Members Only | October 4, 2018 | Reading Time: 6 minutes
The GOP Is About to Poison SCOTUS
The Democrats, meanwhile, must prepare to heal it.
The FBI last night wrapped up its background investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The bureau remitted its report to the White House early today. From there, it went to the Senate. Each party is taking turns reading it.
Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was the first to make a statement. No surprise, he said there’s nothing here we don’t already know. The implication was that Mitch McConnell’s plan to hold a vote tomorrow is a go.
The Democrats, of course, are going to demur. They are already suggesting that previous background checks on Kavanaugh contain troubling findings. What those are, I don’t know, because Grassley would have to make them public.
The investigation is a rush-job that can’t, and was not intended to, please everyone. The president placed major constraints on investigators. They didn’t interview Christine Blasey Ford, for instance. The probe was designed to put a veneer of respectability to the confirmation process so the Republicans look like they did due diligence. Fact is, the people investigating Kavanaugh are kinda sorta his people.
Christopher Wray, the FBI director, is a fellow member of the Federalist Society. Rod Rosenstein, second in command at the Justice Department, is a Ken Starr alum, as Kavanaugh is. My point is there’s a lot of incentive to overlook this and sidestep that.
Call it a sham if you wish.
But don’t call it hopeless.
I’m getting the impression that liberals are throwing up their hands, bewailing unfairness, and lamenting the loss of the court. I get that. Go head. Feel those feelings. Let them burn. But don’t let them consume you. There is a way forward.
First, Kavanaugh’s confirmation might not happen. The real deciders are not McConnell and Grassley. They are Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. (Yes, there are red-state Democrats to consider, but they will likely follow suit.)
All three Republicans are under enormous pressure from both sides—for and against the nominee. They are feeling heat from two major perspectives, from liberals decrying allegations of sexual assault and conservatives (and liberals) saying that confirming him will compromise the integrity of the US Supreme Court.
Listen to what they say. Every word counts. That will indicate what they’ll do. If they say one slightly negative thing about the investigation, expect McConnell to cave–and ask the president to order more questioning. If they say anything positive, that might signal that they’re going to vote yes on Kavanaugh. Like this: