General Question

Zaku's avatar

People who have favored Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice, how do you feel about this article?

Asked by Zaku (22961points) October 3rd, 2018

It seems to me that this article:

I Know Brett Kavanaugh, but I Wouldn’t Confirm Him

is an very thoughtful article by an exceptionally well-reasoned conservative who knows (and has thought highly of) Brett Kavanaugh. I found it both very refreshing and interesting, and also to be expressing some similar ideas I’ve thought and that I’ve almost asked Fluther before in my own words.

I’m curious how this article lands with pro-Kavanaugh people here, and how their thinking compares on the question of whether (whatever one thinks of the accusations) anyone still supports Kavanaugh as a good person to be a Supreme Court Justice? Especially after reading and considering an article like this?

(I was going to post this in Social, but there have been several threads there on this topic, and here I really just want to know what people think of the arguments in the article, especially the ones about judicial temperment, character, telling the truth, and impartiality, etc.)

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26 Answers

Yellowdog's avatar

The author finds her account more believable than his.

But there is no corroboration. No evidence. When even her best friend said she has no memory of this gathering and has never met Brett Kavanaugh, that’s where it lost credibility for me. None of the other named witnesses have any knowledge or memory of this event.

He is afraid that other victims of sexual assault will be afraid to come forward.
Except, this is an accuser, and whose story doesn’t seem to fit the facts, and is mostly pushed by Democrats hellbent on stopping Kavanaugh. We’ll never know if Ford was assaulted by anyone. But it appears that the version of the story we have heard recently (there have been at least five) was tweeked to fit the accusation against Kavanaugh.

The Atlantic has been running a LOT of anti-Kavanaugh pieces and live interviews lately.

canidmajor's avatar

@Yellowdog, I think you did not read the article all the way through.
”But I cannot condone the partisanship—which was raw, undisguised, naked, and conspiratorial—from someone who asks for public faith as a dispassionate and impartial judicial actor. His performance was wholly inconsistent with the conduct we should expect from a member of the judiciary.”

Paragraph 7, I think.

LostInParadise's avatar

My biggest gripe with Kavanaugh is that his partisan outburst against the Democrats, and singling out the Clintons, is not what I expect from a member of the Supreme Court, nor were his throwing back the questions that he was asked. I don’t care how knowledgeable he is. The hearing was described as being more of a job interview than a trial, and on that score he failed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Basically mirrors my own thoughts quite a bit. He is now too dangerous for that position, called it. (Even though I’m NOT convinced he did anything other than party like a normal 17 yr old boy)

mazingerz88's avatar

Does Ford really need someone to corroborate for her when Kavanaugh has Judge as his corroborator who is also under accusation?

How can anybody expect or even assume Judge would corroborate honestly?

Also it seems Ford has more people attesting credibly to her claim as to Kavanaugh’s brand of behavior during that time when the attack happened more than what Kavanaugh has.

Even Kavanaugh’s own friends attest to his drinking and its strong effect on him.

Caravanfan's avatar

I am a centrist. I had absolutely no problem with Gorsuch. Conservative presidents get to nominate conservative justices, just as liberal presidents get to nominate liberal justices.

It was Kavanaugh’s mien that really bothered me. He could have said any one of a number of things. “I drank a lot in high school. I realize it was illegal at the time, but I was a stupid high school student. I got in fights. I have deep respect for Dr. Ford and her recollection of events, and I have the deepest empathy for victims of sexual harrassment. Please know that the events she described did not happen to me and I would welcome an investigation to find out who it was she described so the truth can be known.”

Had he said something like that I would have been okay. Instead we get insults, conspiracy theories and hysterics. He’s acting like a rich white frat boy who may be denied his chance at team captain.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Yellowdog “But there is no corroboration. No evidence.”

This is simply false, as Wittes himself points out. Some of the evidence is weak, and none of it is dispositive. But to say that there is no evidence whatsoever is to be either woefully ignorant or thoroughly dishonest.

“When even her best friend said she has no memory of this gathering and has never met Brett Kavanaugh, that’s where it lost credibility for me.”

Assuming you are talking about Keyser (who is a lifelong friend of Ford’s, but may or may not be her “best friend” depending on who is writing any particular article), this is not quite accurate. Keyser says she has no recollection of the incident (not that anyone ever said she did) nor of the party (though who recalls every party they ever attended?), but she has not said that she never met Kavanaugh. She has said only that she does not know him.

The difference should be obvious. There are plenty of people who I have met but do not know. I have met Elton John, for instance, but I don’t know him. On the other hand, I know some jellies pretty well without having ever met them. Familiarity comes in degrees. And in any case, why should Keyser remember Kavanaugh? It’s not like he assaulted her, after all. The most we can get from her lack of memory, then, is a neutral “no new evidence.” Only an irrational leap of illogic gets us from “Keyser doesn’t remember it” to “it didn’t happen.”

