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It is that last-mentioned role, of course, that gives Senate Democrats heartburn. But it shouldn’t. No less than the iconic Watergate scoopmeister Bob Woodward has written that Kavanaugh was a moderating force in the office, showing wisdom and balance (sometimes in the form of basic tactfulness) that some of his superiors lacked. For instance, he opposed the decisions to include in the main report issued to Congress all the graphic details of the Clinton sexcapades and to release said details in a public document dump. (The explicit nature of the material was blamed on Republican prurience and actually helped turn the American public against impeachment.) And as one of the main authors of the report on Vince Foster’s death, Kavanaugh helped clear away some of the most outlandish rumors about that sad event. In short, he was more than fair to the Clintons, and deserves no Democratic calumny for his role.
Moreover, leading conservative legal lights uniformly give Kavanaugh high ratings on matters of principle — and the American Bar Association judicial panel gave him its highest rating of “well qualified.”
In short, Kavanaugh is, like Justices Alito and especially Roberts, a political victory just waiting to happen for Republican senators who would only be helped if the Democrats insist on raising a stink about such an attractive and talented nominee. And if Democrats are stupid enough to filibuster him, a GOP invocation of the constitutional option to kill the judicial filibuster for good, on behalf of a nominee of such star quality, could only redound to the GOP’s political benefit.
INDEED, IT IS IN PURELY POLITICAL terms that the Senate Republicans’ reluctance to push judicial nominees looks both moronic and bizarre. All the recent political history suggests that when the topic is judges, Republicans win. (Or at least conservatives win: Clearly and sadly, even many self-proclaimed “conservatives” in the Senate GOP caucus are anything but conservative in the principled, philosophical sense at all.) Current GOP senators Saxby Chambliss, Mel Martinez, David Vitter, John Thune, and Jim Talent all won hard-fought races at least in significant part by stressing the issue of judges at campaign appearance after campaign appearance. South Carolinians Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, North Carolinian Richard Burr, and Georgian Johnny Isakson also stressed judges while winning more handily.
More than that, it is on the issues surrounding judgeships that conservative positions consistently attract the largest majorities in public polling. While no good conservative judge is “result-oriented,” the simple nature of the beast is that a conservative judicial approach will tend to reach popular results — because it is the arrogant left whose judges try to dictate newfangled social outcomes, without regard to the elective branches of government, that are opposed by a majority of the American public and which are found nowhere in the text and tradition of the Constitution.
For instance, when the issue is the misuse of “eminent domain” to seize private lands for the use of other private entities, conservatives win.
When the issue is governmental hostility towards (rather than mere neutrality about) expressions of faith in the public square, conservatives win.
When the issue is partial birth abortion, conservatives win. When it’s forfeiting sovereignty by citing the supposed authority of foreign law, conservatives win. And conservatives win big on the issue of judicially imposed homosexual unions, on the Pledge of Allegiance, and especially on issues of law and order.
A politician doesn’t have to delve into abstruse constitutional theory, much less into emanations from penumbras, to make hay of these topics. All of these topic are affected by judicial decisions, and all of them create gut-level responses in conservatives’ favor among broad swaths of the American people.
Despite appearances to the contrary, a Senate staffer close to the process told me on Tuesday that at least a fair number of Republican senators understand how important the judicial nominations are, and that — probably beginning with Judge Boyle, who has waited 15 years for his chance — the nomination logjam should soon be broken. Specifically about Brett Kavanaugh, this source said that Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter is understood to be supportive, and that: “I think he’s going to move. I think you’ll see his nomination start to percolate soon.”
And, noted the staffer, “We still have the nuclear option in our back pocket.”
Here’s hoping the staffer is right. Because it’s long past time to test the Gang of 14’s deal, and to use the nuke if it’s needed.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?