of A Political Smear

Yesterday Guy Benson posted an article at Townhall with the following headline, “FBI Director to Dems: Actually, Our Follow-Up Investigation on Kavanaugh Followed Standard Procedure.”

The article notes some of the events surrounding the confirmation of Justice Kavanuagh:

Let’s begin with a handy recap.  For nearly two months over the summer, Senate Democrats sat on Christine Blasey Ford’s 36-year-old allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein reportedly telling colleagues that the claim was too distant and too unverifiable to merit serious scrutiny.  Dr. Ford told Democrats that she did not want to be named publicly.  Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearings came and went, over which period Democrats scored no points with their posturing and demagoguery (most of the Judiciary Committee Democrats announced their opposition to Kavanaugh within minutes of him being named, with some seeking to accrue extra style points for shrillness and hysteria).  At no time in any meetings with Kavanaugh did any Democrat ask about the high school-era accusation, nor did the subject come up at any stage of the public or private hearings.  None of the traditional committee protocols for investigating a nominee were ever set into motion.  

With a vote looming, the Democrats leaked Ford’s allegation, against her explicit wishes.  A deranged circus ensued, during which Feinstein and her colleagues (when they weren’t actively validating utterly outrageous, baseless, and ultimately discredited smears) demanded delays, new hearings, and an FBI investigation.  They ended up getting all three.

…Federal agents spoke to the alleged fact witnesses named by the two most credible (which is not to say credible) Kavanaugh accusers, filing a report with those interviews.  This resulted in absolutely zero new evidence or testimony that could corroborate either story — neither of which could be backed up by any of the accusers’ own named witnesses.  Indeed, the only new information the FBI appeared to turn up was apparent improper pressure applied against one of the fact witnesses by Ford’s allies. 

The article includes a statement to Congress by Christopher Wray:

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate on Wednesday that the White House put limits on the re-opened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but the law enforcement chief insisted that the process used was a typical one. “Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope and that … is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back a long ways,” Wray said under questioning by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on global security threats…”I’ve spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me this was handled in a way consistent with their experience and the standard process,” the FBI director said, later adding that the inquiry was “very specific in scope—limited in scope.”

There was no cover-up by the FBI. It is difficult to investigate a thirty-something-year-old alleged assault when the alleged victim can’t remember where, when, how she got there, or how she got home. All she remembered is that she only had one beer. Was that so unique that she remembered it?

At any rate, the political left will continue to demonize Justice Kavanaugh just as surely as he will make decisions based on the Constitution. It’s up to the American voters to decide how much of what they have heard is true.

 

 

When Lawyers Are Willing To Disregard The Law

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about a recent New York Times editorial. The editorial was written by former Obama White House lawyer Kate Shaw. Ms. Shaw argues that traditional due process protections such as “the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; [and] the right to confront and respond to an accuser” are not necessary for the purposes of determining if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasely Ford more than 35 years ago or whether he should serve on the Supreme Court. Seems as if she went to the same law school as Barack Obama–the law is whatever she decides it is.

The article at Townhall includes the following from the New York Times:

“It’s natural to place this sort of accusation within a criminal-justice framework: the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront and respond to an accuser. If Judge Kavanaugh stood criminally accused of attempted rape, all of that would apply with full force. But those concepts are a poor fit for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where there’s no presumption of confirmation, and there’s certainly no burden that facts be established beyond a reasonable doubt.” emphasis added

…“What matters here isn’t law as much as politics — though not (or not just) partisan politics. Confirmation hearings are also about constitutional politics — the debate, involving both institutions of government and the polity, about what the Constitution means and requires.

“So what standard should the Senate use in evaluating the claims made by Dr. Blasey and in deciding how they bear on Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court? The Senate’s approach to its constitutional “advice and consent” obligation has always depended on context.A number of factors matter: the timing of the vacancy; the justice being replaced; the nominee’s likely impact on the ideological makeup of the court; even the popularity of the president (very popular presidents have always had more leeway when it comes to picking justices).” emphasis added

So what is this really about? The Democrats have used to courts for years to pass laws that Congress could not pass. Abortion never made it though Congress–it was decided by the courts. Gay marriage never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. Teenage boys in teenage girls’ locker rooms never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. So Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to that status quo. He would probably be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court who would bring common sense back into the picture. The fact that he believes in the Constitution is a major threat to the hold the liberal wing of the Democrat Party (is there any other wing?) has on the Supreme Court. That is what this is really about.

Is anyone taking odds as to whether Professor Ford is going to be present at her hearing on Thursday?

Watching The Double Standard In Action

Before I get into the substance of this article, I would like to note that the change in Lindsey Graham since the death of John McCain is interesting. All of a sudden Graham is sounding like a conservative. He is not up for re-election until 2020, so that’s not it. It seems as if he is finally waking up to what the deep state is up to and has decided not to be part of it. He may be beginning to realize that the days of the deep state may be numbered.

At any rate, yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article detailing some of Senator Graham’s comments at the confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh.

The article reports:

Democrats bellyache that Kavanaugh worked as an attorney for the Ken Starr investigation and served in the White House of President George W. Bush. Graham could care less.

“Have you heard of Justice Breyer? Do you know him?,” Graham said in an opening statement equally rambling and passionate. “Where did he come from? He was Ted Kennedy’s Senate judiciary person. Where do you think Republicans are going to go find a judge?”

