Skip to comments.Kavanaugh hearing antics showed Demsí contempt of Congress
Posted on 09/07/2018 9:09:22 AM PDT by yesthatjallen
Democrats like to pillory President Trump for destroying American institutions and breaking the norms of conduct. Yet, during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats blatantly and flippantly violated Senate norms, rules, and traditions and inflicted in the process considerable damage on the institution.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) interrupted the very first sentence of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassleys opening statement. Protestors constantly interrupted questions asked by senators of both parties, as well as Judge Kavanaughs answers; they were challenged only by Republican senators. But even in this chaotic atmosphere, Sen. Cory Bookers decision to violate the committees confidentiality agreement with the Executive Branch, pursuant to which the committee received documents that otherwise would have been withheld, was particularly egregious.
On Wednesday night, Sen. Booker (D-N.J.) asked Judge Kavanaugh about an email exchange dating to the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. He quoted a committee confidential document that is, a document that no senator had the authority to make public, and which Judge Kavanaugh did not have in front of him.
Early Thursday, to ensure that Judge Kavanaugh and the American public would be able to see the emails for themselves, Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) worked with the Department of Justice and former President George W. Bushs attorney to release several committee confidential documents, including the one Sen. Booker had quoted. They were taken off the committee confidential roster at 4 a.m.
Despite the accommodation extended to him by Sen. Grassley and the Trump administration, Sen. Booker proceeded to engage in a display of remarkable grandstanding. On Thursday morning, he announced he would release the documents marked committee confidential. This is about the closest Ill ever have in my life to an I am Spartacus moment, he said even though the documents had already been released.
Sen. Bookers performance is stunning, in large part because he could have had the emails released well in advance of the hearing. As Sen. Grassley often made clear, senators were given the opportunity to request the public release of documents that were initially marked committee confidential, but only Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) did so. It seems that Sen. Booker decided to put his presidential ambitions ahead of Senate protocol and transparency.
Sen. Bookers flouting of committee confidential protocol is more than a violation of the Senate Rules. What he did is also truly destructive for the legitimacy of the Senate itself, given the fact that the documents at issue were provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee based on an assurance to the Executive that they would be treated in accordance with certain procedures. Given this precedent, this administration and its successors will be much more reluctant to provide documents to the Senate based upon assurances that they will remain confidential, thereby impairing the Senates oversight and legislative functions.
All of this underscores the low esteem in which the Senate Democrats hold their own institution. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the email string that precipitated all of this sound and fury does not contain anything particularly dramatic or support what Sen. Booker implied: rather than seeming like someone who approved of racial profiling, even in the tense post-9/11 days, Judge Kavanaugh makes clear that he favor[s] effective security measures that are race-neutral.
In marked contrast to the poor behavior of some senators, the nominee behaved with remarkable patience and thoughtfulness. Judge Kavanaugh answered questions fully, effectively and fairly, while showing himself to be a fair and impartial judge. He declined to answer questions about cases that might come before the court and he avoided being brought into current political debates; doing either of those things would have undermined his appearance of impartiality. In so doing, he followed what is known as the Ginsburg Standard.
As Andrew Grossman and I recently argued in the Wall Street Journal, all judicial nominees must follow the rule, invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation hearing in 1993: A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case it would display disdain for the entire judicial process. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) once called this approach a grand tradition, and Judge Kavanaugh upheld it by declining to answer questions about issues that might come before him, including abortion.
Meanwhile, Sen. Harris sought to pull Judge Kavanagh into a political discussion of last years Charlottesville riots, and attempted to probe his view of how President Trump handled the situation. Kavanaugh responded, I am not here to assess comments made in the political arena, because the risk is I'll be drawn into the political arena. With this answer, he again echoed Justice Ginsburg, who refrained from answering political questions that were not relevant to the job for which you are considering me, which is the job of a judge.
Sen. Bookers action has injured the Senate as an institution and merits an appropriate institutional response. Indeed, only the Senate has the constitutional authority to deal with this matter and, with this power, comes responsibility. Under Supreme Court precedent, Gravel v. United States (1972), Sen. Bookers actions were clearly covered by the Constitutions Speech or Debate Clause. Gravel, which involved the senator who made public during a committee hearing the top secret Pentagon Papers, teaches that senators are not subject to Executive Branch investigative or prosecutorial action in these circumstances, leaving the Senate as the only entity that is empowered to take any disciplinary action.
Whatever the nature of Sen. Bookers action or his justification for it might be, the Senate is entitled to censure him, and that censure itself is immune from judicial review, as the D.C. Circuit made clear in Rangel v. Boehner (2015). There, a House member challenged his censure, and the court ruled that the judiciary had no power to inquire into congressional disciplinary actions because of the immunity conferred by the Speech and Debate Clause.
Judge Kavanaugh showed respect for the Senate, the judiciary and the hearing itself. The same cannot be said for many of the senators asking him questions.
David B. Rivkin, Jr. practices appellate and constitutional law in Washington, D.C. He served at the Justice Department and the White House Counsels office during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
It showed the Democrat CONTEMPT AND HATE for the Constitution, for America, for Trump, for anything good for America.
True DOMESTIC ENEMIES as the framers envisioned and defined them.
They didn't condemn the actions of any of the anti-Trump protestors who delivered beat-downs to Trump supporters back in 2016, either.
If they get back in power, they're going to turn America into a larger version of the Evergreen State College campus within a very few years.
“we can conclude they approve of these disruptions by their supporters”
Approve? I’m pretty sure it was their idea!
That is funny. Someone trying to make sense of the disingenous. Good luck with that.
Their idea? They likely paid for it.
A nominee sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics
of the particular case it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) once called this approach a grand tradition, and Judge Kavanaugh upheld it by declining to answer questions about issues that might come before him, including abortion.
This is not the Democratic Party of FDR, HST or JFK, its now the party of Gus Hall and left wing radicals, to which you can include anarchists. Let them continue showing what they really are, not all of America is that stupid, they need to have their facade ripped off their faces.
they = The far left!
Some years ago, “Firehat” wrote a blog with great definitions of “Black Hole Stupid.”
boogety booker is the archetype of black-hole stupid.
Yes, contempt for our system, our founding, our traditions...
Well, yes, but more importantly, the ‘Rats hold the Constitution in contempt, as well as Congress and the American people.
Perhaps Judiciary Chair Sen Grassley might poll Sens Feinstein, Booker, Harris, Durbin, Whitehouse,
and the rest, to determine which abortion-related right the Democrats are most concerned about:
<><> the right to have her aborted baby's body part sold off for research?
<><> a women's right to partial birth abortions whereby half-born babies are suctioned out, their brains and skulls crushed?
<><> a woman might lose the right to have the neck of her aborted baby born alive twisted off to make the body parts saleable?
<><> women might lose the right to the Gosnell technique--sticking a scissor in the neck of an aborted baby born alive to kill it?
<><> the right to have a late term abortion, baby born alive, be abandoned, and left to die all alone in a filthy garbage can?
<><> a woman's right to have her unborn baby's remains burned up in "large ovens"?
<><> a woman's right to have her aborted baby hauled away in a cardboard box to a landfill?
Contact Sen Grassley-----Phone: (202) 224 - 3744. Fax: (202) 224-6020.
Call President Trump: Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414
US CONGRESS SWITCHBOARD: (202) 224-3121
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Comment Line: 202-353-1555
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