Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Con Game Begins


You can be forgiven if, watching the judge's speech last night, you imagined President Trump's nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy as wearing a t-shirt reading "I'm Brett Kavanaugh. Friends call me Panda Bear."

Judge Kavanaugh gave a shout-out to blacks, remarking “My mom was a teacher." (No man has a "mother" anymore; it's always "mom" because I'm an aw-shucks kind of guy.) He added "In the 1960s and 70s, she taught history at two largely African American public high schools in Washington, D.C. — McKinley Tech and H.D. Woodson. Her example taught me the importance of equality for all Americans.”

Well, except if those Americans want to vote. Ari Berman points out

As a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh voted in 2012 to uphold a South Carolina voter ID law that the Obama administration said would disenfranchise tens of thousands of minority citizens. The Justice Department blocked the law, which required government-issued photo identification to vote, in late 2011 for violating the Voting Rights Act.....

South Carolina didn’t present any cases of voter fraud to justify its law, but Kavanaugh wrote that such laws were constitutional despite an absence of evidence of fraud.

Of course he did. But Kavanaugh's pander was most in display when he directed his comments to the pivotal, female senators from Maine and from Alaska. Following his reference to mom the teacher, according to the Washington Post's Aaron Blake

The nominee's introductory speech was remarkably political. Over and over again, Kavanaugh returned to the women in his life and the diversity of those around him. It was almost as if he was campaigning for a Democratic nomination in some random House district.

He continued: “One of the few women prosecutors at that time, she overcame barriers and became a trial judge. The president introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh. But to me that title will always belong to my mom.”

And: “My law clerks come from diverse backgrounds and points of view. I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”

At other times, Kavanaugh slipped in anecdotes about coaching his daughters in basketball — and even attending this year's women's Final Four. “Our favorite memory was going to the historic Notre Dame-UConn women’s basketball game at this year’s Final Four. Unforgettable.”

Blake observed also

The nominee's introductory speech was remarkably political. Over and over again, Kavanaugh returned to the women in his life and the diversity of those around him. It was almost as if he was campaigning for a Democratic nomination in some random House district.

Message: I love all the women I have ever known, and not in a way that would embarrass Mike Pence.  The only exception, unsurprisingly, would come when they want to make their own decisions about something important such as, oh, about having children. "The Cut" notes

Just last year, he infamously ruled against an undocumented teenager in a detention facility who had petitioned for the right to access an abortion. At one point during the hearing, Kavanaugh suggested that allowing the young woman go through with the procedure would make the government “complicit” in something that is morally objectionable. In addition, in 2015, he argued in a dissent that Barack Obama’s contraception mandate infringed on the rights of religious organizations.





According to Kavanaugh himself, he is a humble religious boy, lover of both the fair sex and of the poor, who "forty years ago" was "an altar boy for Father John" and who now "help(s) him serve meals to the homeless at Catholic Charities." He has "two spirited daughters, Margaret and Liza. Margaret loves sports, and she loves to read. Liza loves sports, and she loves to talk." He boldly proclaimed that Mrs. Kavanaugh "has been a great wife and inspiring mom. I thank God every day for my family."

In a win-win, he got to hint that he is a great basketball coach while simultaneously joking about the ludicrous comparison of himself and the greatest of all college basketball coaches:

I have tried to create bonds with my daughters like my dad created with me. For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters’ basketball teams. The girls on the team call me Coach K.

I am proud of our Blessed Sacrament team that just won the city championship.

This guy's humblebrag is truly spectacular, and he won't be easy to defeat. Yet, he has a long paper trail and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who knows a thing or two about confirming Supreme Court judges, reportedly urged President Trump not to nominate Kavanaugh. If Senate Democrats can squeeze from him a moment of sincerity- a daunting task- his approval will be in serious jeopardy.




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