So, at the end of a long and noisy and farcical day, Judge Brett Kavanaugh finally got to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee what a great guy he is. It was not impressive.
Throughout my life, I have tried to serve the common good, in keeping with my Jesuit high school's motto, "men for others." I have spent my career in public service. I have tutored at Washington Jesuit Academy, a rigorous tuition-free school for boys from low-income families. At Catholic Charities at Tenth and G, I serve meals to the homeless with my friend Father John Enzler. In those works, I keep in mind the message of Matthew 25—and try to serve the least fortunate among us. I know I fall short at times, but I always want to do more and do better.
For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters' basketball teams. I love coaching. All the girls I have coached are awesome. And special congratulations to the girls on this year's sixth-grade CYO championship team: Anna, Quinn, Kelsey, Ceane, Chloe, Alex, Ava, Sophia, and Margaret. I love helping the girls grow into confident players. I know that confidence on the basketball court translates into confidence in other aspects of life. Title Nine helped make girls' and women's sports equal, and I see that law's legacy every night when I walk into my house as my daughters are getting back from lacrosse, or basketball, or hockey practice. I know from my own life that those who teach and coach America's youth are among the most influential people in our country. With a kind word here and a hint of encouragement there ... a word of discipline delivered in a spirit of love ... teachers and coaches change lives. I thank all of my teachers and coaches who got me to this moment, and I thank all of the teachers and coaches throughout America.
He sees Title IX's legacy every night across the dinner table. But would he uphold a challenge to it? We have no idea.
Oh, and then there was the moment when you know he knows he has it in the bag.
I have served with 17 other judges, each of them a colleague and a friend, on a court now led by our superb chief judge, Merrick Garland.
You don't call out the guy whose nomination was hijacked so you could get the gig unless you know the people out there gagging on the whole notion do not count.
The fact is that Brett Kavanaugh is a Republican political animal. He was a public political animal before he was a judge and he remains one now. He has at least one finger in every conservative Republican sludge pie of the past 20 years.
He issued an dissenting opinion that was later cited by the Supreme Court to kill a regulatory board that grew out of the Enron scandal. He was an enthusiastic bed-sniffer—and, if Richard Durbin was correct in his prepared statement on Tuesday, an enthusiastic leaker "of salacious details"—in the employ of Kenneth Starr. He was on the legal team that tried to keep Elian Gonzalez in this country. He was the one who awoke President George W. Bush so the president could sign the law seeking to interfere in the death of Terri Schiavo. (Whatever other involvement he had in that episode is stashed somewhere in those White House documents that the administration* doesn't want anybody to see.)
And his meteoric rise in Republican legal circles began with his representation of the Bush campaign in the legal maneuverings that ended up in Bush v. Gore. From The Palm Beach Post:
More than peculiar coincidence, Mark Kende, director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center in Des Moines, Ia., said Kavanaugh’s connection to the trio of dramas raises a “bigger question” about political influence, impartiality and loyalty to the law. “There is no doubt Kavanaugh is a talented lawyer and a brilliant legal mind,” Kende said. “Still, the bigger question is to what extent politics will influence him.” Particularly since the core issues in the three Florida cases — reuniting immigrant children with parents, the integrity of voting systems and the right-to-die — remain flashpoints in American politics today.
So he's a nice guy and a good coach who somehow throughout his career has ended up in the middle of every major ideological flashpoint since 2000. Balls and strikes, my elbow. This is like putting Chick Gandil behind the catcher.