New Orleans It’s appalling to read almost anything about Judge Kavanagh and the relentless, tone deaf efforts of the Republican majority in the Senate to push through his nomination. Even as hearings loom and his victim negotiates to come forward, there is a tragic sense of inevitability shrouding this nomination that now reduces the country for decades, just as the seating of Clarence Thomas has done.
The obvious impact of Kavanagh being seated is the recognition that this will now give conservatives a solid expectation of a majority on a host of their favorite issues like support of guns, religious license and opposition to abortion, labor and civil rights, immigration and a host of other pet peeves. There may be surprises, but there’s no question that we face decades of legally questionable, but undeniably partisan decisions. The pretension that we have an objective rule of law and that the court is unbiased will be an exercise in nostalgia.
This may be one of those notorious Robert Johnson and Goethe-like cases of making a deal with the devil and losing your eternal soul. In this case, the analogy would be Republicans and conservatives taking control of the Supreme Court now, but in doing so losing their chances at winning the majority of religious or women voters for the same generation and likely young people, minorities, and those with immigrant heritage as well. The consequences would then be losing the Presidency, the House, and Senate in the same period that they hold onto the Court.
President Trump of course deserves the lion’s share of the credit for damaging the party’s standing with women, perhaps forever, and shaking the faith of the truly religious with any commitment to common decency or morality as opposed to political expediency. Strong arming the nomination of a justice in the #MeToo period against a credible allegation of sexual assault is another stake in the heart of their prospects for the future. For goodness sake, Ronald Reagan’s daughter has come out in her defense acknowledging her own assault years ago and unwillingness to talk about it. A hard liner from a red county was quoted in the Journal saying what all of us believe that “everyone at 17 knows what sexual assault is.” Just as Anita Hill will be a feature of Clarence Thomas’ obituary, so will this assault be part and parcel of a future Justice Kavanagh’s obituary. The truly religious and women will not forget this mindless display of political power when it comes for their equally powerful ability to vote.
The Republican tactics of “expediency without principle” and “power without platform,” can work for short term advantage even if in the case of the Court it is a long-term disaster, but they seem to be forgetting that tactical superiority that is not embedded in a solid strategy reaps the whirlwind. In America where despite voter suppression, elections are still held and results still counted, they will pay for these machinations that are so out of step with the American people and fundamental American values.