TAR HEEL EDITORS SPEAK OUT
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals, was sworn in as the newest justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in a quiet private ceremony on Saturday night. We hope he serves with wisdom and in good health. His appointment, by the narrowest Senate confirmation in nearly 140 years (50-48), which included “yea” votes from our Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, will allow the court to return to full strength to accomplish its work.
But the issue of Kavanaugh’s appointment, following a troublesome nomination and vetting process that included accusations of sexual assault, alcohol abuse and dishonesty, isn’t over and won’t be for a long time.
Kavanaugh’s emotional blow-up while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, in which he claimed that Democrats were motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” and threatened “what goes around comes around,” lends itself to doubts of whether he can be impartial. It will likely lead to future challenges that he recuse himself on a number of cases that come before the court.
More accusations of improper behavior are also likely, from people such as Kavanaugh’s Yale roommate, James Roche, who claims that Kavanaugh was dishonest in his testimony before Congress. Because of the rush to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination, this and other claims won’t receive the vetting the American people deserve.
Still lingering are claims of sexual assault, which many, fairly or not, believe. Trump’s disrespectful mockery of accuser Christine Blasey Ford during a campaign-style rally in Mississippi last week only feeds the flames.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine defended her vote in favor of Kavanaugh, both before Congress and on TV this past weekend, by portraying him as a moderate, fair judge who would not seek to overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade. But that stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s campaign promise that he would nominate and appoint pro-life justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Someone is going to be disappointed.
The whole appointment process was marred in many ways, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Like it or not, Kavanaugh’s appointment was controversial and will feed discord for a long time to come.
We are more divided than ever. Democrats now warily eye their colleagues on the other side of the aisle and see men and women who are willing to practice underhanded tactics to get what they want. Republicans see the same in Democrats.
Our politics today have caught a fever; they’re angry and bitter. It falls to our leaders, especially those who have power, to walk us back from the brink and heal our divisions. But too many of them push and promote our divisions instead.
— Winston-Salem Journal