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Ill-suited for the Supreme Court

Melvin B. Miller
Ill-suited for the Supreme Court
“So much for ‘e pluribus unum!”

Conflict over the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has induced patriots to consider the qualifications for that high office. The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have the responsibility to restrain the president and the Congress from usurping authority that is not granted to them by the U.S. Constitution. The Court must also assure that American citizens are granted the Civil Rights provided in the Constitution’s amendments.

It is impossible to consider a Supreme Court devoid of political considerations. The president nominates candidates to be approved or disapproved with the “advice and consent” of the Senate. One expects that a president will nominate candidates to the Supreme Court who are considered to be members of his political party and who hold views similar to his own. Nonetheless, it is expected that judges will have the judicial temperament to consider legal issues objectively.

But most of all it is expected that Supreme Court justices will have a very high sense of morality and a profound commitment to veracity. The testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee by Christine Blasey Ford raised questions about Kavanaugh’s qualifications. She charged that in 1982 when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17, and both were students at upper class prep schools in Washington, D.C., Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. This accusation changed the whole nature of the Senate inquiry.

Some of the comments attributed to esteemed solons were disappointing. Some argued that the event occurred 36 years ago and was therefore no longer relevant. “Boys will be boys.” But a very intelligent 17-year-old certainly knows that rape and attempted rape are violations of the law. An individual who knowingly and willingly violates such a serious law will have forfeited, thereby, a significant qualification for higher office.

Kavanaugh’s reaction to the charges demonstrates a temperament ill-suited for a Supreme Court justice. He was unreasonably vituperative in his denial of the charges. His antagonism toward the Democrats suggests a conflict of interest that he would have in any political issue before the court. His anger eroded any semblance of judicial dignity.

Every day in courts across America citizens stand before judges to answer for criminal charges brought against them, with the presumption that proceedings will exculpate them if they are innocent. Kavanaugh’s attitude was that he belonged to a privileged class against whom such charges should never be levelled.

Whatever might have happened back in 1982, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has performed a great public service by coming forward despite the great personal risk to provide testimony that induced a man who was highly respected to expose his dark side. Kavanaugh is no choir boy as his earlier testimony might have suggested. He was less than candid in some of his earlier responses to members of the Senate committee.

There is substantial evidence that Kavanaugh is not the best choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.