Somewhat relevant note: two friends of mine apparently had (consensual) sex for the first time at a New Year’s Eve party that I hosted. I had no idea until they told me many years later. Should I not believe them simply because I didn’t personally witness them mid-coitus?

“Except, this is an accuser, and whose story doesn’t seem to fit the facts, and is mostly pushed by Democrats hellbent on stopping Kavanaugh.”

Again, this seems like a gross exaggeration. As Wittes again notes, Kavanaugh’s own calendars line up with Ford’s account pretty well. Indeed, her account fits most of the available facts, shows none of the signs that typically indicate that one is falsifying their story, and has only the gaps that are consistent with normal memory loss.

Again, this is not dispositive. We cannot say anything about this case with absolute certainty. Then again, I cannot say with absolute certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow or that we are not all living in a sophisticated computer simulation. Luckily, absolute certainty is not the proper standard here. And as this is not a criminal trial, neither is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

When thinking about appointing people to lifetime positions of great power, it is the nominees who must prove themselves acceptable beyond a reasonable doubt. This is necessary not just because of how much trust we place in the nominees themselves, but because of how much trust we place in the institution to which they are being appointed. The only power the Supreme Court has to enforce its decisions is the respect afforded to it as an august body of conscientious, even if opinionated, jurists acting in good faith. To the extent that Kavanaugh threatens the Court’s reputation and trust, he ought not be appointed to its bench.

“The Atlantic has been running a LOT of anti-Kavanaugh pieces and live interviews lately.”

Alternatively, The Atlantic has been running a lot of Kavanaugh pieces lately because he is such a central figure in the news cycle, and it just so happens that the news isn’t good for Kavanaugh. Just because facts aren’t biased doesn’t mean they have to be neutral.

imrainmaker's avatar

He really lost it with his reply during the hearing. This isn’t a way a nominee for permanent Supreme court seat should be talking ..not during his worst outburst too. It could / should have been responded to in a more sensible way.

rojo's avatar

@Yellowdog, but what of the article? Does it make you think? Obviously it doesn’t change your mind but does it make you more apt to come up with further excuses and to stand your ground even more steadfastly than before you read it?

Patty_Melt's avatar

The article represents, to me, just what the author expresses, his opinion, and why.
It offers no new evidence, simply points out how he went about forming his own opinion.

While it provides a clear map of how he formed his own opinion, it does nothing to influence me.

I did find it interesting that he said. I can understand his behavior if he is innocent of the accusations against him. (paraphrasing)

That much I do agree with. If I had spent years working on behalf of men, women, democrats and republicans, and suddenly one group is trying to ruin me, I too would be tempted to point that out. It didn’t help him, likely hurt him, but I don’t think it is indicative of how he would approach cases.

Unlike the author, I’m not scared of public opinion regarding my interpretations of the testimonies.

I have known a lot of wealthy, self important young men. Aside from those I have known from every day life, I was stationed at the Naval Academy for over three years, and spent a lot of time dealing with entitled little puppies. There were those I would have happily back handed as a daily ritual. However, I came to like and even admire several. Some were deeply motivated and fire driven.

Due to personal experience of my own, I am reluctant to judge someone strictly by social status, or wealth.

Yellowdog's avatar

The senate vote is not about how you defend yourself after you’ve had your name dragged through the mud and your family destroyed and reputation besmirched as the top story in worldwide media as you’re called a serial rapist and pedophile.

It is about the constitutionality issues regarding the candidate.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Okay @Yellowdog so we’ll cut Dr. Ford’ and her family a bye.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Patty_Melt “If I had spent years working on behalf of men, women, democrats and republicans”

Except that’s not even remotely accurate as a characterization of Kavanaugh’s career. He spent most of his life as a Republican political operative and was rewarded for that with a federal judgeship (which was held up for three years due to concerns over his partisanship—the same concerns that inform Wittes’ reluctance to endorse Kavanaugh’s nomination today).

Kavanaugh himself has said that “the Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution,” and yet he made extremely partisan attacks in his opening statement. But perhaps Danica Roem of the Virginia House of Delegates said it best: “If you’re being nominated for a nonpartisan position as a neutral arbiter on the Supreme Court, attacking ‘the left,’ ‘Democrats,’ ‘the Clintons’ and ‘the media’ in your opening statement while noting there will be reprisal for years to come is, well, disqualifying.”

