Benjamin Wittes, an early and vocal defender of Brett Kavanaugh, wrote three,500 phrases within the Atlantic explaining that he wouldn’t now help Kavanaugh’s affirmation to the Supreme Courtroom.
Not a type of three,500 phrases was “sorry.” Not a type of three,500 phrases was “Alex” or “Kozinski.” It’s three,500 phrases explaining a private journey that introduced him from blind help of a fellow elite buddy to the conclusion that a man who lies to Congress perhaps shouldn’t be on the Supreme Courtroom.
Based mostly on the reactions I’m seeing, I’m presupposed to welcome Wittes to the social gathering. Moderates are sharing Wittes’s article with me as if it’s a .gif of Vader throwing the Emperor into the Demise Star. I’m purported to welcome all the elite authorized minds who’ve spent the previous month humping the “character” of Decide Duffman, if they will now see that tying their reputations to Kavanaugh’s was a disastrous name.
I can respect what Wittes is making an attempt to do, now. There are various, many different Kavanaugh defenders operating round out right here who’ve but to point out the braveness and decency to publicly repudiate a person who they need to now be capable of see is manifestly unfit for the Supreme Courtroom. Wittes, at the very least, has honor.
Individuals make errors, cabals make errors, however for society to maneuver ahead, individuals should be capable of study from their errors. There’s nothing in Wittes’s piece that means he’s discovered a goddamn factor. There’s nothing within the letters pouring in from elite establishments — establishments that solely two weeks in the past have been absolutely onboard with the Kavanaugh nomination — that means these establishments have discovered something. If these individuals and locations refuse to reckon with their complicity in creating Brett Kavanaugh, then their late-breaking letters and protestations imply little. Dr. Frankenstein at the least tried to kill his monster. These guys are simply making an attempt to run away from theirs.
The Brett Kavanaugh affirmation course of began with Brett Kavanaugh mendacity about sexual harassment. Kavanaugh got here out of the gate mendacity about what he knew concerning the rampant sexual harassment carried out by his pal and mentor, Alex Kozinski. Kavanaugh claimed that he knew nothing about Kozinski’s conduct, and was as “shocked” as anyone when his conduct was revealed.
That was a lie. That may be a lie that’s nonetheless not being talked about, or investigated by the FBI. I wrote concerning the sheer ridiculousness of Kavanaugh’s lies about Kozinski, the morning after he was nominated. That publish obtained dragged in conservative and alt-right press. I used to be accused of making an attempt to impugn “guilt by association” and sully Kavanaugh’s “sterling reputation,” for ideological causes.
The truth is, EVERYBODY ought to have been asking these questions as quickly as Kavanaugh was introduced, as a result of ANYBODY taking note of the Alex Kozinski scandal knew that Kavanaugh was merely not being truthful about what he knew and when he knew it.
Kozinski — and we’ve seen this with many males within the #MeToo period — made lots of people complicit in his harassment. His harassment of girls was an open secret. He disseminated his “Easy Rider Gag List” to a wide selection of highly effective individuals: former clerks, judicial buddies, and journalists. (Not me, I ought to add, and if I appear righteous about this level, it’s as a result of I’m.) The journalists have been the deepest minimize, as a result of by roping them into his recreation, Kozinski all however ensured that folks can be cautious about how they reported on his perversions.
I do know that Brett Kavanaugh knew about Alex Kozinski, as a result of almost everyone knew about Alex Kozinski. I do know that the press didn’t need to press Kavanaugh on Kozinski, as a result of to take action would have required them to press themselves on what they knew, versus what they reported, and why. Alex Kozinski is the canary within the coal mine for all of Kavanaugh’s untruths about his previous, and the elite crew that protected Kavanaugh has nonetheless not handled their very own complicity in letting Kozinski get away with it for therefore lengthy.
As we received into the Kavanaugh affirmation hearings, Kavanaugh continued to lie. The person was revealed to have given false or deceptive testimony to Congress in 2004 and 2006. Recreation over? Hardly. Once more, the a number of the similar individuals who now say that Kavanaugh’s constant mendacity about his consuming is type of an enormous deal, didn’t assume Kavanaugh’s mendacity to Congress was that massive of a deal. The partisan hard-on they acquired from being so near having sufficient votes to overturn Roe v. Wade should have short-circuited their capability to demand correct testimony in entrance of Congress earlier than gifting Kavanaugh a lifetime appointment.
