His point is simple: Why gamble? There are dozens of other well-qualified conservative judges whom Trump could nominate with no allegations of attempted rape hanging over their heads. Why put a man on the Court who’s destined to saddle the institution with grubby suspicions that he’s a sex offender, regardless of what the FBI report says?
But the answer is simple too: Democrats don’t operate in good faith. Their handling of Ford’s letter is proof enough of that. Any other nominee will face a scorched-earth campaign, if not in the precise terms that Kavanaugh has than with the most incendiary fuel the left can manage against him or her. Remember, within hours of Kavanaugh being nominated, despite him being very much a “mainstream” choice, Senate Democrats scrambled to declare their opposition. Booker himself, as I recall, claimed that backing the nominee would amount to complicity in “evil” before the month of July was over.
For reasons partisan and ideological, bareknuckled revenge for Merrick Garland and legal protection for the sacred right to kill one’s child in the womb, they’d go to the mat against anyone Trump nominates. Try to choke down the bile during the part of the clip below where Booker casually alludes to the many other Federalist-Society-approved shortlisters whom Trump might choose if Kavanaugh were simply out of the way. There’s not one among them — not one — whom Booker himself would not merely oppose adamantly but whose confirmation he would declare the beginning of the end of “progress” as we know it.
To yank Kavanaugh on grounds that he’s been muddied by liberals and their allies is thus to incentivize mud-flinging, handing the minority de facto veto power over nominees if only they can bury him or her in enough sh*t. Christine Blasey Ford could be telling the truth. But she’s surrounded by cutthroats, this guy among them. Even if you trust her, how can you trust them?
“Why gamble?” isn’t as simple a question as Booker thinks either. The stakes have been raised, notes Alan Dershowitz:
Being on the Supreme Court is a privilege, not a right. But being disqualified based on a false accusation of a crime would be a violation of the fundamental right to fairness. Some will argue that the issue of Judge Kavanaugh’s ideological and professional qualifications should be merged with the sexual allegations and that doubts should be resolved against a lifetime appointment.
In some cases that would be a plausible argument. But it is too late for that kind of nuanced approach now, because these accusations have received world-wide attention. Judge Kavanaugh is on trial for his life. At stake are his career, his family, his legacy and a reputation earned over many decades as a lawyer and judge.
If he is now denied the appointment, it will be because he has been depicted as a sexual predator who deserves contempt, derision and possible imprisonment. He may no longer be able to teach law, coach sports or expect to be treated respectfully.
“We have come a long way since McCarthyism,” Dershowitz writes, “but we now live in an age that risks a new form of sexual McCarthyism.” The idea that a man might only be cleared of suspicion of a terrible crime by handing him a seat on the Supreme Court is bizarre beyond belief, but that’s effectively the dynamic now. Collins, Murkowski, and Flake could try to finesse it by voting no on confirmation while insisting publicly that they believe Kavanaugh did nothing wrong, but who would believe it? What sense would it make for them to hold off on confirming him pending the FBI’s probe, conclude from the results that he’s likely innocent, and then vote no anyway?
If Booker’s serious in believing that Republicans can do better, here’s an easy way to test it: Have him name, say, five judges on Trump’s list of potential nominees whom he thinks are worthy of confirmation. Approach Collins and Murkowski and try to get a little Gang of Eight going or whatever. If they’ll agree to bork Kavanaugh, he’ll agree to support any of the five should Trump name them as Kavanaugh’s reaplacement. And more importantly, he’ll agree to oppose any attempt by Schumer to hold the seat open indefinitely next year if Democrats retake the Senate majority in November. You trust Spartacus to keep his word, don’t you? He’d definitely be willing to sink his 2020 ambitions by angering the left in the name of finding a better conservative alternative to Kavanaugh.