Friday, September 7, 2018

Top Ten Moments and Takeaways from Kavanaugh Hearings

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court adjourned this afternoon at 4:15.  

After four long days of hearings, Americans now have a glimpse of a man and judge who is kind, thoughtful, humble, intelligent, and intellectually curious, possesses incredible endurance, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, has a consistent judicial philosophy of looking first to the text of the relevant law at issue, works very hard to get the right answer in each case and be fair to all litigants, and has a deep respect for the Constitution, the separation of powers, federalism, and the rule of law.  And we also have a depressing picture of what the next two years of Democratic presidential primary will look like.

Here are the top ten moments and takeaways from the hearings.

1. Judge Kavanaugh's poise, including his serious responses to Democrats' questions that were trying to trap him, have him disclose his personal policy views, or commit on how he would rule in future cases:

2. Judge Kavanaugh's repeated description of the proper role of a judge, including a deep and consistent interpretive philosophy relying on the text of the Constitution and statutes:

3. Judge Kavanaugh's repeated description of the separation of powers:

4. How those who knew Judge Kavanaugh and have practiced before him praised him highly both personally and as a judge, while the third-party witnesses from Democrats largely made policy points:

5. Senator Ben Sasse's civics lesson on Tuesday (and great questions throughout):

6. Senator Cory Booker's "Spartacus" moment that wasn't (but then after Sen. Booker was criticized for claiming courage for releasing documents cleared for release, he then did release confidential documents in violation of Senate Rules):

7. Refreshingly serious questions and dialogue with Judge Kavanaugh from Senators Chris Coons and Amy Klobuchar, even if their interpretations of cases and legal theories were often misguided. But unfortunately for Sen. Klobuchar's presidential ambitions, it's unlikely that deeper thinking about the law will mean much to the increasingly liberal, outcome-oriented Democratic base:

8. Senator Kamala Harris' bizarre questions about conversations with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, a law firm with over 350 people, that ultimately proved to be only an attempt to cast unfounded aspersions at Judge Kavanaugh:

9. Judge Kavanaugh's tattered pocket Constitution, which Senator Harris disparagingly referred to as "that book that you carry":

10. Chairman Grassley's leadership throughout, from being gracious to the Democrats despite their obvious lack of good faith to correcting many of the Democrats' misstatements using his prerogative as Chair to allowing Judge Kavanaugh to respond at the end of a questioning period when a Democrat hadn't allowed the Judge to answer. Likewise, the good points and questions made by the Republican members of the committee:

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