Good point. The article notes one other area where the double standard is glaring:

But Graham has another reason to be angry, and it isn’t just hypocrisy. He held up what he considered his end of the bargain during the Obama administration, voting for both Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The Republican senator certainly didn’t agree with every decision either nominee made. But Graham found both of them to be qualified and found himself “getting a lot of crap” as a result.

The same standard, Graham groused, has not been applied to Republican nominees like Neil Gorsuch and now Kavanaugh. “I would suggest you think long and hard,” he said with some bitterness to the aspiring 2020 Democrats on the committee, “if you’ve got a political ambition, of voting for this guy because it will not play well on your side.”

Graham isn’t wrong, and that is why he’s angry.

The elected President is entitled to his choice of judges and cabinet members unless there is a moral or character issue with the candidate. That is what ‘advise and consent’ is about. The Democrats seem to have forgotten that.

Surprising Sanity From The New York Times

The insanity of the political left has reached new heights in recent days, so it was a bit of a surprise when The New York Times posted a very rational article last night praising President Trump for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. Contrast this attitude with comments made by ABC’s Nightline before the nominee was named (from Newsbusters):

I suppose we should all be grateful that they at least corrected their initial statement.

At any rate, The New York Times article has a very rational suggestion about the hearings on Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment:

Fair questions would include inquiries not just about Judge Kavanaugh’s past writings and activities but also about how he believes various past notable judicial cases (such as Roe v. Wade) should have been decided — and even about what his current legal views are on any issue, general or specific.

Everyone would have to understand that in honestly answering, Judge Kavanaugh would not be making a pledge — a pledge would be a violation of judicial independence. In the future, he would of course be free to change his mind if confronted with new arguments or new facts, or even if he merely comes to see a matter differently with the weight of judgment on his shoulders. But honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless.

The compromise I’m proposing would depart from recent confirmation practice. But the current confirmation process is badly broken, alternating between rubber stamps and witch hunts. My proposal would enable each constitutional actor to once again play its proper constitutional role: The Senate could become a venue for serious constitutional conversation, and the nominee could demonstrate his or her consummate legal skill. And equally important: Judge Kavanaugh could be confirmed with the ninetysomething Senate votes he deserves, rather than the fiftysomething votes he is likely to get.

A praiseworthy statement from The New York Times.

Is This Really Necessary?

On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the confirmation hearings for President Trump’s cabinet.

The article reports:

Trump has now been president for a full three weeks, and the number of approved members in his cabinet stands at seven—a number that was boosted by three contested confirmations last week that were opposed by almost the entire Democratic caucus.

Senate Democrats, vowing to use “everything” they can to stop Trump‘s nominees, have used procedural tricks like boycotting committee meetings to slow the confirmation process to a historically slow pace.

Recent administrations have had many more nominees approved at the three-week mark. Barack Obama had 12 out of 15 nominees approved, George W. Bush had his entire cabinet approved, and Bill Clinton had all but one approved in less than a day.

For most of history, approving cabinet nominees has been a non-issue. Presidents John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter had their entire cabinet approved in the first days of their presidency—a brisk pace that has been the norm for most of U.S. history.

As noted by historian Robert David Johnson, the only confirmation process at all comparable to the current situation was that of President George H.W. Bush, and even he had 10 of his 14 nominees confirmed by the three-week mark.

The article reminds us that in the case of President H.W. Bush, the Democrats controlled the Senate and had the power to stop his cabinet choices. The Republicans currently control the Senate, and even then the Democrats are successful at slow-walking President Trump’s cabinet choices. Odds are that all cabinet members will eventually be confirmed. It doesn’t make sense to obstruct, and obstruction may have a political price.

The article further reports:

The continuing obstruction of even uncontroversial cabinet choices is being driven by demands from the liberal base of the Democratic Party, which is demanding that Democratic lawmakers not cooperate with Trump on anything.

“Democrats, pushed by their base, are under pressure to not cooperate with the new president—on anything,” wrote the Wall Street Journal following reports that Democrats boycotted committee hearings for multiple nominees.

“Gone are the concerns about appearing overly obstructionist,” Politico reported. “Officeholders are now chasing a base that will not tolerate any sign of accommodation.”

The White House has complained that Democrats are “working overtime” to stop the administration from putting qualified nominees in place at agencies.

The Partnership for Public Progress, a nonpartisan group that promotes public service, has said the slow pace of confirmations is damaging the country.

“They are running the most important organization on the planet, and they don’t have their team on the field,” said the organizations CEO. “They don’t have their critical people in place and that’s vital to being able to do their jobs appropriately.”

This is ridiculous. I am waiting for the Democrats who are slowing the confirmation process to start complaining that the Trump Administration isn’t doing anything. Meanwhile, the Democrats are planning on obstructing anything that is attempted. This is not what the American people signed up for. We want a government that gets things done. We want a government that will do what is needed to restart the economy. We want a government that will get out of health insurance and let the free market work. Simply stated, we want a government that will let us live our lives. This obstructionism is not appreciated by anyone except the extreme left, and candidates running for re-election need votes from all groups of voters. The current actions of the Senate Democrats may please the base, but we will see in 2018 if they actually helped the party or hurt the party.