Robin Diel: Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing
September 6, 2018
I watched the introductory hearing on Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gave a concise summation of Democrat objections to Judge Kavanaugh appointment. As such, I would like to summarize the viewpoint of Sen. Cruz for the benefit of our community who might appreciate an alternate perspective.
Cruz detailed what the hearing "was" and what it "was not." Cruz affirmed that the hearing was not about Kavanaugh's qualifications; he's well respected, academically gifted, and has served over a decade with distinction on the second highest court in the land. Nor was the hearing about his judicial record that's open public record.
The hearing is not even about documents, with over half a million pages submitted, more than the last five Supreme Court appointees combined. The only documents not submitted were from his time as staff secretary for President George W. Bush, documents still protected by Executive Privilege of the 43rd President of the USA. Democrat insistence on these papers are pointless as they detailed the inner workings of the Bush Administration and have little if any useful information on Kavanaugh's views as a jurist.
Cruz argued the hearing was mostly about Democrat obstructionism and a concerted effort to annul the 2016 presidential election. In Ted Cruz's assessment, the crucial matter of that election was the open court seat and how the American public wanted those seats filled. Hillary Clinton offered a court dominated by liberal progressive judges willing to rewrite the Constitution. Donald Trump offered conservative judges who interpreted law through the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Interestingly, Donald Trump was the only candidate to publish his list of potential nominees before the election. There was a clear choice presented to the American public through three debates. The election became a referendum on the future Supreme Court. So what does that mean?
Sen. Cruz chose three examples of what a liberal progressive versus a conservative court meant for Americans:
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1. Free speech: In 2014 the then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to pass a bill proposed by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall to change the First Amendment by giving Congress the power to pass laws that determined what did and what did not constitute protected political speech. The bill narrowly failed in a vote taken in September 2014, but all Senate Democrats voted to limit free speech (with one abstention). A liberal progressive Supreme Court could litigate this from the courts, bypassing a legislative vote.
2. Religious liberty: The Senate attempted to repeal the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" originally passed in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton. Generally the Act prohibits the government from restricting how you can practice your religion, unless there is a compelling reason for that restriction. Two decades later, the Democrats oppose the Act. Sen. Cruz suggested that the Democrats desired Supreme Court nominees willing to attack religious liberty through the courts.
3. The right to bear arms: Hillary Clinton promised to nominate judges committed to overturn Heller versus District of Columbia (2007). This Supreme Court ruling reaffirmed the Second Amendment protected the individual right to bear arms "unconnected with service in the militia." The four dissenters believed the Second Amendment did not protect an individual's right to bear arms, only the collective right. This opinion would allow Congress to pass laws to make gun ownership a felony, effectively erasing the Second Amendment. (As a side note, this happened in the United Kingdom that banned the private ownership of firearms with the Firearms (Amendment) (No 2) Act in 1997.)
As with the other cases cited by Sen. Cruz, Americans had a clear choice during the 2016 election; vote for Hillary Clinton and her Supreme Court appointees to limit free speech, religious liberty, and the right to bear arms or Donald Trump who promised appointees to protect not only these rights but the entire Bill of Rights as originally written.
Lastly, Sen. Cruz pointed out that the Democrats of the Senate had already pledged to vote against Kavanaugh regardless of the hearing, regardless of his qualifications, and despite his exemplary record. Cruz went on to assert that Democrat opposition to Kavanaugh was just another attempt to re-litigate the 2016 election and begin to litigate the 2020 presidential election.
Personally, I think Sen. Cruz presented a well thought out and thought-provoking perspective on the root of Democrat opposition to Judge Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court that deserved some attention in our local community.
Robin Diel lives in Penn Valley.