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Ben Sasse's 'Tell It Like It Is' Moment at Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing

As the hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court generated a partisan circus — complete with protesters in Handmaid's Tale garb — one man stood above the fray to deliver a splash of cold water to the face of Congress. That man was Ben Sasse.

Senator Sasse (R-Neb.) made one of the most impassioned statements of his career on Tuesday. In ten minutes, he held forth on what is wrong with the politicization of the Supreme Court nomination process.

The Washington Post's Amber Phillips broke Sasse's speech down into four bullet points:

1. Congress is set up to be the most po­lit­i­cal branch. “This is sup­posed to be the in­sti­tu­tion dedi­cat­ed to po­lit­i­cal fights,” Sasse said.

2.But in the name of politics, lawmakers have de­cid­ed to keep their jobs rath­er than take tough votes. “Most people here want their jobs more than they re­al­ly want to do legis­la­tive work, and so they punt their legis­la­tive work to the next branch,” Sasse said.

3. Be­cause Congress of­ten lets the ex­ec­u­tive branch write rules, and Americans aren't sure who in the gov­ern­ment bureauc­ra­cy to talk to, that leaves Americans with no oth­er place than the courts to turn to ex­press their frus­tra­tion with poli­cies. And the Su­preme Court, with its nine vis­i­ble mem­bers, is a con­veni­ent out­let. Sasse: “This trans­fer of pow­er means people yearn for a place where politics can be done, and when we don't do a lot of big po­lit­i­cal debate here, people trans­fer it to the Su­preme Court. And that's why the Su­preme Court is in­creas­ing­ly a sub­sti­tute po­lit­i­cal battle­ground for America."

4. Sasse's final point is one you can prob­a­bly guess is com­ing by now: That this proc­ess needs to change. If Congress did more legis­lat­ing, these Su­preme Court nom­i­na­tion bat­tles would get less po­lit­i­cal, he ar­gues: “If we see lots and lots of pro­tests in front of the Su­preme Court, that's a pret­ty good ba­rom­e­ter of the fact that our re­pub­lic isn't heal­thy. They shouldn't be pro­test­ing in front of the Su­preme Court, they should be pro­test­ing in front of this body.”

Clearly, in the senator's eyes, Congress isn't doing what the public has elected them to do, and this failure of the body to do its job has led directly to the divided, heated hearings we see every time a potential Supreme Court justice is up for confirmation these days.

It was a passionate, powerful moment — one worthy of a Hollywood script. Naturally, pundits on both sides of the political divide are seeing it through their own lenses.

Over at National Review, David French points out that Sasse gave a much-needed civics lesson not just to those present at the hearing but also to anyone watching at home: