Opposition to Kavanaugh devolves into farce

The surest sign that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court is that opposition to his nomination has devolved into a farce. Even the deepest-pocketed dark-money source for the Republicans couldn’t have cooked up the plan deployed against Kavanaugh. 

Opponents of Kavanaugh lost the fight when they lost their marbles. His foes on the Senate Judiciary Committee and allied activists ensured that opponents to the nomination appear to be a pack of wild cranks. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Mainstream Americans unfamiliar with the ways of Washington witnessed loud activists screaming over the gentle opening remarks of Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight Grassley: No reason to delay Kavanaugh hearing Dem senators back Kavanaugh accuser's call for FBI investigation MORE (R-Iowa). Grassley’s shrieking foils were just the opening act; a long parade of howling disruptors followed, shouting slogans and accusations that were largely incoherent to the television audience. 

It sounded as if the strategy to defeat Kavanaugh was to distribute committee gallery passes inside an asylum.

Not only did the outbursts seem uncivil and destructive of Senate decorum, they may have violated federal criminal laws — including 40 U.S.C. 5104 — against disrupting congressional proceedings. Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.), instead of criticizing the criminal bedlam, called it “the noise of democracy.”

Then Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents Judd Gregg: The collapse of the Senate Dems engage in last-ditch effort to block Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.J.) made his contribution.  With great fanfare, Booker announced his “Spartacus moment,” daring to disclose committee confidential documents that revealed Kavanaugh’s opinions about racial profiling. Of course, breaking rules appeals to the disruptive gang in the gallery, so Booker’s play seemed well-designed.

Yet, in execution, Booker’s plan was a disaster for Kavanaugh foes. Not only did Kavanaugh not support racial profiling, the documents were not subject to committee confidential restraints in the first place. Booker’s Spartacus moment joins other great parodies of the 1960 Hollywood classic, including “I’m Brian of Nazareth,” performed with far more levity than the senator in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.”

Then the handmaids showed up. 

Nine costumed characters of the internet streaming drama “The Handmaids Tale” stood silently outside Senate offices. The series depicts a dystopian future where some women are made to wear creepy red robes and white bonnets and forced into sexual slavery. Perhaps this exhilarates Kavanaugh’s most passionate opponents, but for the rest of us, it all seemed preposterous. Inferring that totalitarian slavery of women has anything to do with the nomination is fully unhinged.

Then every left-of-center interest group piled on with more farcical opposition.

Take the League of Women Voters. This once-respectable group announced opposition to Kavanaugh because he doesn’t support racial discrimination in voting, like they do. You read that right. Hawaii, borrowing a page straight from the Jim Crow playbook, adopted a provision to its Constitution that limited the right to vote for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to only a chosen racial group: Native Hawaiians. The Supreme Court struck down the law in 2000 as unconstitutional racial discrimination in voting.

Does the League oppose Kavanaugh because he was the author of the law? Or perhaps he defended the racist law in court? Hardly. The League of Women Voters opposes Kavanaugh because he opposed the racially discriminatory law in court.

This is genuine farce masquerading as strategy. A group purportedly dedicated to ballot access opposes a nomination of a man who fought against racial discrimination at the ballot box.

Now, on the eve of confirmation, a super-secret letter has surfaced. It purportedly contains show-stopping details about something Kavanaugh did … in 1982, when he was a 17-year-old in high school. 

One source said it describes an incident where “Kavanaugh and a male friend had locked her in her room against her will, making her feel threatened, but she was able to get them out of the room.” Planned Parenthood is demanding that the nomination vote be stopped and that the accuser remain secret. 

It’s Anita Hill without Anita Hill.

This last-gasp effort to derail the nomination will fall flat. No matter the underlying facts, the foes of Kavanaugh are willing to resort to any hyperbole, half-truth and hysteria. The letter won’t be taken seriously because Kavanaugh’s opponents blew their credibility the first day the Judiciary Committee met. 

The bigger problem is that, in America, we don’t fancy anonymous accusers, especially when the event occurred almost 40 years ago, in high school.

Kavanaugh will be confirmed, and it will carry lessons for the next high court nomination that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE makes. Democrats would be wise to wrest control of the confirmation fight away from the crazies in their base. If that happens, Republicans might find a way to ensure that the farce that opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination enjoys a sequel. Picking a nominee that triggers them ought to do the trick.

J. Christian Adams is president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and a former Justice Department attorney.