There were few silver linings, such as when thoughtful politicians, like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, did decide to oppose Kavanaugh. The real moment for reconsideration should have come when former Justice John Paul Stevens, 98, in highly unusual remarks, said that Judge Kavanaugh’s openly expressed prejudices should disqualify him from serving on the court. It was extraordinary for a former Justice to speak out against a nominee for the supreme court, but Steven’s rebuke barely registered in the partisan din.
The Kavanaugh confirmation process was worse in some ways than Clarence Thomas’s and the bitter legacy will be similar. Then, as now, conservatives were motivated to support their embattled nominee. The political passions of the moment favored Thomas’ confirmation. But a year later, public opinion had sharply turned and it was the fury of women that was felt at the ballot box in 1992.
It is beyond sad that the United States now has two Justices sitting under the cloud of perjury and sexual misconduct. While the supreme court was once seen as standing above politics, it, too, is now justifiably seen as partisan. How can it not, when President Trump picks his nominees from pre-approved lists blessed by the conservative Federalist and Heritage Foundations?