Brett Kavanaugh: Settled Law, Email Theft, and a Shaky Relationship with the Truth
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By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
When Judge Brett Kavanaugh met privately with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) ahead of his confirmation hearings, the conservative nominee realized he was talking to one of only a handful of pro-choice Republicans in Congress. So, he said what he needed to say in one of the most important 1 on 1 meetings he would have in the confirmation process. Kavanaugh told Collins he sees the Roe v. Wade debate as “settled as a precedent of the court” and “settled law.”
Collins has passed muster with voters as a Republican in what might be a more liberal district by being one of the few Rebulican outliers that supports a woman’s right to choose. It’s been an issue where she’s departed from her party on many occasions. It has mattered to her and her constituents.
“Settled law” seems pretty self-contained. It seemed to be a solid answer to the questions that swirl around Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion rights. However, it may not have been true. Last week a Kavanaugh memo surfaced from 2003 insisting that Roe shouldn’t be seen as settled law. Seems like Kavanaugh likes the words, “settled law”. It also seems like he uses them in different contexts depending on who he’s talking to.
You’d think that would give Senator Collins a solid reason to put the brakes on her yes vote in a Kavanaugh confirmation.
When asked about a controversy regarding whether Kavanaugh lied under oath during his 2004 confirmation hearing to be a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, Collins said she wasn’t aware of the issue. Democrats are asserting that Kavanaugh lied about whether – while working for the Bush administration in 2003 – he handled the “vetting process” for another judge, appeals court Judge William Pryor. Kavanaugh said he wasn’t involved in the process during his 2004 confirmation hearing, but newly surfaced emails from that time suggest strongly that he was.
When faced with the new information, Collins did not exactly put the breaks on her yes vote. She said she’d think about it over the weekend. She came in very soft.
“If in fact (Kavanaugh) was not truthful, then obviously that would be a major problem for me,” Collins said. However, faced with overwhelming documentation that he had lied, Collins wouldn’t own in. “If in fact” doesn’t sound like she’s sold.
And if the GOP senator was serious on this point, it’s worth watching closely what Collins will do next – because there’s quite a bit of evidence that Kavanaugh hasn’t been truthful. In fact, it’s hard to imagine having more documented evidence than is currently on the table.
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who hardly has a reputation for being a straight-shooter, stated unequivocally that he believes Kavanaugh has given “untruthful testimony, under oath and on the record.”
The longtime Vermont senator pointed specifically to this blistering editorial from the New York Times, which said Kavanaugh “can’t be trusted,” adding that he’s “a perfect nominee for a president with no clear relation to the truth.” In many ways, a nominee with no clear relationship to the truth is an ideal nominee for Trump and that’s problematic.
There are many eyebrow-raising reasons to be concerned regarding comments Kavanaugh has made under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but one of the most important may be an incident from 2003 in which a Senate Republican aide stole thousands of documents from committee Democrats on the fight over Bush/Cheney judicial nominees.
During confirmation hearings for his original judicial nomination, senators pressed Kavanaugh for answers on his possible involvement in the scandal. Under oath, he told the Judiciary Committee that he wasn’t aware of the thefts and never saw the stolen materials in any way.
Two years later, in 2006, Kavanaugh testified that he never even suspected that there were thefts of Democratic documents underway.
Last week, Leahy asked the Supreme Court nominee, “When you worked at the White House, did anyone ever tell you they had a ‘mole’ that provided them with secret information related to nominations?” Kavanaugh said he had no such recollection.
Neither of these claims appears to be even remotely true. The Republicans are still withholding thousands of pages of documentation on Kavanaugh’s record. We have an incomplete record of his professional history, but the limited amount of information we do have points to an email Kavanaugh received with a subject line that said, “Spying.” The first line of the email references a “mole” that provided Democratic materials on judicial nominees – the same materials that the “mole” stole and that were shared with Kavanaugh and we know that for sure.
You read that right, “spying” and “mole”. This wasn’t subtle. It’s not something you could easily misunderstand.
Lisa Graves, whose materials were stolen as part of the Republican theft at the time, wrote a brutal piece for Slate the other day: “Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance – which I personally find implausible – there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly, someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too. But he lied. Under oath. And he did so repeatedly.”
Graves suggested that Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve a promotion to the nation’s highest court; he deserves to be impeached over his repeated deceptions to the Senate.
So, wrapping back to Susan Collins and her newly stated belief that if Kavanaugh “was not truthful, then obviously that would be a major problem for me.”
We’re about to find out exactly what that means to her and all of the other Republicans in real life. As we’re watching them navigate the reality of truth we need to remember the mid-terms are coming. We also need to ask ourselves the question, should this man be on the highest court in the land or should he be in prison? Lying under oath in congressional hearings is a crime.
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Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.