Monday, October 1, 2018


This intermission in the absurd Kavanaugh high drama (or is it low?) gives us a chance to consider what we've seen so far and come to some conclusions of our own regardless of how the Senate eventually votes. My bet -- right now -- is that the Senate majority will confirm him by a hair, but he may not be seated for reasons I'll try to get into below.

I've watched the hearings and tried to keep up with the chatterati about his nomination. It was clear that Kavanaugh was trouble, though initially, that was overlooked in the widespread bipartisan belief that he'd have a relatively smooth ride into the Kennedy Seat on the Court. He was OK to the Rs and enough Ds to ensure it. Or so it seemed.

He wasn't as radical as some of the potential nominees  (they said) and wasn't as ideological as others, though he was said  to be "more conservative" than Kennedy. But that was OK given the tenor of the times. Or something.

But when I saw him at the first hearing, it was obvious to me that there was something off about his presentation. He was performing the role of an independent judge, but he wasn't believing it. Rs were lavish in their praise and Ds were circumspect and careful in their questioning about matters that had apparently been bothering them for quite a long time, such as stolen emails used by Kavanaugh and others in the Bush White House to formulate strategies to get their judges approved. Inside baseball, I know, but this was an obvious bone of contention. Other matters included peculiar rulings once he was on the bench in the DC Circuit, attempts to make law from  the bench, and an apparent cruel streak toward non-whites and the unwashed who came before him. From what I could glean he was largely a standard model corporatist/authoritarian on the bench, but with a definite mean streak and a very odd -- indeed, false -- way of describing his own rulings and dissents. He was defensive to say the least.

It became clear that Kavanaugh was a right-wing political operative who had been put on the bench as a reward for loyalty and service to the Bush II regime. Oh. Swell.

It was also clear to me that he didn't know the law or precedent and didn't care. He was a political operative on the bench. He didn't so much interpret law as he ignored it and created his own whenever it suited him. He wasn't very bright, and he was repeatedly slapped down by other judges on the DC Circuit. He didn't know what he was doing, and it didn't matter to him. A suck up, a fuck up, a kiss up, a kick down.

Very interesting, but not that odd. Courts throughout the land are infested with just this sort of person. They are there as a reward for political service. Ms. Ché has worked for a couple of them at the Superior Court level, and I've encountered them in my own work. Most, I guess, are harmless enough -- the institutional inertia usually controls them -- but some cause havoc due to their ignorance and arrogance among other things, and they taint the whole judiciary.

This was the picture I was getting of Kavanaugh. It wasn't pretty. And he couldn't tell the truth.

He routinely lied or distorted facts.

On that basis alone, he disqualified himself from the Supreme Court, and I felt he shouldn't be serving on the Circuit Court, either. Or any court for that matter.

Then came the recent hearing on the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when she was 15, and oh my god on a crispy cracker. What a hot mess he was.

His guns blazing deportment, his crying, shouting, lying deportment said it all. Dude is whack.

If he kept that up, he'd have to be taken out in a straightjacket. No, a judge does not -- ever -- behave that way. Kavanaugh demonstrated that he lacked proper judicial temperament when under stress.

It just got worse from there.

Now I understand Trump loved the show, but maybe he didn't care for what was revealed. I'm certain he doesn't care about whether Kavanaugh assaulted Blasey Ford. That would be for them to work out in his book. What he might care about, though, are the reports of Kavanaugh's drinking and drinking and drinking, which we're led to believe is one of the few red flags that will get one ejected from Trump World in a New York minute.

Observers pointed out that Kavanaugh appears to be and acted like a severe alcoholic in need of intervention and treatment.

During the first hearing Kavanaugh had been drinking from two different cups, one clear, one a Dixie cup. The clear one appeared to hold water. Ms. Ché asked what was in the second one. I speculated it might be coffee or juice. She said, "Or vodka." She recognized the signs of an alcoholic from that first hearing. I didn't see it until the second. When you couldn't miss it.

He sure wouldn't be the first alcoholic on the bench. Far from it. For it to be so in your face, however, has got to raise red flags if nothing else had up till then.

Dr. Blasey Ford has been criticized for not having a complete memory of her assault when she was fifteen. Yet she has a very compelling memory.  And one that is certainly believable. She's been criticized for alleged CIA ties which I haven't explored, but I wouldn't be surprised. She comes from a relatively small circle of suburban Washington elite families. They are all interconnected with various elements of the government and with one another. Blasey Ford's father is said to be golfing buddies with Kavanaugh's father. Etc. And sure, a CIA connection is possible. But is it meaningful? Probably not. Especially since Kavanaugh seems to be quite favorably disposed to government power and authority -- in the right hands of course. He's a Bush and Justice Kennedy protege, and I don't see the CIA ginning up a fuss about him.

Based on his behavior, Kavanaugh probably needs to be in a recovery program, not elevated to the SCOTUS. And here's where I suspect this drama will lead:

Kavanaugh, I think, is probably a victim of childhood sexual abuse himself. Possibly by a priest or potentially even a family member. Who knows how long it went on, but it was likely long enough to transform him into the kind of hyper alpha he describes himself being in high school and college: number one student, number one athlete, virgin goody-two-shoes... and described by friends as a raging drunk who could become a nightmare of belligerence and... worse.  While I don't know whether he was the one who assaulted Blasey Ford, he easily could have been, as his assaults on female committee members made manifest.

For someone who "always treats women with respect" he sure didn't do so with Dianne Feinstein or Amy Klobuchar. No, just the opposite. I wonder if he treats his mother and wife that way.

So what do we make of this?

My sense of things right now -- subject to any kind of change as the week wears on -- is that he will be confirmed no matter what the FBI reports to the committee. However, he's likely in my view to go off the deep end into alcoholic despair either before or soon after the vote to confirm him, and will wind up unable to take his seat on the Court.

We'll see, won't we.

Note: once he is confirmed, even if he can't take the seat, a vacancy no longer exists, and someone else cannot be appointed. Talk about "checkmate..."