By: Cliff Kincaid
Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg withdrew his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987 after admitting that he had smoked marijuana several times. President Reagan, who nominated him, was embarrassed by the disclosures. But today’s conservatives, led by the Never-Trumpers, want President Trump to sink or swim with a proud beer-drinking “conservative” nominee that the Washington insiders in the conservative legal establishment foisted on him without adequate vetting.
In an amazing development, high-profile Never-Trump Senator Lindsey Graham has come to the rescue of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Graham has rallied conservatives to Kavanaugh’s side. Until now, Graham was mostly despised by conservatives because he was the late Senator John McCain’s best buddy and together they fought Trump at almost every turn. Does Graham secretly suspect the Kavanaugh nomination will backfire on Trump and his backers?
Kavanaugh is now on the defensive over heavy drinking, not just the sex charges. At his news conference on Monday, Trump said, “I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer and that he has a little bit of difficulty. He talked about things that happened when he drinks.” One website counted 30 times he talked about beer. What’s more, his drinking in high school, college, and beyond has clearly affected his judgment. Hence, he apologized to Senator Amy Klobuchar for asking her, in response to a question about his drinking, whether she had ever passed out from alcohol. She said she didn’t have a drinking problem but that her own father suffered from alcoholism.
Kavanaugh should have said, “I was dumb. I was stupid. I’m raising my kids not to drink.” But he did not say that.
Trump, who doesn’t drink, privately must have been cringing at Kavanaugh’s repeated “embrace” of beer in a public hearing that millions of Americans watched. Trump’s own brother was an alcoholic and died at the age of 43.
At a time of alcohol abuse on college campuses linked to sexual assault, is Kavanaugh the kind of role model we want for American youth? Is this the best and brightest the conservatives have to offer? What’s worse, this Yale Law School graduate erroneously said that he was legally able to drink in Maryland at the time.
Conservatives are told that we have to back him because the liberals want to destroy him. It’s one thing to fight the liberals, who exploited Dr. Ford and made her uncorroborated testimony into a public spectacle. It’s another to give them the ammunition they need to destroy you. That’s what Kavanaugh did to himself. By doing so, he gave liberals a target-rich environment that has led to the current crisis.
By saying he was “surprised” by Kavanaugh’s embrace of beer, Trump was giving Kavanaugh a way out. At this point, as we wait for another FBI investigation, the honorable and responsible thing to do is for Kavanaugh to voluntarily withdraw his name from consideration. He could announce that he will remain on the bench as a federal judge to fight the charges and attempt to restore his reputation.
But the Never-Trumpers who pushed Kavanaugh are invested in his nomination. Matthew Continetti of the Never-Trump Washington Free Beacon claimed in an interview with Politico that “A defeated Kavanaugh nomination would not only demoralize the conservative base, it could seriously jeopardize Trump’s relationship with the conservative legal movement, and that could be crippling for conservative influence in the Trump era.”
The base is already demoralized because the “conservative legal movement” gave us a candidate who has sparked serious concerns about his character and his temperament.
Calvin Freiburger’s article at LifeSiteNews points out that “it’s easy to forget that Kavanaugh was supposed to be one of the easier judges to confirm on Donald Trump’s short list.” That’s because of his moderate or even liberal rulings on such matters as abortion, religious rights, immigration, NSA surveillance, and Obamacare. He was supposed to be acceptable to liberal Republicans and Democrats.
However, simple Google searches disclosed the party atmosphere at Kavanaugh’s Catholic high school, Georgetown Prep, and the fact that his friend Mark Judge was an alcoholic who left with a bad taste in his mouth because of his secular and New Age “Catholic” education. Their Georgetown Prep yearbook was full of sex and drinking references.
The Never-Trump National Review has run an article, Republicans Should Not Have Delayed the Kavanaugh Vote, blaming Senate Republicans for the debacle. In fact, they were handed a flawed nominee from a list put together by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.
Trying to rally conservatives to his side, he postured as a conservative victim of left-wing forces, saying, “…this whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.”
