Can we just hit the pause button on Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings and admit that both his supporters and detractors have become silly and annoying?
The latest example of extreme silliness involves Zina Bash, a former Kavanaugh clerk who sat behind him on the first day of the hearing. According to some leftwing bloggers, reports The Washington Post, Bash was signaling support for white nationalists by the way she held her fingers during the hearings. The snag to that theory: “Zina is Mexican on her mother’s side and Jewish on her father’s side,” tweeted her husband John Bash. “She was born in Mexico. Her grandparents were Holocaust survivors.”
Oops. Point one for Team Kavanaugh!
And speaking of Team Kavanaugh, what’s the deal with the endless parade of women speaking about what a swell guy he is and how much he supports women? It started off with women who clerked for him, then expanded to include Tiger Mom Amy Chua and other women who’ve worked with him or otherwise came in contact with him.
One recent TV ad promoting Kavanaugh’s nomination featured one of his longtime female friends, who identified herself as a “teacher and a coach,” testifying to his decency. Two thoughts on this: Are women supposed to be reassured by this everywoman’s testimonial? And since when do Supreme Court nominees have to be sold to the public like laundry detergent? (There’s a whole slew of slick ads for Kavanaugh aimed at all sorts of constituencies.)
But I digress. What I find truly irritating and dishonest is our tendency (need) to cast Kavanaugh and all high court nominees as either a champion of women (or some other group) or their worst enemy. In my view, Kavanaugh is clearly both.
It bothers me that few of his female supporters—including the liberals—seem to be coming clean about the probable harm he’ll cause women and other groups. As I wrote a few weeks ago, women seem to be conflating his personal qualities (being a good boss and mentor) with being a champion for them on the broader spectrum of rights.
So far, one of the few women who’s been upfront about Kavanaugh is Lisa Blatt, who leads Arnold & Porter’s Supreme Court practice. Blatt, a self-proclaimed liberal, introduced him at the hearing. And like other women who’ve enthusiastically supported his nomination, Blatt noted that more than half of his law clerks have been women, lauding him for being “remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.”
More telling, Blatt also called him, ”the best choice liberals could reasonably hope for.”
And that’s the point: Women and liberals won’t do any better with another nominee. In fact, the situation could be worse.
Since it’s a given that any Trump nominee will land to the right on just about every issue that liberals hold dear—women’s right to choose, civil rights, gun control, separation of church and state, environmental regulations—we should be relieved that at least Kavanaugh will fashion his opinions thoughtfully. Plus, as Blatt and all the women supporting him keep telling us: He’s nice and helpful to women in his orbit—which, in the context of #MeToo, ain’t nothin’.
So there you have it: While Kavanaugh will most certainly do major damage to women’s rights and a host of other rights, he’s the best of the lot in the Trumpian order. He might be doctrinaire, but he’ll be respectful about the process. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll listen to what women will say.
Pathetic, isn’t it?
Contact Vivia Chen at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @lawcareerist