It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. His confirmation process was indisputably one of the most toxic, partisan times in Washington, DC. What were the takeaways from that episode?
It was a victory for the U.S. political system, evidence that even with our political parties vehemently at odds, majority rule was respected when the 50-48, vote was taken.
It was a victory for independent thought and reasoned judgment, expressed gracefully by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Collins restored a sense of respect to the U.S. Senate when she delivered her history-making speech.
It was a victory for peaceful transitions, as Kavanaugh was sworn in without incident, and the Supreme Court was able to get down to its business. In the end, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was a victory for the rule of law.
But this victory was not without costs — costs suffered most acutely by the Kavanaugh family. Members of that family watched their husband, father and son, go through an excruciating public ordeal that was meant to humiliate him. Many in my community watched our friend, neighbor, and basketball coach, be attacked relentlessly for weeks.
For her part, Collins faced ugly threats of violence and is now fighting a tight re-election race, in which activist groups have targeted her for defeat, flooding the state of Maine with millions of dollars in out of state money.
But most profoundly we saw how a single, unsubstantiated accusation could be weaponized and used to destroy a man’s reputation. The ramifications go far beyond Kavanaugh: The hearings were a message to anyone considering seeking a high-ranking public position. Do so, and it’s open season on your reputation, your family, even your life.
Unfortunately, many on the left are still using that same playbook. We recently saw several of the Democratic candidates for president call for impeachment proceedings to begin against Kavanaugh. They based these calls on a claim in a discredited book excerpt.
Once again, rather than being the responsible voice looking for truth and facts, the media was complicit in dishing unsubstantiated dirt, ignoring enormous weaknesses in the story, in this case, that the person allegedly exposed to inappropriate behavior did not remember the supposed event.
Last fall’s battle showed the extent some people will go to in pursuit of a progressive political agenda. Last fall’s battle was a warning of things to come.
That lesson has been learned; those who believe in due process and innocence until proven guilty need reinforcement. The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has launched a new Independent Women’s Law Center to fight unsubstantiated smears against qualified judicial nominees and advocate for due process. The debate over the next high profile confirmation hearing will be more robust with the involvement of the Independent Women’s Law Center.
And I still stand with Brett.