Kavanaugh and Bad Faith

Kavanaugh and Bad Faith October 5, 2018

I sometimes imagine talking to my daughters, who are quite young now, in twenty years or so about this period. I imagine telling them this was the nadir of modern American politics, a partisan and divided country so aggressive in its strategizing that the very health of the institutions around which our democracy was founded devolves into an illness and a distracting hatred.

The Kavanaugh hearing was an extraordinary sight. I can recall nothing like it. Not even the Anita Hill hearing. Where Clarence Thomas had invoked, in bad faith in my opinion, the quite real legacy of black men being vilified and mischaracterized for their sexuality (and, to be clear, I believe Anita Hill and believe that Clarence Thomas should never have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, an opinion perhaps vindicated given his completely unremarkable tenure on the court), Kavanaugh chased windmills, seeing enemies in a country and a society that was built for him. His words reeked of entitlement as if even a talented Yale alumnus could simply *expect* to be elevated to the Supreme Court.

What I saw that made my stomach churn was a sense that Kavanaugh was talking directly to those who doubted him and rather than working to allay those doubts, shouted about conspiracies and the Clintons, a common GOP trick when evidence is in short supply. He simply did not allow for the fact that real questions about his drinking, his veracity (he willfully and illegally mischaracterized terms used in his yearbook, as well as the drinking age at the time of his drunken escapades, as if taunting his listener with how easily he lies about easily verifiable facts), and his character were somehow only able to grow in partisan minds.

Another problem: according to recent polls, more Americans believed Dr. Ford than Judge Kavanaugh. Meaning, that if Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will be the second GOP-nominated judge to squeak by a confirmation hearing with serious doubts about his behavior. The SCOTUS, which is meant to float above politics and safeguard our democracy, is becoming rapidly just another partisan branch of government.

In the Trump era, politics has become hard to swallow and hard to teach. A presidential campaign rally or a presidential press conference (rare these days with Trump) used to be the high fiber stuff of history class assignments. Who could expect young children to watch the Kavanaugh hearings or Trump’s disgusting remarks about Dr. Ford and have any pride in our institutions?

As Senator Collins, famous for her ability to vacillate and soak up attention before falling in line with her corporate donors and party, cast doubt on Dr. Ford’s memory saying essentially “I believe something happened to her, but not by Kavanaugh” she is essentially saying “I don’t believe her.” For all her legally misleading talk about a “presumption of innoncence” (there is no presumption of innocence in a job interview or advisory role), she basically accused Dr. Ford of a felony by denying her assumption that she was 100% sure that Kavanaugh was to blame.

None of this, by the way, though the media focuses almost exclusively on the horse race aspect of these events, is going away. Women across the country have heard loud and clear that their testimony and accusations mean nothing when a powerful man has powerful friends. Kavanaugh’s past behavior will continue to be scrutinized by the press with renewed vigor, and protests will certainly escalate across the nation.

Indeed, it is clear that guided by a president that has never had majority popularity (and did not win the popular vote), our government is increasingly disconnected from the will of the majority of Americans. That is a dangerous precedent. It is also a warning for the church.

Some corners of the church too have embraced minority positions with fanatical zeal. Too many Catholics believe that overturning Roe v. Wade is worth the selling of every other principle (and supporting a president openly repugnant to essential Catholic beliefs and temperament). As the Church wrestles, again, with an abuse crisis as well as the dangerous downsides of its past culture of paternalistic authority, there are lessons here about learning to see your flock and potential flock for who they are, not who you wish them to be.

The GOP with its actions this week may very well have lost young women for generations. The Church, if it’s not careful, may do the same. Now is the time to return to pastoral and evangelical principles, to a revolutionary social vision for the world in line with Jesus’s teachings and real presence in the Eucharist. Now is not to sell our souls cheaply for partisan battles. More than just the future is on the line.

"Ok, I will give you that."

Kavanaugh and Bad Faith
"ahhh yes, blame it on the gayz. You sir are a TRUE CHRISTIAN!"

Young Catholics and the Culture Wars
"The gay priests had a lot to do with it, absolutely."

