The Republican Party is ripping up the roots of our democracy piece by piece. They’ve already succeeded in installing a sexual predator and complete ignoramus in the executive branch, riddled Congress with racists and troglodytic idealogues, and are now pushing to completely delegitimize the Supreme Court.
With Susan Collins’s (R-ME) announcement yesterday that she intends to vote later today to confirm credibly accused sexual assaulter and attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court. Kavanaugh’s confirmation represents a dangerous attack on the court’s ostensible impartiality.
Now, President Obama-appointed Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor are voicing their deep concerns about the way things are headed. The two spoke at Princeton University and said:
“It’s an incredibly important thing for the court to guard, is this reputation of being fair, of being impartial, of being neutral, and not being simply an extension of the terribly polarized political process and environment that we live in,” Kagan said, before pointing out that there might not be an ideologically centered justice on the bench going forward.
Sotomayor agreed and said that justices are expected to “rise above partisanship.” Kagan went on to remind the nation and the new Justice about how precious the court’s legitimacy is to its functioning as an institution of American life:
“We don’t have an army, we don’t have any money, the only way we get people to do what we say that they should do is because people respect us and respect our fairness,” Kagan said. “I think especially in this time when the rest of the political environment is so divided, every single one of us has an obligation to think about what it is that provides the court with its legitimacy.”
Kagan is right to point to the court’s legitimacy as a tenuous construct that must be closely guarded. Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a direct blow to that legitimacy for two major reasons.
The first and obvious issue is that much of the country believes Kavanaugh to be a sex criminal and as such will forever view any of his rulings as hypocritical and moot. The second, perhaps more serious issue, at least in judicial terms, is that Kavanaugh is clearly, painfully, embarrassingly a Republican partisan hack.
His shameful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee included rank disrespect and confrontation with Democratic senators and even unhinged conspiracy theories about the Clintons. If ever there was a performance disqualifying for a seat on the Supreme Court, it was Kavanaugh’s.
Kagan and Sotomayor’s powerful words couldn’t have come in a timelier fashion, but we fear that there’s nothing that could be said or done before the Republicans confirm this accused rapist to our nation’s highest court — or to convince Kavanaugh to take their words to heart.
Watch their remarks here: