I was in the end prompted to write this essay because on Thursday Kavanaugh published a remarkable editorial in the Wall Street Journal in which he apologized for his rash words and attempted to reclaim for himself the “independence and impartiality” so necessary for judges. But judicial temperament is not like a mask that can be put on or taken off at will. Judicial temperament is more than skin-deep. It is part of the DNA of person, as is well illustrated by Merrick Garland, who never once descended to the partisan rancor of Kavanaugh, despite the Senate’s refusal even to dignify his nomination with a hearing.
Judge Kavanaugh cannot have it both ways. He cannot gain confirmation by unleashing partisan fury while simultaneously claiming that he possesses a judicial and impartial temperament. If Kavanaugh really cared about the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court, he would even now withdraw from consideration.