At least one Democrat is taking his own side’s logic seriously. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s Sheldon Whitehouse, a former U.S. Attorney and state AG, who’s actually prosecuted the sort of degenerate Kavanaugh is accused of being. For most on the left, their alleged fervent interest in justice for Christine Blasey Ford will end the moment Kavanaugh’s nomination is dead and the right to kill children in the womb is once again safe, albeit perhaps only momentarily. But why should it end there if they believe he’s guilty? She’s claiming an attempted rape! You might not be able to get a criminal conviction with evidence this thin but you can certainly get 218 votes in the House to impeach him from the D.C. Circuit for it.
You won’t get anywhere close to 67 votes in the Senate to remove him from the bench, though. Which is probably what Pelosi and Schumer will say next year when they decide that it’s not, in fact, worth revisiting this ugly matter with hearings and an impeachment effort.
It should go without saying that Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be Justice Kavanaugh by the time a Democratic majority is in a position to take up an investigation into the Ford matter. A majority from one party investigating a Supreme Court justice nominated and confirmed by the other party for an alleged rape that was made public *before* he was confirmed would be something else, even in an age of rabid partisan nastiness. But it’s not inconceivable: Progressives would rationalize any sort of hardball tactic against the right over the Court at this point in the name of avenging Merrick Garland. At a minimum Schumer will hold open any new Supreme Court vacancies until after the 2020 election. But harassing Kavanaugh with a new rape investigation might fit the bill too, especially since it would serve the Democrats’ grand purpose of delegitimizing his authority on the bench. They won’t be able to oust him from the Court once he’s confirmed but they can certainly do things to discredit 5-4 majorities of which he’s a part, including and especially a majority to overturn Roe.
And of course that precedent will be used by Republican congressional majorities to investigate Democratic justices going forward, just as every other foolish Democratic gambit on the judiciary has been and will be used against them in time. Even if Republican leaders would rather not do it, the base will demand revenge for the revenge. In theory the race to the bottom ends at some point when one side actually reaches the bottom, but in practice it never does. There is no bottom.
As for the electoral angle, I assume that Whitehouse thinks this threat is a winning message for his party in the midterms. He might be right. New from NBC:
The polling is not good, although it doesn’t follow from the fact that Americans marginally oppose confirming Kavanaugh that they’d support new hearings next year into the alleged incident with Ford, particularly knowing that it’s next to impossible that he’d be removed from the Court. Doesn’t matter, really: Whitehouse is thinking about November here, not next year, and he’s probably right in his intuition that Kavanaugh will end up on the bench. The commentariat has spent the last four days gaming out which side is more likely to benefit in midterm turnout from this fiasco and I think it’s probably as simple as “whichever side loses the fight.” If Kavanaugh lands on the Court, Democrats have a new rallying cry that the right was willing to put a “rapist” on the Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh gets borked, Republicans have a new rallying cry that a good man was smeared with a razor-thin accusation at the last possible moment by the left (plus two RINOs in the Senate) in the name of protecting legalized baby-killing.
Skip to 7:00 here for Whitehouse’s threat about hearings next year. Exit question: Which Democratic justice will Trump demand the DOJ investigate if a new Democratic majority in Congress decides to investigate Kavanaugh? Gotta be RBG, right?