Young Catholics and the Culture Wars

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sally

    Thank God Kavanaugh was just sworn in as the next Supreme Court justice. He is a scholar, a brilliant jurist, a gentleman, and a fine upstanding Catholic. I share your joy.

  • Annilouise

    If you are interested in the truth in this controversial issue please read the following article: https://quillette.com/2018/10/04/on-the-fallibility-of-memory-and-the-importance-of-evidence/. Neither you or I or anyone here below knows for sure who is telling the truth. But Ms. Ford, with her PHD in psychology, should know about the fallibility of memory. I believe her testimony was politically motivated. And extraordinary amounts of money were being spent on both sides of this issue. By the time your daughters are grown, we should all have a better sense of Kavanaugh’s legacy on the Supreme Court. Be patient, and judge not.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Believe women when they say that they have been abused, they do not have “faulty memories>” Something like abuse, physical, sexual, or verbal is NOT forgotten.
    I believe Dr. Ford. Those who support Kavanaugh will rue the day that they did. Even if I was a conservative I could not have supported Kavanaugh due to his complete lack of control of his temper. Will he rant and rave at a fellow jurist on the SCOTUS if he disagrees with him or her?
    If he was innocent his response should have been calm and reasonable, as to why he was not the man who abused Dr. Ford.
    If he was guilty, he should have apologized and told Dr. Ford, the Senate and the House, that he has grown up and is no longer the privileged, entitled “frat boy,” of his youth.

  • John Taylor

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/us/politics/kavanaugh-vote-confirmation-process.html

    Mr. McGahn (White House Counsel) cleared the room and sat down with Judge Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh. The only way to save his nomination, Mr. McGahn said, was to show the senators how he really felt, to channel his outrage and indignation at the charges he had denied.

    Judge Kavanaugh did not need convincing. He was brimming with rage and resentment, so when he went before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he did not hold back. His fire-and-fury performance — “you have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with search and destroy” — suddenly turned the tables. While Democrats thought he went too far, demoralized Republicans were emboldened again. In their war room, White House aides watching on television cheered and pumped their fists.

  • ‘A revolutionary social vision for the world in line with Jesus’s teachings’.
    You are seriously mistaken to depict Jesus as a social revolutionary.

  • ounbbl

    I now know what a demon is. For last 7 decades of my life it use to be just something we hear in the story or in the Bible. No, not quite. it is human. Demons with smiling face (e.g. Bill) or ugly cynical face (e.g. some senitors). Plenty of demons are around us. Even they unashamedly call themselves ‘Christians’. I seem many under the banner of Demoncrats (or Damn-OK-Rats), former slaver owners. Now peddling abortion as women’s right. Now peddling of socialist’s agent as something for love others. [Note: The Bible never says you shall ‘love others’. No one loves and can love others, those who do not being to the same group. It is what humanity is in. We kill the enemies on the battle; but we heard ‘love your enemies’. It may be enemy has more than one meaning. I am or I deserve to be a criminal or a sinner by accusation, by allegation, by association – anything that psychologies (or psychichologies) love to conjure up. I wonder how much money is pumped in to recruit the do-nothing protesters from Hellary Foundation, Soro’s gold account, Democracy Treasure chest. [I wonder why North Korea loves the word ‘Democratic’ in their Socialist-Community country’s name – “Democratic People’s”. Sounds same, spells same, smells same, stinks same.

  • ounbbl

    Yes, I believe memories. I believe stories. I believe demons. I believe Demoncrats. I believe Damn-OK-Rats. I believe to see them in the hell – there being roasted fueled by murdered fetus and newborn.

  • RHWofPA

    Your reply speaks volumes about your ability to discuss. Perhaps you could go find another site to call names, ounbbl.

  • RHWofPA

    If he were truly a gentleman, he would have told the truth about his pastime of drinking too much, and lewd behavior, and then apologized, explaining he had learned a lot since then. I believe he thinks he is above the law, just like Trump. I hope they impeach him and stat.

  • Sally

    I’d I like to hear all your secrets…Do tell!