As an alternative of significantly wrestling with Kavanaugh’s lies, these individuals tried to muddy the waters by holding Kavanaugh to the authorized commonplace of felony perjury. All of this CRAP about how Kavanaugh may be on the Supreme Courtroom if he couldn’t be convicted of sexual assault based mostly on a 36-year-old incident is being led by individuals who minimize their tooth by telling you that a Supreme Courtroom nominee can lie and mislead Congress as long as it doesn’t rise to the extent of felony perjury.
As Mark Ruffalo may say: THEY KNEW! All these individuals knew Kavanaugh was mendacity about Alex Kozinski, and lied to Congress, they usually nonetheless defended his… judicial character.
Till Dr. Christine Blasey Ford got here ahead. It shouldn’t have been essential for a lady to relive probably the most painful second of her life for the “Kavanaugh is a good guy” individuals to cease their gaslighting of America. Dr. Ford shouldn’t have been required to be retraumatized by the President of america to ensure that these individuals to note they have been backing the mistaken horse. Dr. Ford shouldn’t have needed to lay herself down on the tracks to make the Kavanaugh character defenders hit a velocity bump.
Even her sacrifice won’t be sufficient, and alone it won’t have been sufficient for Ben Wittes. Right here’s what he wrote:
The allegations towards [Kavanaugh] shocked me very deeply, however not fairly so deeply as did his presentation. It was not simply an indignant and aggressive model of the individual I’ve recognized. It appeared like a special individual altogether.
Get the hell out of my face with that.
Kavanaugh’s conduct at his listening to was, certainly, horrifying. However we’re NOT going to lose sight of the truth that the person has been accused of making an attempt to rape a 15-year-old woman. MOST MEN DON’T DO THAT! MOST MEN ARE NEVER ACCUSED OF DOING THAT! A part of the mansplaining round Kavanaugh — and this isn’t simply occurring on the suitable, and it isn’t simply being pushed by the sexual predator-in-chief — is that ladies might accuse males of something until males are presumptively believed. The statistics merely don’t again up such male-dominated assertions. It’s estimated that solely 2 % of rape claims are false. In the event you had 100 Brett Kavanaughs, 98 of them sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford. We actually EXECUTE individuals on dying row who’ve a statistically higher probability of being harmless than Brett Kavanaugh does. This narrative that males should “live in fear” of being falsely accused of sexual assaults that they didn’t commit is complete horses**t.
And I say that as a black man. A black man who makes his dwelling in public. I can’t purchase a white lady a rattling drink with out risking some measure of my private security. White ladies can actually get me killed. And but, when introduced with a reputable lady with nothing to realize by coming ahead, a lady who advised her husband and her therapist and her Congresswoman of her trauma earlier than Brett Kavanaugh was even up for promotion, it’s actually not exhausting for me to consider her.
Believing Christine Blasey Ford requires you to disbelieve Brett Kavanaugh. She wasn’t assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh’s evil freaking twin. Kavanaugh’s presentation of his protection, riddled as it’s with lies, ought to make you horrified that you simply wanted Christine Blasey Ford to sacrifice herself to make you see this liar plain. The system did not cease Kavanaugh earlier than he obtained so far.
For lots of males, and Republican ladies, truly simply believing Christine Blasey Ford continues to be a bridge too far. So individuals are going to Kavanaugh’s temperament. Like all the purple flags about Kavanaugh’s character, Kavanaugh’s temperament has been on show because the starting, it’s simply that his phalanx of defenders have refused to acknowledge what was in entrance of their faces. Right here’s Wittes once more:
The Brett Kavanaugh who confirmed as much as Thursday’s listening to is a person I’ve by no means met, whom I’ve by no means even caught a glimpse of in 20 years of understanding the one that confirmed as much as the primary listening to. I handled Kavanaugh through the Starr investigation, which I coated for the Washington Submit editorial web page and about which I wrote a ebook. I handled him when he was within the White Home counsel’s workplace and dealing on judicial nominations and submit–September 11 authorized issues. Since his affirmation to the D.C. Circuit, he has been a big voice on a raft of points I work on. In all of our interactions, he has been a consummate skilled.
