Mellman: Why Kavanaugh should withdraw

Mellman: Why Kavanaugh should withdraw
© Getty Images

From Sens. John Glenn (D-Ohio), John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren taps longtime aide as 2020 campaign manager In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents MORE (D-Mass.), and Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) in years past, to Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonDem lawmaker: 'Trump's presidency is the real national emergency' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - All eyes on Trump after lawmakers reach spending deal Overnight Defense: Acting Pentagon chief visits Afghanistan | US, Taliban peace talks intensify | Trump tweets in Persian to send message to Iran | Defense world pays tribute to Walter Jones MORE (D-Mass.), Jared Golden and Ken Harbaugh today, I’ve been privileged to work for combat veterans who not only put country over party, but were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the nation they loved.

Unfortunately, Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughConstitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Kavanaugh shows his stripes on Supreme Court's 'shadow docket' Ginsburg back at Supreme Court MORE seems not to be such a man.

ADVERTISEMENT

If he were, he’d withdraw his nomination, whether or not he is guilty of the accusations leveled against him.

With “no influence over either the sword or the purse,” as Alexander Hamilton put it, the Supreme Court, more than the executive or legislative branches, relies on its reputation for independence, impartiality, sobriety and judiciousness for its power. Its influence depends on the unquestioned respect of the public and the other branches.

To cite just one example, Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreFor 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love Key Colorado House committee passes bill to decide presidential elections by popular vote, not Electoral college David Brock: Howard Schultz’s vanity project will reelect Donald Trump MORE conceded the 2000 election after winning the popular vote, and almost certainly the electoral vote, because he had ultimate faith in the Supreme Court as the final arbiter. Imagine the crisis had he doubted the justices’ legitimacy.

I sympathize with the anger Kavanaugh must feel if he believes he’s unjustly accused, and the pain he and his family are enduring, regardless of the veracity of the allegations.

I understand why he would declare to the Senate, “You may defeat me … but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”

But those are the words of a man who puts self over country, who values his personal destiny over the future of our nation.

Subordinating one’s self-interest to the national interest may be unnatural, but whether on the battlefield or in the courts, greatness depends on the willingness of individuals to overcome their natural inclinations.

America’s greatness rests not on the superiority of our bloodlines or our soil, but rather on the institutions our forebearers built.

As Kavanaugh himself pointed out, the events surrounding his nomination have already done great violence to the reputation of our institutions.

Right or wrong, fair or unfair, Kavanaugh does not enjoy the confidence of the American people. Voters oppose his confirmation by a larger margin than they have any other SCOTUS nominee.

Moreover, understandable or not, justifiable or not, Kavanaugh’s vituperative attacks on Democrats made clear that he will be unable to rule impartially on any issue involving the party or progressive claims.

Kavanaugh’s ugly attacks, and the equally outrageous vitriol spewed by the soul that snatched Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-S.C.) body, are indelibly engraved on the public mind, bringing disrespect on the Senate and on Judge Kavanaugh.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, that disrespect will infect the Supreme Court, inflicting lasting damage to its reputation, while Kavanaugh himself will be the subject of endless investigation, if only by the press and public.

Part of the blame for this situation rests squarely on the shoulders of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems ready aggressive response to Trump emergency order, as GOP splinters Green New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing ‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire MORE (R-Ky.) whose motto, “party uber ales,” consistently subordinates the nation’s interest to his partisan political goals.

This is a man who declared his top priority after the 2008 election was not doing good for the American people, but rather insuring Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNBA commissioner announces Barack Obama to be involved with Basketball Africa League We need this affordable housing program now more than ever Intelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office MORE was a “one term president.”

This is a man who refused to permit a vote on Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandGOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab MORE’s Supreme Court nomination for nearly a year, and then decided that a justice should be confirmed with just 51 Senate votes instead of 60, obviating the need for this, or future, presidents to seek out nominees who can bridge divides, uniting the Senate and the country.

Much wiser than McConnell, the American people prefer a 60-vote threshold by a 61 percent to 33 percent margin.

Kavanaugh’s accession to the high court will infect it with even deeper partisanship, afflict it with disrespect, call into question the legitimacy of its judgments and denigrate a vital institution.

One man’s place in history is simply not worth the price.

Honestly, I don’t expect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE or Mitch McConnell to put country over party.

However, I still hold out hope that, deep down, Brett Kavanaugh is that kind of American.

Mellman is president of The Mellman Group and has helped elect 30 U.S. senators, 12 governors and dozens of House members. Mellman served as pollster to Senate Democratic leaders for over 20 years and as president of the American Association of Political Consultants.