  • dawk75321

    Judge “Triple Asterisk” won’t ever be able to rest his conscience, which will forever haunt him,
    as it should. I already feel sorry for his future grandkids, when it’s their turn to study Grandpa as a prime example of multiple incidents of mendacity in their future video American history class. He’d better fervently hope that Republicans never become less than a third of the Senate
    because if they do,– coupled with a less than 50% majority in the House, he has the “I” word
    written all over him. And total shame on all his GOP enablers–SCOTUS is now very damaged merchandise, and the Senate has made a giant travesty of what remains of our democracy with
    a complete whitewash of an investigation into very, very, serious charges. They have literally
    neutered a once proud FBI. What happened to people in the Government caring about the
    honor of the institutions they serve???

    This episode of American History goes way beyond the phrase “National Disgrace”. Our Government has become the complete laughingstock of the Western World.

  • Sally

    MAGA!

  • kcthomas

    It is strange that the Americans believe in chastity in 101 degrees for president and Judge while the nation is known as unfaithful to it. Here while in school they indulged in immature behaviour but not resulting in rape or bodily harm to anyone. It is not worth discussion at all in a parliament of law makers. Look into his behaviour and life as a major responsible citizen and a family man. According to me there is hypocricy and nothing else in American thinking on chasteness

  • dawk75321

    I wouldn’t want to “confuse” you with facts, Sally,–or “inconvenient truths”, for that matter.

  • swbarnes2

    Here while in school they indulged in immature behaviour but not resulting in rape or bodily harm to anyone.

    I am sure that you really are sincere in thinking that children being sexually used by priests is no big deal, so long as there was no rape. I am sure that you are utterly bewildered by why people are making such a big deal over nothing.

    It’s about assault. But the world understands now the religious conservatives do not, and never will understand any morality that isn’t “I make the rules, and God damn you for going against them!”

  • swbarnes2

    The GOP with its actions this week may very well have lost young women for generations. The Church, if it’s not careful, may do the same.

    Oh, you think that the church’s awesome record of looking out for the welfare of young boys has won them converts among men, do you?

    The Catholic church thinks the welfare of all parishioners, male and female, is worthless garbage. Every single time the church has a choice to protect their flock, or themselves, they choose themselves.

  • Kevin

    I think you need to do more research on the number of press conferences each president has had. You will see a different perspective from a UCSB study.

  • kcthomas

    There is no comparison between the immature behaviour of a school student and an the dirty and sinful acts of an anointed priest. I very firmly believe that an immature behaviour of a student is not worth discussion by eminent law makers of a country when considering his suitability as a president or Judge. His maturity and behaviour as a major person/ citizen, as a family man etc have to be discussed.
    Oh How qualified these people are when chasteness is discussed. The world has the impression that Americans are a permissive lot ,not going with traditional sexual morality but follow pure relativism. Better not to raise this subject as far as America is concerned.

  • gimpi1

    Um, I didn’t want to respond to Ounbbl’s post (13th down) directly but I have to ask, is this OK with Catholics in general? It’s, well, horrible. It’s filled with downright lies, it demonizes the majority of people in the U.S. and it feeds every stereotype of how crazy our beliefs can make us if we go too far. I see relatively sane people called out but Ounbbl ignored. Is this just understandable unwillingness to engage with the crazy? Do people find what Ounbbl said in any way OK? As an outsider here, I just had to ask.

  • TinnyWhistler

    ounbbl’s post is extreme enough that people’s reaction is probably along the lines of “I’m not gonna feed the troll”

  • gimpi1

    I get that. That’s why I didn’t respond directly, but posted downthread, so people could register their reactions without feeding the troll. Perhaps I was too late to the party?

  • RHWofPA

    I’m sorry, my past has nothing to do with what Brett Kavanaugh, nor am I sitting on the Supreme Court. Nice try though, deflect deflect deflect. America was already great until TRE45ON took office.

  • Sally

    Phony, insincere moral grandstanding. Politically motivated outrage.

    Fake.

  • RHWofPA

    You would be correct, I have morals, and yes, I am outraged at this administration. They are phony, insincere, and grandstand on a daily basis. I am politically motivated to get this fake president out of office, and will be glad to see them all handcuffed for all of their many crimes.

  • Statistics Palin

    Everybody But Baron.

  • RHWofPA

    Ok, I will give you that.