The Brett Kavanaugh who confirmed up for his listening to was precisely the identical Brett Kavanaugh who labored on the Starr investigation. If any of those elites might inform the reality concerning the Starr investigation, they’d have realized that nominating a veteran of that sordid affair was nominating a hyper-partisan who wouldn’t be an neutral jurist.
Even for those who have been prepared to miss that apparent black mark on Kavanaugh’s report, anyone significantly excited about whether or not Brett Kavanaugh had the impartiality required of Supreme Courtroom Justice would have DEMANDED to see all the paperwork from Kavanaugh’s time serving in Bush’s White Home. What few have been launched have already proven him as a partisan hack, which makes one marvel about what paperwork are nonetheless even now being held in secret by Republicans. Wittes was truly even on a few of the paperwork which were launched. He in all probability is aware of in addition to anyone that Kavanaugh was dedicated to Republican insurance policies first, neutral judicial assessment second, however nonetheless he runs with this “I have never even caught a glimpse” line. If Wittes truthfully by no means caught a “glimpse” of the partisan Kavanaugh, then he was being willfully blind and ignorant.
All the things mistaken with Kavanaugh now was flawed with him two months in the past. Almost all the things we find out about Kavanaugh now, might have been recognized two months in the past. It WAS recognized two months in the past, by those that have been paying consideration.
Why did Kavanaugh even get this far earlier than Wittes and others jumped ship? Wittes tells you:
I’ve no hostility to or specific worry of conservative jurisprudence. I’ve an extended relationship with Kavanaugh, and I’ve all the time favored him.
These two sentences clarify every thing:
* “I have no hostility to or particular fear of conservative jurisprudence.” In response to the close to fixed assaults on our nationwide norms of decorum introduced on by the Trump administration, conservatives have adopted a perception within the “hysterical left.” Conservatives can’t truly defend Donald Trump, or the literal Nazis who help him, so as an alternative they assault those that react to Donald Trump. “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” they name it. It’s imagined to make the individuals who struggle Donald Trump really feel “radical” and the individuals who decide and select which ranges of white supremacy and predatory misogyny they’re okay with as “rational.” Wittes is not any Trump fan, however he doesn’t “fear” conservative jurisprudence, as a result of “fearing” one thing is irrational to him and the individuals he likes.
I do worry conservative jurisprudence, as a result of I’m not a straight white man. Conservative jurisprudence is a direct menace to me and most of my pals. However as a result of individuals like me worry conservative jurisprudence, individuals who ought to have recognized higher discounted our considerations about Kavanaugh’s character as “mere” ideological butthurt.
What Wittes and others rolled into the Kavanaugh nomination with was precisely the type of victimization of minorities and “others” that white guys do virtually with out considering. They use individuals’s vulnerabilities and precise experiences of ache and struggling by the hands of the white supremacist patriarchy to ignore their voice and considerations and arguments. These individuals injury others, then use that injury as a purpose to name them biased. It’s punching somebody within the face after which saying “only people who have not been punched in the face can be truly objective about assault.”
It’s gross and we should always not settle for it from these Kavanaugh defenders, ever once more.
* “I have a long relationship with Kavanaugh, and I have always liked him.” In fact, in the identical breath the place they decry the objectivity of others, Kavanaugh’s crew of elites pimped their manifest lack of objectivity as a constructive. In a rational world, being “friends” with a nominee would make an individual SHUT UP concerning the nominee’s goal qualifications. On this world, Wittes, and lots of others, used their private and professional relationships with Kavanaugh as a cause for why they need to be trusted to talk on his behalf.
As we’re seeing now, numerous these individuals who claimed to “know” Brett Kavanaugh, didn’t know diddly. It now appears clear that in the event you by no means noticed Brett Kavanaugh drunk, you haven’t any concept of who you’re speaking about. Wittes, at the least, is considered one of Kavanaugh’s few sober associates who has discovered this. Most of Kavanaugh’s different skilled contacts are persevering with their protection of a man based mostly apparently on solely the face he selected to point out them.
Once more, Wittes has taken a step a lot of the Kavanaugh defenders haven’t, and he ought to be revered for it. However what has he discovered? What have any of them discovered? What are any of those individuals going to do in a different way, in order that Brett Kavanaugh can by no means occur once more?
Or are they already dedicated to creating the identical errors once more?
Elie Mystal is the Government Editor of Above the Regulation and the Authorized Editor for Extra Good. He may be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at email@example.com. He’ll resist.