2,400+ law professors, retired SC judge to senators: No to Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court

HISTORIC final Senate vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh is happening today, Saturday, October 6.

This follows a less than a week of supplemental FBI investigation that has been deemed as limited in scope and depth, at the direction of the White House. This has been a process rushed by the Senate Republican leadership which has urgently wanted to confirm Trump’s chosen one at the expense of really finding out the truth not only in the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, but also the truth about his character and fitness for the lifetime position of Justice of the Supreme Court.

The accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the accused, Brett Kavanaugh were not even called by the FBI, neither were so many people who have come forward to give their testimony that will corroborate Ford’s testimony during the September 27 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many of Kavanaugh’s former classmates and friends from high school and College also contacted the FBI to dispute Kavanaugh’s testimony under oath, but they too were never called by the FBI.

Protests erupted in many cities across the nation against and for Kavanaugh’s nomination. The dissenting rallies had women who were rape survivors and their supporters, calling the defense of Kavanaugh as yet again another glaring proof of how women who are sexually abused are not really heard, taken seriously and are even vilified in America, especially by powerful men in Washington, including President Trump himself.

The protesters argue Kavanaugh is NOT the right man for the job, and confirming him would just perpetuate the injustice inflicted upon the marginalized people of this nation.

The case against Kavanaugh’s confirmation was also made by more than 2,400 law professors across the country, who signed an Op-Ed in the New York Times on October 3, and presented as a letter to the Senators on October 4:

“Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires “a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.” The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding; in Federalist 78, titled “Judges as Guardians of the Constitution,” Alexander Hamilton expressed the need for “the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.”

We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court, and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court. We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.

The question at issue was of course painful for anyone. But Judge Kavanaugh exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was repeatedly aggressive with questioners. Even in his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh described the hearing as partisan, referring to it as “a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” rather than acknowledging the need for the Senate, faced with new information, to try to understand what had transpired. Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators.

As you know, under two statutes governing bias and recusal, judges must step aside if they are at risk of being perceived as or of being unfair. As Congress has previously put it, a judge or justice “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” These statutes are part of a myriad of legal commitments to the impartiality of the judiciary, which is the cornerstone of the courts.

We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a life long Republican appointed by President Gerard Ford, also revealed that he started out believing that Kavanaugh deserved to be confirmed, however, he said Kavanaugh’s “performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind.”

As Reuters reported, Stevens cited commentary by Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe and others suggesting Kavanaugh had raised doubts about his political impartiality when he asserted that sexual misconduct accusations he faced stemmed from an “orchestrated political hit” funded by left-wing groups seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”

Stevens said after watching the September 27 hearing, he has come to believe that Kavanaugh “demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the (high) court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”

“I think there’s merit in that criticism, and that the senators should really pay attention to it for the good of the court.”

Will and should Kavanaugh be confirmed?

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

Gel Santos Relos
Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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