It’s the Trump era. If something doesn’t happen on television, it doesn’t happen.
When was the last confirmation hearing of any kind where the drama was as high as it’ll be for this? Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, right? If you thought the grandstanding from 2020 contenders like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris was overbearing the first time around, it’s almost unfathomable how obnoxious it’ll be this time. Booker will cry. A lot.
BREAKING: Senate committee to hold public hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after sexual assault allegation, officials say
Two officials familiar with the nomination process said Monday that Kavanaugh would return to testify before the panel.
There’ll be no committee vote on the nomination on Thursday as was previously scheduled, needless to say. As for Christine Blasey Ford, her lawyer said this morning that she would testify, and for all intents and purposes she has to. Kavanaugh facing his accusers while Ford hides would reflect badly on her credibility. She has to show. And per CNN, she will:
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) September 17, 2018
The hearing might not just be about Ford’s allegations, either. If you’re of the mind that this is an orchestrated last-minute political hit by Democrats, as about 98 percent of right-wingers are, then you should fully expect other dirt/accusations on Kavanaugh to surface this week. And looky here:
THE TOP REPUBLICAN and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were both approached in July by an attorney claiming to have information relevant to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The attorney claimed in his letter that multiple employees of the federal judiciary would be willing to speak to investigators, but received no reply to multiple attempts to make contact, he told The Intercept…
Sanai told the committee leadership that “there are persons who work for, or who have worked for, the federal judiciary who have important stories to tell about disgraced former Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and his mentee, current United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I know that there are people who wish to speak out but fear retaliation because I have been contacted by more than a half-dozen such persons since Judge Kozinski resigned in disgrace.”
Kozinski is the former Ninth Circuit judge who left the bench in December after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment over many years. How curious that this allegation about Kavanaugh is also surfacing in the media only at the eleventh hour, with no Democrats aware of it and willing to press it at Kavanaugh’s first confirmation hearing.
Hard to imagine a good outcome for the GOP at this point. Unless Ford is a surprisingly bad witness, they’ll be left at the end of the process with a nominee whom many millions of people will believe has been credibly accused of attempted rape. If they put him on the Court he’ll carry that around with him forever, especially on rulings that touch squarely on women like a possible overruling of Roe. If they don’t put him on the Court then they’ve set the precedent that one bare accusation on the record, with or without evidence, is at all takes to disqualify a nominee. They’ll have to be exceptionally careful in how they question Ford too even as Democrats put Kavanaugh through the wringer. Democrats will be treating this as a potential attack-ad goldmine of soundbites of male GOP senators insinuating that Ford is a little bit nutty or a little bit slutty. There’s already a huge gender gap in midterm polling. Team Blue will be looking to widen it by taking outsized umbrage at how Republicans interrogate Ford, assuming the mere fact of Ford’s allegations hasn’t done that already.
And even if Republicans are scrupulously polite, the political outcome here is out of their hands to some extent. The more sympathetic Ford is, the worse this looks for them, irrespective of the truth. They have no choice but to hold the hearing, as it’d have looked terrible to vote to confirm without at least hearing directly from his accuser and this way at least gives Kavanaugh a chance to evoke some public sympathy himself. But they’re really behind the eightball now.
Exit question: Will Mark Judge, the alleged third person in the room, testify too?