It will be years before the full implications of the scandal surrounding the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court by President Trump are understood. Ironically, the structure of the scandal which has played out for weeks in political discussions and the media is relatively simple.
For despite accusations by opponents of the appointment, their grounds for opposition were bumptiously political and could not be justified in any measure by arguments about his extensive political and professional credentials. The arguments marshaled behind his principal opponent, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, have found no corroboration, even among her closest colleagues.
And those arguments by his critics were never factual. Sen. Susan Collins made a complete refutation of these charges in her very long and at times somewhat tedious refutation of the attack against Kavanaugh and her defense of his qualifications. Unfortunately, not an awful lot of people, even those interested in the case, are likely to have stayed with her during her hour and a half speech or read the text since.
There was never any question that Kavanaugh with his 28 years in the legal profession was qualified for a role as the 114th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Rather, although it was rarely stated, his opponents in the Democratic Party and elsewhere opposed his candidacy because of his well known mainline conservative political opinions. They never questioned in any reasonable substance his qualifications. Rather their opposition was based entirely on innuendo and political intrigue.
In fact, the Democrats had denounced the list of his choices of candidates at the time Trump announced them in November last year, itself an unusual and remarkable effort for more transparency in the nominating process.
Some media have made comparisons between the current Kavanaugh scandal and the events surrounding Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy [R.] in the 1950s. It is true, of course, that innocents were named by McCarthy on the floor of the Senate where he could not be indicted, but the fundamental truth of the Wisconsin senator’s accusations of naiveté and infiltration of pro-Soviet and Communist counselors in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt were true. This unsophisticated view which even tough old Winston Churchill as well as FDR displayed at the 1943 Yalta Summit and other later international conferences of Josef Stalin’s motives led to the surrender of much of the Allied army’s gains and the subjugation of much of central and Eastern Europe to the Soviets for several post-World War II generations.
Also to bear in mind, that while his opponents opposed Kavanaugh strictly on ideological grounds, it would not be the first time were he to change his ideological approach through the test of time over the 25-30 years he would likely serve on the Court. [He is only 53. Our children might even see a Kavanaugh Court with the controversial figure as the chief justice!] The most notorious of such cases was Felix Frankfurter, whom FDR appointed to the Court in 1939 [serving to 1962] as a New Deal “activist” but who became a noted advocate of judicial restraint going to great lengths to avoid unpopular decisions, including fighting to delay court decisions against laws prohibiting racial intermarriage.