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Antone Johnson @antonejohnson
, 19 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
This is a key point to jurists that I think many "civilians" don't quite get. We've gotten used to conflating ideology with party affiliation in the US, in an intellectually lazy way — but in the judicial branch, the distinction is CRITICAL. It's the only branch where ideas… /1
…still matter. Honest. Judges can range from liberal to conservative, or have philosophies of jurisprudence that fall into various recognized buckets, but they don't identify in a formal way as Democrats or Republicans. Leaning conservative in a way that supports GOP… /2
…policies, values, and initiatives is one thing. That's not what #Kavanaugh displayed last week. He identified the Democratic Party as his enemy, accusing it of orchestrating a campaign to sabotage him personally, even naming names (Clinton, incredibly) — and vowed payback /3
…for the Democrats' treatment of him in the confirmation process. That is waaaaaay outside the lane judges are supposed to stay in. Even in the most inarguably political case in a generation, Bush v. Gore, issues & opinions are framed as matters of constit'l law & public policy.
As important to the Court as legitimacy is the *perception* of legitimacy. McConnell already dealt it a grievous blow last year by arbitrarily (and unconstitutionally IMO) refusing to even meet or hold a hearing to consider Merrick Garland's appointment. /5
Now we have a candidate plucked from the 45 WH-sanctioned list of *25* distinguished jurists, reported to be WH Counsel Don McGahn's favorite, with (again) McConnell vowing *in advance* that Senate will "plow through" serious allegations to make him SCOTUS justice. We have… /6
…a wide range of concerns already, from Q's about murky personal finances to documents withheld by SJC R's, to ethically shady past dealings & implausible denials under oath as documented by Sen. Leahy *in the context of prior judicial nominations & confirmations*… /7
(part of a ring spying on Dems by receiving stolen emails to counter their strategy — worth learning about), with pointed denials and stonewalling about his actual knowledge in a way that strains credulity beyond breaking point. Now add serious allegations of sexual assault… /8
…by Dr. Ford and others, apparently uncoordinated, and the reaction is immediately, overwhelmingly partisan, with GOP talking points ranging from implausible to absurd to callous to irrelevant to wildly offensive to transparently manipulative, by SJC members, PR flacks, POTUS /9
himself, RW media allies, sub rosa astroturfing accomplices, and more, in a coordinated response to discredit Dr. Ford and any others who came forward, and "plow through" to confirm #Kavanaugh, facts be damned. Only with 11th-hour arm twisting & pleas does a single Senator… /10
…reluctantly agree to the weakest form of delay, voting FOR the nomination anyway at the committee level, with a handshake agreement for a limited FBI investigation delaying things a few days, which POTUS falsely claimed would be open but in fact was limited & micromanaged… /11
…by none other than his champion since day one, WH Counsel Don McGahn. Now the investigation is ended early, report delivered in a bizarrely clandestine manner such that Senators literally have to line up and wait to read a single copy — and the WH preemptively declares it… /12
…innocuous. So hurry up and vote already. By refocusing EVERYTHING on the allegations of sexual misconduct, neatly framed with the false equivalence of "he said / she said," #Kavanaugh's confirmation becomes a referendum on that single issue. But while most humane people… /13
…actually care whether there is truth to Dr. Ford's (or others') claims, that misses the bigger pt: Finding insufficient basis to conclude #Kavanaugh likely committed attempted rape is *necessary* but not *sufficient* for confirmation. Yet most media follow that narrative… /14
…exactly as GOP undoubtedly intended—which, in the shouting match over whom to believe (a subject of great importance), sucks all oxygen out of the room for critical evaluation of #Kavanaugh's credibility, judicial temperament, [non]partisanship, respect for co-equal branch…/15
…of government and the Democrats who will almost certainly — in the course of a lifetime appointment — be elected majority of one house or another of Congress or to the White House. That is why, coming full circle, 1,700 law professors (so far), as well as Justice Stevens… /16
…and others, took the extraordinary step of speaking out against #Kavanaugh's confirmation. With the FBI process looking like flimsy pretext, the totality of the process—including his own words—gives the impression of a quasi-parliamentary Government (capital G) installing… /17
…its overtly partisan minion to lean all his weight on the scales of justice. How can we the people reasonably have faith in a SCOTUS justice who hurled accusations of partisan conspiracies against him (Clintons!) at Dem senators in the hearing & alluded to retribution??? /18
Update: 2,400+ law professors have signed the letter as of last count. /end

nytimes.com/interactive/20…
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