U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Kavanaugh Gave Private Assurances. Collins Says He ‘Misled’ Her,” The New York Times (via The Seattle Times due to paywall access) reports. “During a two-hour meeting in her Senate office with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Aug. 21, 2018, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine pressed him hard on why she should trust him not to overturn Roe v. Wade if she backed his confirmation. Kavanaugh worked vigorously to reassure her that he was no threat to the landmark abortion rights ruling.”
Collins is the one who feels misled?
How about every American who relies on Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings to elicit information about nominees and form opinions on the politicians who back or oppose them? Might their opinions and support or opposition change if they knew they were not only not getting the whole picture, but that backroom deals were being deliberately withheld from them outside of the committee? (Collins sits on Appropriations; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Intelligence; and the Special Committee on Aging.)
Consider that when Kavanaugh was up for confirmation gun owners had a general idea about where he might stand due to past views, but getting into specific details, particularly over cases he would probably have to rule on, was regarded and treated as against the rules. That’s because typically in judicial confirmation hearings, nominees have been able to rely on an “out” giving them a pass on answering specific questions. From Congressional Research Service, which does for Congress what its name implies:
“In recent decades a recurring Senate issue has been what kinds of questions are appropriate for Senators to pose to a Supreme Court nominee appearing at hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Particularly at issue has been whether, or to what extent, questions by committee members should seek out a nominee’s personal views on current legal or constitutional issues or on past Supreme Court decisions that have involved those issues. Usually, when Senators at confirmation hearings have asked Supreme Court nominees to comment on topical legal and constitutional issues, the nominees have firmly declined to do so. In those situations, the nominees typically have taken the position that answers to questions which convey their personal views would conflict with their obligation to avoid appearing to make commitments, or provide signals, as to how they would vote as a Justice on future cases.”
Think of one job you’ve ever applied for where you’d have gotten it if you decided to play coy with the hiring managers. While it may be “inappropriate” for a judge to weigh in on a specific case before confirmation — for legitimate reasons, including not having studied and evaluated all the particulars, evidence, and precedents against the “supreme Law of the Land,” — there’s no reason why general principles of understanding should be off-limits. Such hearings are supposed to be, among other things, high-level employment interviews, not pre-coronation ceremonies.
If real principles – or lack thereof – are only shared behind closed doors with select politicians trying to advance an agenda, the whole purpose of public hearings is exposed as fraudulent theater, a dishonest performance with the sole intent to manipulate the voting public. Collins isn’t the one who should feel betrayed. But with her chronic oath-breaking voting record, like her enthusiastic support joining other Republican Quislings for the “bipartisan” gun bill) it’s not surprising that she resorts to projection and to accusing others of that which she routinely does herself.
But the thing is, you can be sure she’s not the only one who holds private audiences with the promise of quid-pro-quo votes in exchange for assurances the public will never hear about. And that leads to the next logical question, heightened in significance with the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer:
What citizen disarmament ruling promises were extracted behind closed doors from Ketanji Brown Jackson (who Collins unsurprisingly voted to confirm)?
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.