As I was writing this, the FBI report commissioned to canonize Brett Kavanaugh was senators’ favorite one-handed auto-erotic aid this morning. I didn’t yet know what it would say. Not that it was going to make a difference for 96 percent of senators and 100 percent of Americans. With a Trump courtesan like Lindsey Graham and alumni of the Anita Hill stoning like Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch lubricating the Senate Judiciary Committee, it’s been pretty obvious since his nomination that Kavanaugh would get enrobed. It wouldn’t matter if he were a liar, a lout, a lecher, a drunk and a goon. The president is all those things, minus the drunk part, and he got elected to an office substantially more powerful than a supreme court seat.
So we shouldn’t be surprised about his choices. We enabled them. I mean, look at his staff or his cabinet, which has had almost more wife-beaters, racists, fraudsters, felons, traitors and dimwits than even Ronald Reagan’s White House managed, and that one finished the show with 138 administration officials investigated, indicted or convicted, most in history. It would have been foolish to expect Trump to nominate a Louis Brandeis or a Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He was going to nominate a man in his image, but with a law degree and the ability to speak in full sentences. He couldn’t clone Clarence Thomas. So Kavanaugh is his man.
It appears Thomas’s title as the meanest, angriest justice of the last three decades is in jeopardy, now that Kavanagh will elevate the angry white male to judicial supremacy while also ensuring that the other kind of supremacy prevails a few decades longer. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that for all the grotesque number of young black men massacred or terrorized by cops, it’s taken a millionaire Yalie to awaken the president’s anguish that rich white men’s libidos matter.
There’s fair opposition to Kavanaugh because of his tawdry character, just as there was with Clarence Thomas. But all things being equal–there’s little difference between these men’s character and the chambers they come from or are joining–my objection to Kavanaugh predates the scandals, at least the boozy and predatory ones.
You may recall that in 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked 7-7 on Clarence Thomas before the revelations of Anita Hill. It was Thomas’s lies and philosophy that were a problem. He was a thin-skinned mullah, an extremist ready to return the Warren Court’s progressions to the stone age, meaning back to the pre-New Deal days of William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes. That, and the proof of his last 27 sadistic years, is why he shouldn’t have been confirmed.
Brett Kavanaugh is Clarence Thomas on meth. Besides writing soft porn as a mercenary (his Long Dong Silver was the Starr Report), there’s his role during the George W. Bush administration, starting with helping Bush steal the 2000 election, then becoming part of the legal junta that included John Yoo and David Addington, architects of the war on Americans still euphemized in foxier circles as the “war on terror.” His name was not on the memos glorifying waterboarding, black sites, torture, Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition, but he was in the room, and of course he lied in his 2006 confirmation hearing when asked about his involvement in terrorism matters.
Admittedly it’s not fair to criticize a member of the Bush gang for lying in an administration that immediately signaled that truth-tellers would not be tolerated. So jump to Kavanaugh’s years on the federal bench: Abortion? Against. Obamacare? Against. Unions, workplace safety, anything with the word “regulation” in it? Against. Domestic spying? Hell, yes. Police spying on private citizens? Absolutely. A theocratic reading of the First Amendment? Why not. Brown-skin bans? Play Dixie for him. Presidential powers that would arouse even a dead Louis XIV? Strike up the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
That’s the man our college of cardinals is confirming to the Supreme Court. If you think that’s a “small-government conservative,” you might want to rethink your definitions of those three words. There’s more activism in a besotted Kavanaugh burp than in all the penumbras of William O. Douglas’s opinions. Not that any other man out of Trump’s Federalist Society seraglio would be any different. That’s the ultimate lesson of the Kavanaugh follies. Confirmed or not, whoever’s next in line would be no different. Look at Neil Gorsuch. He might be less personally sleazy, more temperamentally amoebic, but judicially? Same shill, different name.
On the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s the 1920s all over again, with triumphalic vengeance.