“I’m not going to ruin Judge [Brett] Kavanaugh’s life over this,” US Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on September 23.
“How much evidence is required to destroy a person’s life?” conservative columnist Marc A. Thiessen asked in the Washington Post a few days earlier, weighing in on the same controversy.
“Ruin?” “Destroy?” Really?
Kavanaugh stands accused of, as a high school student, attempting to rape another high school student.
Did he do that? I don’t know. You probably don’t know either, nor do the 100 US Senators now weighing his confirmation.
Decades after the alleged incident, only a few people COULD know. It really comes down to whether one believes the accuser and those who say they were there or that she disclosed details to them, or whether one believes Kavanaugh and those who vouch for him.
I’m not going to express an opinion on the accusation, because I’m not qualified to offer anything but a gut feeling based on watching from afar. Those 100 Senators, who really don’t have any choice but to express their opinions with their votes, are going to vote with their parties or on their own gut feelings as well.
But the hype … wow. In what universe does not getting a gig as one of the nine most powerful judges in the United States equate to having one’s life “ruined” or “destroyed?”
Brett Kavanaugh knocks down $220,600 per year as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Absent impeachment proceedings, his job is safe, and even assuming such proceedings a 2/3 US Senate vote to convict on the basis of a decades-old accusation not related to corruption is extraordinarily unlikely.
If he is somehow forced or pressured off the bench, he’s a guy with options. He’s a graduate of exclusive schools (Georgetown Prep and Yale) and a former partner at a $3 billion law firm (Kirkland & Ellis).
If he’s not confirmed, he’ll command five- and six-figure speaking fees, large book advances, talking head “analysis” gigs on cable news shows, etc. He could probably build a lucrative new career doing nothing but whining to conservatives about how he was robbed of a SCOTUS position.
Don’t worry too much for Brett Kavanaugh. He’s going to be fine.
Given his expansive views of government power to surveil, confine, and interrogate both Americans and foreigners, though, the rest of us might end up regretting his confirmation.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.