Not only should Kamala Harris stop trying to sell her argument on Brett Kavanaugh and abortifacient drugs, Glenn Kessler advises at the Washington Post, Democrats should stop buying it. Yesterday, Politifact — hardly a bastion of conservative action — threw a flag on Harris’ claim that Kavanaugh himself thinks of all contraception as abortive, and noted that several of her fellow Senate Democrats had picked up the argument, too. Kessler drops four Pinocchios on Harris in a detailed fact check, and tells Democrats to drop it:
Some might argue that it’s a judgment call, open to legal interpretation, as to whether Kavanaugh “uncritically” used a term that riles advocates of abortion rights.
But a plain reading of Kavanaugh’s answer during the hearings shows that it is broadly consistent with his written opinion. One can question why he used the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” rather than “abortion-inducing products” or “abortifacients.” But it’s pretty clear from the context that he was quoting the views of the plaintiffs rather than offering a personal view.
Harris’s original tweet, with the “they say” language removed, was slightly mitigated by the second tweet a day later, providing the full context. But there was no acknowledgment by Harris that the original tweet was misleading. She earns Four Pinocchios — and her fellow Democrats should drop this talking point.
Oddly, FactCheck still hasn’t weighed in on this, although they had been tracking claims made in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing all last week. A check of the “Kavanaugh files” this morning doesn’t show any discussion of Kamala Harris’ claims, although they do have a lengthy analysis of the debate over abortion. That’s dated the same day that Harris tweeted out her deceptive and dishonestly edited video clip of Kavanaugh’s answer, but it doesn’t even get a mention there. Hmmm.
Perhaps that’s because Harris and her team are still trying to flog this dead horse by arguing that Kavanaugh should have spontaneously offered his own opinion of the plaintiff’s claims. They demanded that Kessler press the White House to get such a statement:
When we pointed out the section of the dissent concerning contraception, [Harris spokesperson Lily] Adams countered that Kavanagh appeared to struggle to say whether previous Supreme Court rulings were correctly decided when the court said the government could not prohibit either married or unmarried people from using contraceptives. He instead referred to previous statements made by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.: “That’s what they said.”
Adams challenged The Fact Checker to obtain a statement from the White House that Kavanaugh believes that the term “abortion-inducing drugs” is inaccurate.
That’s not at all what Harris originally argued, however. She claimed that Kavanaugh was employing a “dog whistle” for abortion opponents, rather than simply using the language from the arguments in the case while discussing it. To believe that this constitutes an endorsement of the argument is to make every attorney complicit in their clients’ crimes and every judge complicit in the crimes of both criminals and prosecutors. This standard would prevent anyone from discussing cases anywhere and at any time — which is a bizarre strategy for a former Attorney General to take when reviewing judicial appointments to the federal bench. It makes Kamala Harris into a joke, and a goalpost-moving one at that.
Not that this will matter in the end to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Tom Cotton announced his support for Kavanaugh on today’s Hugh Hewitt show, and says that there isn’t a single voice in the Senate Republican caucus arguing to oppose his confirmation:
HH: I’d like to begin by asking you if you will be voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to be the next justice of the Supreme Court.
TC: I will be voting, Hugh, with the majority of the U.S. Senate to make Judge Kavanaugh Justice Kavanaugh later this month.
HH: Have you heard any Republican indicate anything other than a positive vote?
TC: No, Hugh, I have not, either in their public statements or in our private conversations. And I have to say after Judge Kavanaugh’s stellar performance in the Judiciary Committee last week, I expect we’ll get not only 51 Republican votes, but some Democratic votes as well.
HH: All right, so it’s a done deal, in your view?
TC: I think it’s a done deal, Hugh.
We have yet to hear to hear definitively from Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, who hold the key to confirmation. However, the quality, hyperbole, and sheer dishonesty of the arguments being deployed against him likely will cement their desire to ensure those tactics do not get rewarded and therefore deployed in the future.