This could be filed under “Things No One Expected Today”:
I strongly supported President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. But it is hard to name many people with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. https://t.co/lircXMz0uA
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) July 10, 2018
The opinion piece was written by Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale law professor who also taught Judge Kavanaugh.
The professor establishes his liberal credentials early, noting that he “strongly supported Hillary Clinton for president as well as President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.”
He then begins his case for Kavanaugh by saying that, while good appellate judges are devotees who follow the Supreme Court, the “great ones influence and help steer it.” Kavanaugh has done the latter, with some of his “most important ideas and arguments” having “found their way into Supreme Court opinions.”
Professor Amar praises the fact that Judge Kavanaugh is both a scholar and one who is an intellectual consumer of scholarship, explaining that “he is an avid consumer of legal scholarship. He reads and learns. And he reads scholars from across the political spectrum.”
So far, we aren’t seeing a picture emerge that would indicate that Kavanaugh is a man who would “threaten the lives of millions of Americans,” as former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe described him. Nor does he appear to be particularly menacing to high school kids, despite the words of one truth-challenged United States senator:
Blumenthal: “Here is a memo to the Parkland students…Judge Kavanaugh is your worst nightmare.” pic.twitter.com/P3nbuRrwER
— Ted Johnson (@tedstew) July 10, 2018
In fact, the picture that does emerge is in direct contrast to the insane barrage of hyperbole from various Democrats. Mainstream Democrats in leadership positions, not just angry protesters.
What we do see is a thoughtful, intellectually curious man who has risen to the top of his profession because he is very, very good at what he does.
Lest anyone believe that professor Amar is some sort of closet conservative and that’s where all of this praise is coming from, he includes a paragraph taking a dig at the late Justice Scalia because “he did not read enough history.” Amar claims Scalia was “weak” on “the 20th-century amendments.”
Amar then lauds Kavanaugh’s “flashes of greatness” for having admitted to some mistakes he made as a young lawyer.
The professor concludes with a proposal that feels like the kind of thing that had to be added in order to get this published in the Times. He says that Senate Dems should “pledge either to vote yes for Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation — or, if voting no, to first publicly name at least two clearly better candidates whom a Republican president might realistically have nominated instead (not an easy task).” The Democrats would then “insist that Judge Kavanaugh answer all fair questions at his confirmation hearing.”
That means they can ask him how he thinks Roe v. Wade should have turned out.
We all probably knew it was going there.
Still, it’s an interesting idea. One that would require reason and calm thinking on the part of the Democrats.
So that’s a “no.”