It’s true that Kavanaugh worked under Independent Counsel Ken Starr and investigated the Clintons. They didn’t like that. But he failed to adequately investigate the death of their White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, concluding Foster killed himself when the evidence shows murder. That erroneous finding was part of the ultimate Clinton cover-up.
Interestingly, as his own confirmation came increasingly into doubt, Kavanaugh hired Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer for several Clinton staffers in the Hillary email scandal, to represent him. A Clinton donor and Democratic contributor, she appeared on CNN to defend him. She is said to have “deep ties” to Washington politics and the Department of Justice, which includes the FBI.
This nominee will try to use the Republican Party to get a lifetime job on the Supreme Court while some Senators and candidates supporting him are likely to taste defeat at the hands of the Me Too movement in November. While this movement has become political, the fact is that there are many victims of sexual assault who have been reluctant to come forward. We have also seen this in the new disclosures about Catholic sexual abuse of minors.
The Daily Signal, a publication of the Heritage Foundation, has run an article, If Kavanaugh Nomination Fails, America Won’t See a New Conservative Supreme Court Justice ‘in Our Lifetime,’ citing the views of former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once praised the appointment of Robert Mueller as a Russia-gate prosecutor. He is wrong again. The solution is to withdraw Kavanaugh, who was supposed to be a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy and nominate a strong constitutional conservative such as Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Her nomination can be pushed now or in the lame-duck session after the midterm elections.
Barrett is the judge who was attacked by liberals for taking her Catholic faith seriously and pledging allegiance to the Constitution, not pro-abortion “precedent.” She refused to play Kavanaugh’s game of telling Senators that abortion and gay rights were “settled law.”
Catholic conservative writer Matthew Walther writes, “Trump should retract his nomination of Kavanaugh and replace him with another candidate. Why not the apparent runner-up, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals? It is difficult to imagine her being implicated in anything like the present scandal.” Walther said Republicans wanted “a generic business-class rubber-stamper for dark money and deregulation rather than a genius mom of seven [Barrett] who would actually overturn [the pro-abortion ruling] Roe.” This suggests that Kavanaugh was never supposed to be the candidate who would overturn Roe and that Kavanaugh’s nomination was a sop to the Washington establishment that never backed Trump in the first place.
On the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh could not only uphold his mentor Anthony Kennedy’s rulings on abortion and gay marriage but rule against Trump if the president is subpoenaed by Russia-gate Special counsel Robert Mueller and the case goes through the courts. To those who say Kavanaugh would never rule against Trump, consider why a “victim” of the Clintons would seek the support of one of their lawyers. That is how Kavanaugh operates. His judgment is questionable. He will do what the Deep State requires of him.
Curiously, elements of the Religious Right, once known as the Moral Majority, are still embracing Kavanaugh, with the Associated Press reporting that: “Evangelical leaders in contact with the White House have quietly launched an influence campaign” on his behalf.
Many conservative and Christian voters will not be taken in. Kavanaugh wasn’t the best conservative candidate in the first place. Christian men who have wives and daughters and try to raise their sons to respect women won’t casually dismiss allegations of sexual assault and excessive drinking against somebody up for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court.
At the same time, responsible conservatives are moving to restore honor and integrity to their movement.
In this context, Daniel Darling, the vice-president of communications for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has written a new book, The Dignity Revolution, arguing that the concept of human dignity is one of Christianity’s best gifts to the world. He is speaking this week at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Let this Dignity Revolution begin with the Heritage Foundation, which initially recommended this “outstanding” nominee. Kay Coles James, President of the Heritage Foundation, could now take a forthright stand by publicly urging Kavanaugh’s withdrawal.
There is absolutely no reason for conservatives to abandon high standards of morality simply because a so-called “conservative” nominee is under attack by liberals.
It’s nobody’s fault but his own. Kavanaugh walked into the Senate hearing hand-in-hand with his forlorn wife and dug himself into a deeper hole, in a performance that was predictably mocked on the comedy show “Saturday Night Live.”
But it’s not a laughing matter. If confirmed, he will become the face of the conservative movement and under attack for his lifestyle for years to come. Worse yet, he will vote like Kennedy and cede more legal ground to the left.