Look me in the (virtual) eyes and tell me we shouldn’t scrap this garbage spectacle altogether. There’s no reason we couldn’t have senators submit written questions to a SCOTUS nominee, give him two weeks to answer, then hold an up-or-down vote. There hasn’t been a meaningful Supreme Court confirmation hearing since Clarence Thomas’s, and those were extraordinary circumstances because of the sexual harassment allegations against him. Unless there’s scandal to explore, there’s simply no point to quizzing nominees in real time. Particularly in an age of the Ginsburg Rule, extensive pre-hearing meetings between the nominee and various senators, and extraordinarily close White House vetting of candidates to avoid any confirmation-process surprises.
Ending the hearings might even drain some of the poison from the unbearably poisonous partisanship of Supreme Court politics. A little. Maybe.
Because we do still insist on hearings, though, bored political junkies are forced to fill the time somehow. Today some of the dopier skeptics of the Trump administration filled it by keying in on what was going on in a corner of their TV screens. Hysterical overinterpretation of innocuous events isn’t just for QAnon fans anymore:
Kavanaugh’s former law clerk Zina Bash is flashing a white power sign behind him during his Senate confirmation hearing. They literally want to bring white supremacy to the Supreme Court. What a national outrage and a disgrace to the rule of law. https://t.co/uQGOpNa6xg
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 4, 2018
They’re referencing this. Could it be that the Trump administration is so infested with white nationalists that one of them was flaunting her sympathies behind the next Supreme Court justice in front of the whole country?
Why, no. As chance would have it, the woman behind Kavanaugh is well known to Washington insiders. That’s Zina Bash, one of Kavanaugh’s former clerks who went on to work on immigration policy for the White House. Bash is her married name; her maiden name is Gelman. A little background on her mom and dad:
A distinguished physician, Dr. [Lawrence] Gelman is a second-generation Polish-American Jew whose parents barely escaped the Holocaust and found solace in America. Growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, this son of newly-minted American immigrants developed his political beliefs viewing freedom as a remedy for the evils of government control.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Gelman received his medical degree in anesthesia from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and his first experience with Texas was during a residency in Lubbock following graduation. While studying medicine, he met his wife of 38 years, Maria Esperanza in Monterrey, Mexico, with whom he had four children: Alexander, Zina, Rachel and Sharon. His wife wanted to live close to her family, thus McAllen became their home.
The accused “white power” signaler is of Mexican ancestry and a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Jewish Mexicans — the most dangerous white nationalists of all.
Maybe she’s under deep, deep cover. If so, it must be really deep: By more than one account, she’s a very nice person.
What’s the hand signal for “The Resistance is filled with bad-faith morons”?
Bash is fortunate that her background disproves the accusation against her so obviously. If it didn’t, this charge would follow her around for God only knows how long no matter how innocent her hand gestures today were. As it is, the only semi-redeeming virtue of this pitiful episode is that the QAnon people are destined to notice and conclude that Bash was actually sending a coded signal to them about Trump’s and Mueller’s secret plan to liberate the kids from the pedophile camps or whatever. Via the Free Beacon, here’s Ben Sasse reflecting on the fact that SCOTUS hearings are insulting, grandstanding idiocy.
Update: Bash’s husband, U.S. Attorney John Bash, is understandably unhappy.