Brett Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep - a school run by the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, initially America, the official review of the Jesuit order in America - endorsed Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Like the Catholic Church leadership the Jesuits want judges and justices who will give deference to - indeed, in my view, special rights - to adherents of discriminatory, ignorance embracing religious traditions. Now, the editorial board of America has rescinded its endorsement of Kavanaugh and that "for the good of the country" Kavanaugh's nomination should be withdrawn. I agree with the call for the nomination to be withdrawn not only because I believe that Kavanaugh has lied to Congress, is likely guilty of assault as alleged, and demonstrated by his behavior of Friday that he is utterly unfit temperamentally to sit on the nation's highest court. A piece in the New York Times looks at the stunning reversal here. Here are excerpts from America's call for Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination:
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today clearly demonstrated both the seriousness of her allegation of assault by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and the stakes of this question for the whole country. Judge Kavanaugh denied the accusation and emphasized in his testimony that the opposition of Democratic senators to his nomination and their consequent willingness to attack him was established long before Dr. Blasey’s allegation was known.
Evaluating the credibility of these competing accounts is a question about which people of good will can and do disagree. The editors of this review have no special insight into who is telling the truth. If Dr. Blasey’s allegation is true, the assault and Judge Kavanaugh’s denial of it mean that he should not be seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. But even if the credibility of the allegation has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt and even if further investigation is warranted to determine its validity or clear Judge Kavanaugh’s name, we recognize that this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country. While we previously endorsed the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh on the basis of his legal credentials and his reputation as a committed textualist, it is now clear that the nomination should be withdrawn.
[T]he question is not solely about Judge Kavanaugh’s responsibility, nor is it any longer primarily about his qualifications. Rather it is about the prudence of his nomination and potential confirmation. In addition to being a fight over policy issues, which it already was, his nomination has also become a referendum on how to address allegations of sexual assault.
When Republican leaders in the Senate refused even to hold hearings on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, they were not objecting to his qualifications or character but to the likely outcome of his vote on the court were he to be confirmed. When Senate Democrats were mostly united in opposition to Judge Kavanaugh well in advance of any hearings (and before any rumor of Dr. Blasey’s accusation was known), they were using the same calculus. While regrettable in both cases, such results are, as we have said before, the predictable outcome of the fact that “fundamental questions of social policy are increasingly referred to the court for adjudication as constitutional issues.”
What is different this time is that this nomination battle is no longer purely about predicting the likely outcome of Judge Kavanaugh’s vote on the court. It now involves the symbolic meaning of his nomination and confirmation in the #MeToo era. The hearings and the committee’s deliberations are now also a bellwether of the way the country treats women when their reports of harassment, assault and abuse threaten to derail the careers of powerful men.
Dr. Blasey's accusations have neither been fully investigated nor been proven to a legal standard, but neither have they been conclusively disproved or shown to be less than credible. Judge Kavanaugh continues to enjoy a legal presumption of innocence, but the standard for a nominee to the Supreme Court is far higher; there is no presumption of confirmability. The best of the bad resolutions available in this dilemma is for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn.
If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault. Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.
For the good of the country and the future credibility of the Supreme Court in a world that is finally learning to take reports of harassment, assault and abuse seriously, it is time to find a nominee whose confirmation will not repudiate that lesson.