Would it have been more humane or charitable to have given Garland a kabuki hearing followed by a no vote? Or, since hearings aren’t constitutionally required, maybe just rejection on the Senate floor without any debate, formally providing the “advice” to President Obama that there would be no “consent”?
I certainly feel sorry for Garland, but it’s not like he was banished onto an ice floe with his reputation in tatters. He just returned to his job as the chief judge of the second-highest court in the land, with even more respect from the legal profession and sympathy from all, including his political enemies.
Kavanaugh, meanwhile, takes his seat amid swirling debates about the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy,” with substantial portions of the population thinking he’s a rapist, or at least that he would’ve been if he weren’t too drunk to pull it off. Justice Clarence Thomas went through something similar 27 years ago, but Kavanaugh’s experience in our new-media age must have been even more searing.