NYT Chutzpah: Kavanaugh’s ‘Bitter’ Anger at Being Called Rapist Puts Neutrality In Doubt

September 29th, 2018 12:31 PM

Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak was brazen in advancing a particularly audacious partisan argument -- that getting angry at being called a rapist by millions of people means you lack judicial temperament – on the front of Saturday’s New York Times: “Nominee’s Diatribe Poses Threat To Court’s Neutrality, Some Fear.” The online headline added an adjective: “A Bitter Nominee, Questions of Neutrality, and a Damaged Supreme Court”:

In the first round of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings early this month, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh kept his cool under hostile questioning, stressed his independence, and exhibited the calm judicial demeanor that characterized his dozen years on a prestigious appeals court bench.

“The Supreme Court,” he said, “must never be viewed as a partisan institution.”

His performance on Thursday, responding to accusations of sexual misconduct at a hearing of the same Senate committee, sent a different message. Judge Kavanaugh was angry and emotional, embracing the language of slashing partisanship. His demeanor raised questions about his neutrality and temperament and whether the already fragile reputation of the Supreme Court as an institution devoted to law rather than politics would be threatened if he is confirmed.

It’s too late to complain about court partisanship, given the left has elevated the Supreme Court to the premier political domain using it to achieve what they can’t pass through legislation:

The charged language recalled Judge Kavanaugh’s years as a partisan Republican, working for Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated a series of scandals involving Bill and Hillary Clinton, and serving as an aide in the administration of George W. Bush. It was less consistent with the detached judicial temperament that lawyers associate with an ideal judge.

Liptak, unlike his colleagues, located the correct origin of harsh Supreme Court partisanship, though he failed to mention that it was the Democratic Party that launched it:

A confirmation hearing is not a courtroom, of course, but experts in law and psychology said there was reason to fear that Judge Kavanaugh’s searing reaction to the recent accusations could affect his work should he be confirmed to the Supreme Court.


In 1991, in a hearing with distinct echoes of the one on Thursday, Judge Clarence Thomas vehemently and categorically denied accusations that he had sexually harassed a subordinate, Anita F. Hill....A bitter Justice Thomas went on to become the most conservative member of the Supreme Court in modern history.

Liptak really stretched to find dangerous partisan action by supposedly bitter conservative judges:

Justice Alito, too, has forged a consistently conservative voting record. And in 2010, he mouthed the words “not true” at a State of the Union address in which President Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United campaign finance case. That overt clash, with a Democratic president on one side and a Republican appointee on the other, was another sign of a deepening partisan divide.

Occasional columnist Roger Cohen advanced a similar phony argument in more virulent, racial terms:

What America saw before the Senate Judiciary Committee was an injudicious man, an angry brat veering from fury to sniveling sobs, a judge so bereft of composure and proportion that it was difficult not to squirm....

This is what you get from the unexamined life, a product of white male privilege so unadulterated that, until a couple of weeks ago, Kavanaugh never had to ask himself what might have lurked, and may still linger, behind the football, the basketball, the lifting weights, the workouts with a great high-school quarterback, the pro-golf tournaments with Dad....

Kavanaugh is guilty of not keeping an open mind whether or not he’s a rapist:

Kavanaugh swears under oath that he never “sexually assaulted anyone.” To entertain even the possibility of it would be to dismantle the entire edifice of his holier-than-thou life....

Cohen lazily rehashed smug liberal talking points, as if trying to ruin a man’s reputation and life with accusations of violent criminal behavior is nothing more than the level of a “job interview.”

This was a job interview, not a criminal trial. The accusation against Kavanaugh -- involving an incident 36 years ago in an undetermined location, uncorroborated by those present -- would not currently stand up in a court of law.....

But Kavanaugh’s bleating about due process and presumption of innocence -- his rage at a supposed “national disgrace” -- misses the point. He failed the job interview. Who would want this spoiled man pieced together on a foundation of repressed anger and circumscribed privilege -- this man who quite plausibly was the teenage drunk near-suffocating Christine Blasey Ford as he ground his body against hers, this man who may now have perjured himself -- occupying a place for life on the highest court in the land?