There are numerous reasons for slowing down Brett Kavanaugh’s ride to the U.S. Supreme Court. Numerous.
But that won’t stop Republicans, led by Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassley, from rushing it through. Most important among them is the fact this president is making the selection under the grayest of clouds any president — including Nixon. His legal jeopardy is obvious from what we’ve seen with our own eyes over the past two years. Imagine what we’ll learn when Robert Mueller releases his report.
Perhaps that’s the point. Conservatives (defined in the dictionary as cautious) are plowing ahead.
Last week, Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey made headlines in leading the Democratic charge against Kavanaugh. Their points, which included missing documents, potential lying and questionable legal interpretations, were valid. Still, in reviewing what Democratic members on the committee had to say, I keep coming back to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s points. The Rhode Island Democrat took heat from Republicans on the committee for his opening statement, but he was spot on.
Whitehouse took pains to point out what it would be like if the Roberts Five on the Supreme Court were turned into the Roberts Six.
He analyzed cases in which the five Republican-appointed justices — Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia (since replaced by the similarly minded Neil Gorsuch) and the chief justice himself, John Roberts — voted in unison against the four appointed by Democratic presidents — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elana Kagan. He found better than 90 percent of them sided with corporate or major partisan interests — virtually “every damn time.”
So much for judicial modesty, originalism or respect for precedent, all go out the window if they come up against corporate interests or Republican partisan matters.
Campaign finance? Decided in Republicans’ favor — especially in the Citizens United, which made money a form of speech.
Gerrymandering cases? Go Republicans. Crack and pack political boundaries to your heart’s content. Dilute opposition voices whenever and wherever possible.
Voting rights? Republican arguments prevail at the expense of minorities.
Labor unions? Republicans win. Defang them however you can.
The environment? Let polluters pollute.
Businesses concerns over the Affordable Care Act? Forget employees, let’s rule on behalf of corporations.
Whitehouse pointed out that in 100 percent of cases in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took a position by filing a brief or other such action, the Roberts court decided 5-4 on behalf of the business-friendly organization.
Those votes would have been to the left of Kavanaugh’s record.
Make no mistake, should Brett Kavanaugh join the court, individual rights will take a back seat to corporate rights. You can take White Out to the Constitution and replace the preamble with, “We, the businesses of America.”
No wonder Americans believe the system is stacked, the Rhode Islander said.
Whitehouse crystalized what scares the bejesus out of me. It should scare everyone else, too.