Richard Davis: Kavanaugh's confirmation speaks to loss of American standards

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Last week's confirmation hearings for this country's newest right-wing justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, brought the reality show business to new heights of absurdity. Some degree of substance was once a standard in the U.S. Senate and the Supreme Court nomination process.

But we now live in the age of Trump and very little of gravitas and dignity are left in the processes of government. The confirmation hearings were a reflection of where we are as a nation and they show us how theater has subverted the former order of the day.

It was clear before the hearings began that the Senate Republicans in Washington probably had enough votes to confirm the Trump pick for the court. Once he was announced as the candidate, the games began. This guy had a history that needed to be revealed to the public and Trump's people knew that they had to keep a lot of his record from the public eye.

The night before the hearing, the Republican leadership on the senate Judiciary Committee dumped a large number of documents on the other members. Those records, which would have been impossible to finish reading by the next day, were just a sliver of the history of the man, and Trump found a way to conceal anything that might hurt Kavanaugh's nomination.

Democrats on the committee spent a lot of time in the hearing trying to get the chair to turn over the hidden documents. Senator Patrick Leahy-D-Vermont did not mince words and according to a WCAX news story, "Leahy is one of a group of Democratic senators asking for the release of documents from Kavanaugh's time as White House staff secretary. Leahy said in his 44 years in Washington, he's never seen a vetting process more partisan and less transparent. "Never, never, never have I seen something like this. Never, never have I seen a record hidden the way this one is. It is undeniable that documents of clear public interest are being hidden from the American people." Leahy said without these records, confirming Kavanaugh would be like rushing to a verdict before a trial.

A perspective on this issue was also provided in a story on the Salon web site. "Kavanaugh has historically low approval ratings for a Supreme Court pick, and his nomination is clouded by serious legitimacy concerns. That's true both because President Trump is the focus of an investigation that has resulted in several numerous guilty pleas and convictions among his associates, and because there has still been no accounting for the way Senate Republicans outright stole a Supreme Court nomination from Barack Obama."

The Salon story go on to note that, "Democrats came out swinging Tuesday morning. For two hours, the minority members on the Senate Judiciary Committee kept raising objections and demanding adjournment, on the grounds that Republicans have gone out of their way to conceal what Democrats said amounted to 90 percent of Kavanaugh's records from his time in government service. The Trump administration is even citing 'executive privilege' to shield 100,000 pages of Kavanaugh documents from the George W. Bush years."

So here we are once again in a position of seeing our government being hijacked by a bunch of political thugs intent upon turning the Supreme Court into a rubber stamp for the rich, powerful and holier-than-thou American right-wing party.

What will it take before the American people decide to take back America? Or do we really have anything to take back? Perhaps we should simply tear everything down and start from scratch.

Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at rbdav@comcast.net. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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