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September 5 2018

SCOTUS Theater and the Abuse of Nominees

by Julie Gunlock

By all accounts, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an incredibly good man. Even those who disagree with his court decisions praise him for his professionalism, intelligence and for all the charitable and volunteer work he does. That's why yesterday's SCOTUS hearing was so difficult to watch. 
 
Judge Kavanaugh endured hours of abuse by protestors and yet, throughout it all, Kavanaugh remained calm and composed.  Most distressing, the Democrats on the committee encouraged the spectacle, staying silent when protestors started screaming so that the microphones could clearly pick up their ludicrous claims that if Kavanaugh was appointed, American women would become a subjective class, become slaves, or be killed. And Senator Elizabeth Warren encouraged the protestors to keep up the fight. 
 
The ranting and raving became so bad that Kavanaugh’s wife and children (10 and 13) had to be escorted from the room with armed guards and while leaving the area, were subjected to sneers, insults, and threats by the protestors that had gathered around the hearing room  (I guess threatening and frightening Kavanaugh’s young daughters is okay to these so-called feminist protestors).
 
Twitter was on fire—some posts poked fun at the circus on display (National Review’s Jonah Goldberg suggested Kavanaugh just break out a deck of cards and start playing solitaire), some tweets were serious (earnest questions about why these hearings have become such political theater), and some were just gross and outrageous (conspiracy theories tossed around about Kavanaugh’s female aid--who happens to be of Mexican and Jewish decent--flashing white nationalists finger gestures). Even blue checked Twitter users—like Amy Siskind—retweeted the bizarre theory, which has opened the aid to death threats.
 
But the absurdity didn’t end there. Fred Guttenberg, the political activist father of child who died in the Parkland school shooting earlier this year, waited until the hearing broke for lunch, to aggressively approach Kavanaugh as he was getting up from the witness table. After rapidly walking to the table, Guttenberg tapped Kavanaugh (who had his back to him) on the shoulder. Kavanaugh, looking a bit confused, turned around to look at Guttenberg. It’s abundantly clear Kavanaugh didn’t know the man, nor, given the noise level in those hearing rooms is it likely Kavanaugh could even hear what he Guttenberg was saying. (if you’ve never been in a hearing room when it’s packed to the gills like the Kavanaugh hearing, it’s deafening—I worked on a committee for five years, and you can barely hear the person shouting into your ear, much less someone who is standing a few feet away). By the time Kavanaugh had turned to look at Guttenberg, security was present—urging Kavanaugh to leave, which he did.
 

Yet, Guttenberg was quick to capitalize on the moment, tweeting immediately that Kavanaugh refused to shake his hand. You’d think Gutenberg would have more sympathy for a man who had just endured hours of being screamed at by lunatics within reach of him—and having to have his back turned to people who were clearly interested in doing him harm. You’d think Gutenberg might understand the tension Kavanaugh was feeling after watching his wife and children taunted and threatened by a massive group of lunatics. 

But nope. Guttenberg doubled down on the charge that Kavanaugh dissed him and even changing his story later in the night to make it seem more damning.
 
Video proves the situation was much more benign. Clearly confused by the tap on his right shoulder by a man he does not know and then responding to the committee’s security staff, Kavanaugh simply turns and walks away. It might be a knock to Guttenberg’s significant ego, but not everyone recognizes him and given the aggressive way in which he approached Kavanaugh, it’s a very good thing that security chose to permanently remove him from he proceedings. Interestingly, Guttenberg (who seems to really enjoy the limelight and regualar guests spots on CNN and MSNBC) announced on Twitter the day before the hearings that he planned to disrupt the proceedings. Looked like he managed to do nothing more than whine publicly that someone didn't recongize him. 
 
I’ve chosen not to watch today. Each and every Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee has declared a no vote for Kavanaugh so there's really no point in watching them have temper tantrums and try to smear this good man (which appears to be thier only strategy at this point. 
 

Kavanaugh will be confirmed and the shrieks of “we’re all gonna die!” will again die down, just like shrieks of panic after the election, net neutrality, tax cuts, Betsy DeVos...

 
 
 
Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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