Senate role for Supreme Court nominees absurd
Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution says this:
The president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”
“Advice and consent.” That’s the role of the Senate on Supreme Court nominees. But nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the Senate shall conduct an absurd multiday circus with grandstanding White House wannabes, complete with orchestrated interruptions by paid protesters and even decades-old charges of sexual impropriety at the eleventh hour.
That is, apparently, what the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominees have become, and the Senate once known as “the greatest deliberative body in the world” should simply do away with them.
How bad has it gotten? Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s young daughters, Margaret, 13, and Elizabeth, 10, had to be escorted from the Senate chamber as chaos broke out on the first day of his hearing to take the high court bench. And now even if you thought it couldn’t go any lower the process has imploded.
Although Judge Kavanaugh sat for three days in that Senate hearing, there was not a word not one question about a California college professor named Christine Blasey Ford. In a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ms. Ford claimed that during a high school party in the 1980s, the future Supreme Court nominee trapped her in a bedroom, pinned her on a bed and tried to undress her.
Ms. Feinstein has had the letter for weeks, but only when the committee was set to vote did the 85-year-old California Democrat unveil it.
Democrats and talking heads in the mainstream media call the accusations “credible,” even though Ms. Ford doesn’t remember the date or even the year of the alleged crime, or even where it happened. Her story has changed at least once, and unlike other cases that have emerged in the ongoing #MeToo movement, she didn’t tell anyone after it happened some 35 years ago, when they were both teenagers.
Here’s what Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, said on the Senate floor Tuesday: “My view: Professor Ford is telling the truth.” Yup, he’s heard enough. A woman with a vague story about a 17-year-old boy is enough for Chuckie. But then, Mr. Schumer announced he’d oppose Judge Kavanaugh before the nominee said one word.
There’s also a blatant disinformation campaign going on with the Democrats. Their intent was always to delay a vote on Judge Kavanaugh until after the midterm elections, and Mr. Schumer said “the FBI should be given time to reopen its background check investigation into Judge Kavanaugh.”
But that’s not at all how things work. First, the “incident” was 35 years ago. Second, FBI background checks of nominees involve interviewing people and compiling files, which are then given to the White House and the Senate. They’re not investigating alleged crimes. Third, the FBI has already declined a request to reopen the background check on Judge Kavanaugh (the bureau is always insisting on those silly little “facts” before it moves).
By late Tuesday, it wasn’t even clear that Ms. Ford would testify as invited on Monday.
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours, three or four times by email, and we’ve not heard from them. So it kind of raises the question do they want to come to [the] public hearing or not?” Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and Judiciary Committee chairman, said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.
So, here’s where we are: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a three-day hearing, with Democrats talking about anything except Judge Kavanaugh’s record of 300-plus judicial rulings. They maligned him horribly, even drove his daughters away in fear. And when it was clear Judge Kavanaugh would ascend to the high court, allegations of sexual impropriety suddenly emerged. Now, Judge Kavanaugh may not even be able to face his accuser.
The authors of the Constitution are no doubt rolling over in their graves as no doubt they should.
Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.