He was already sworn in as a justice on Saturday night but it’s traditional to repeat the process for public consumption afterward. And Trump and Kavanaugh do have to follow that tradition here, no matter how sour the national mood might be. If they canceled the ceremony to soothe Democratic feelings, it’d be a concession to the claim that Kavanaugh’s appointment is illegitimate and/or that he’s guilty of what he’s been accused of, as if he needs be hidden away in shame. Step one in building his credibility among skeptics is to treat him like any other justice would be treated.
Although Trump’s already deviating from that plan a bit with the timing of tonight’s event:
In front of a room full of reporters, television cameras and Republican lawmakers at 7:00 p.m. Monday, the president will stand next to Kavanaugh and present him to the nation as one of the crowning achievements of his first two years in office.
Trump did not give the same treatment to Justice Neil Gorsuch, whose confirmation process was far less controversial. The president swore Gorsuch in at an 11 a.m. ceremony in the Rose Garden.
Gorsuch got a middle-of-the-day ceremony, Kavanaugh gets primetime when millions are home and can watch on live TV. Both sides will be gratified by that in different ways. Righties can open a cold one and savor the moment. Lefties can treat it as a matador waving the red cape before the midterms.
Because bolstering Kavanaugh’s legitimacy is the most important thing now, Trump hopefully won’t do any partisan endzone-dancing at this ceremony. I don’t think he will, but when the president and an open mic are in the same room anything can happen. Dave Marcus, a correspondent for the Federalist, begs not just POTUS but all righties in the Times today to stop spiking the ball and let Kavanaugh get on with the job of being a judge:
One reason a muted and conciliatory approach is advisable is that the Supreme Court, unlike the elected branches of government, exercises its power not through control of the purse or the military, but through the faith of the American people. If that faith is sufficiently shaken, the most vital check Americans have on elected power could be shattered, and the Democrats are not without options to capitalize on it…
Whatever one believes about the allegations leveled against Mr. Kavanaugh, it is clear that millions of Americans are in real pain. The widespread feeling that the voices of women are being ignored — once again — is leading to a rage that many on the left are increasingly embracing as the necessary counter to Trump-era conservatism…
The task for conservatives in the wake of these ugly two weeks is not to point and laugh, but to show care and compassion that may build trust in Mr. Kavanaugh and the court among those who so bitterly and sincerely opposed him. There is plenty of blame for the tribalism in our country to go around. Ending it, however, is a task best undertaken by the side that is winning.
I’m trying to imagine Kavanaugh’s face if he took the oath tonight and Trump stepped up to say a few words about “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer or “Lyin’ Christine” Ford or the “animals” who have been protesting as the new justice stands right there, in frame. Luckily POTUS has a dozen other opportunities in front of cameras each day to make his feelings clear. Watch him below marveling at the “evil” people who accused Kavanaugh in a speech in Miami earlier today. That’s aimed more at his enemy Michael Avenatti than at Christine Blasey Ford, I think, but each viewer will process it in their own way.
The ceremony should be carried live on all the cable news nets at 7 p.m. but if you’re not near a TV you can watch it on the CSPAN livestream.
President Donald Trump on the confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: "It was very, very unfair, what happened to him … It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil. And he toughed it out" https://t.co/Bk4LF9GVPM pic.twitter.com/imE9Oj96rH
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 8, 2018
Update: He had a friendly crowd in the room for this line. Not sure how friendly it was at home. And even the FBI, I bet, wouldn’t say that their findings prove Kavanaugh’s innocence.
WATCH: President Trump declares that Justice Kavanaugh "was proven innocent." pic.twitter.com/8K0JVm2E27
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 8, 2018