Because at this point, Kavanaugh doesn’t belong on the US Supreme Court regardless of whether or not he assaulted Ford (or anyone else). Not only did he almost certainly lie about his drinking habits while under oath, he simply does not have the proper temperament for a Supreme Court judge. That probably won’t stop him from getting confirmed, of course, but what is and what ought to be have never been one and the same in this world.

@Yellowdog “The senate vote is not about how you defend yourself”

Of course it is. The man is being considered for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Everything about him is to be taken into consideration, whether it be his past behaviors, his temperament, or his willingness to be forthright and honest while under oath.

Do you think you could show up for a job interview, shout at and/or lie to the interviewers, and then expect to get the job? Do you think that the only thing that matters is whether you are qualified on paper even if there are other things—such blatant dishonesty or a criminal background—that suggest you ought not be given the job despite your education or training?

Because there are an awful lot of people who have stolen money (whether straight from the till or by way of elaborate embezzlement schemes) who probably won’t be trusted with any company’s monetary assets ever again, and it’s hard to blame the companies for that no matter how many academic degrees or years on the job they had before getting caught. Similarly, people who blatantly lie in job interviews usually aren’t asked back for another one.

The only things propping Kavanaugh up at this point are flimsy rationalizations and pure partisan rancor. If and when he gets appointed to the Supreme Court, it will serve as yet another reminder of how often the worst parts of us prevail.

Zaku's avatar

@Yellowdog “The senate vote is not about how you defend yourself”
As the article went into in thoughtful detail, it really should be.

This is about a lifetime appointment to one of only nine positions on the highest court of the land, which is the top authority on what the laws of our country is.

That person’s job is to be an impartial expert on and upholder of the Constitution and the laws, basing decisions not on his personal views on the issues, but on an impartial expert legal analysis of what the Constitution and the laws say.

I would hope everyone would want to make the very best choice for these important positions, and want the bar for approval to be very high, and include impeccable honesty, maturity, impartiality, fairness, humility, such as seem to me to have been shown clearly absent, I’d think even if one believes the charges to be false.

Why not prefer someone else? It’s not like Trump won’t be the one choosing whoever else would be appointed. Is there no one better suited?

seawulf575's avatar

I think the article is an opinion…nothing more, nothing less. I disagree with some of the opinions being displayed in it. I fully support the author to have his opinions, I stand by mine. The opinion of the author seems to be that since Kavanaugh didn’t react the way the author felt he should, he is wrong and not good for the SCOTUS. He feels that calling out the Dems on their underhanded behaviors is wrong. I disagree with that…no surprise there! But if the opinion is that acting unjudicially could cast doubt on your fairness on the SCOTUS, then why isn’t he calling out Ginsburg as well? She made multiple statements against then-candidate Donald Trump, basically campaigning for Hillary. How is that impartial? How about Kagan and Ginsburg participating in same-sex marriage ceremonies while the Obergefell v Hodges case was in the SCOTUS docket? They should have recused themselves and didn’t. How is that impartial? It seems that this article, like so many, wants to point a finger and hold conservatives to a higher value than they hold liberals. And that Is what I think about that article.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The article is just another in the inevitable parade of nails that must apear in Kavanaugh’s coffin the longer he is exposed to scrutiny.

Zaku's avatar

@seawulf575 Thanks for the clear explanation of your thinking. That’s exactly what I was curious about in this question.

Caravanfan's avatar

Well, it looks like the perjured attempted rapist is going to the Supreme Court. Yay us!

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan if by “perjured attempted rapist” you mean a guy that was accused of a 35 year old action for which there is no confirming evidence, then you might be right. But if you mean a guy that was actually convicted or even tried for perjury or attempted rape, then you are dead wrong. But I understand being a liberal prevents you from being able to tell the difference.

chyna's avatar

Agreed @caravanfan. And I’m wondering how much of an alcoholic he is. Probably a raging alcoholic who has anger issues at home.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Maybe his liver will last for a couple of major cases.

Just saying.

Caravanfan's avatar

@chyna Actually, I’m reasonably certain that he’s a decent judge and he’s not a raging alcoholic. As I said before I’d be absolutely fine with him if he didn’t have such a hysterical, frightening testimony and I have no problem with him being a conservative, and I don’t have a problem with a 5–4 conservative majority—it won’t change things much. I have a problem with him being a liar, and I do not find his denials believible in the least.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan so you put forth a citation that…what…proves that liberalism used to mean something? It probably did. Today they would be called Libertarians or possibly Independents. Today’s liberals are progressive socialists. Sorry, that’s how it works. The article basically says that Republicans should move farther to the left. What a surprise from a liberal outlet.

Caravanfan's avatar

I would hardly call The Atlantic liberal, but whatever.

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