Saturday, October 6, 2018

Susan Collins Steps Up

Our greatest self-defined defenders of democracy are out in force denouncing the upcoming Senate vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As happened with the election of Hillary Clinton, they refuse to accept any vote that does not affirm their position. Since they hold, as an article of faith, that legislation creates reality, they are more than normally outraged to see reality shift under their feet.

Now, when they are not out trying to shout down United States Senators, thus showing their respect for free and open discourse, they are laying the predicate for a further assault on Judge Kavanaugh. If Democrats regain control over the House of Representatives, Congressman Jerrold Nadler promises a Kavanaugh investigation and even an eventual impeachment. Many chronic whiners in the mainstream media are claiming that the Supreme Court will henceforth lack legitimacy-- they should have added that the rule only pertains to decisions that they do not like.

Of course, delegitimizing the Supreme Court was their intention all along. The taint they threw at Judge Kavanaugh was designed to defy democratic norms and to impose their will on the United States Senate. By slandering Kavanaugh they could win for losing… because they must never really have believed that they were going to win. They wanted to intimidate, to threaten, to shout down, to suppress views that did not echo theirs.

Like the Brown Shirts of the Third Reich or the Red Guards of Mao’s China… these so-called protesters wanted to disrupt and discredit America’s institutions.

Here is a prediction: the brouhaha over Brett Kavanaugh will die down. It is a politically losing issue. It will die down when we read the first Kavanaugh decision. The baying mob will move on and will find another victim, another way to deconstruct American civilization.

Anyway, the hero of the hour is Maine Senator Susan Collins. To the preternatural horror of our thought police, Collins did not just tell us how she would vote, she spend a large chunk of time delivering a superb speech explaining how she had come to her conclusion. In a time of mayhem, in a time when screeching has become the order of the day, rational thought comes as a welcome relief.

Collins rose to the occasion. She may or may not have saved the Senate, but she rendered the Republic a wonderful service.

Here, for your edification, a few of her remarks. Note that she began by considering Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Is it not strange that so few of those who attacked him, even of those who defended him, managed to conduct a full evaluation of his record as a judge? You would think that that would be the primary object of their interest. In truth, their primary interest was in grandstanding and creating political drama. Most of the senators who indulged their tendency for hyperbolic do not, I suspect, know enough about the law to debate a Brett Kavanaugh.

Collins was appalled by the frenzy:

…. we have seen special interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimony at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines which, although debunked hours later, continue to live on and be spread through social media. Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination.

As for Judge Kavanaugh’s track record, Collins said this:

Judge Kavanaugh has received rave reviews for his 12-year track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament. The American Bar Association (ABA) gave him its highest possible rating. Its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary conducted an extraordinarily thorough assessment, soliciting input from almost 500 people, including his judicial colleagues. The ABA concluded that “his integrity, judicial temperament, and professional competence met the highest standard.”

And, in the matter of the Christine Blasey Ford allegations, Collins insisted on the importance of due process of law, the presumption of innocence and basic fairness.

In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be. We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.

The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominee’s otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward.

And also:

This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of “more likely than not” as our standard.

The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night – or at some other time – but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the “more likely than not” standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the Court.

Collins concluded by stating that we are not seeing a difference of opinion. We are seeing attacks on human beings, attempts to destroy human beings, for the crime of having different opinions:

We live in a time of such great disunity, as the bitter fight over this nomination both in the Senate and among the public clearly demonstrates. It is not merely a case of different groups having different opinions. It is a case of people bearing extreme ill will toward those who disagree with them. In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans. When some of our best minds are seeking to develop ever more sophisticated algorithms designed to link us to websites that only reinforce and cater to our views, we can only expect our differences to intensify.

Yesterday was her day. A job exceptionally well done.


Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

"We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy."
--- Sen Susan Collins

Now that is one hell of a quote. Definite Bartlett's entry.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I am truly amazed that there is someone in the Congress that actually took the time to read Kavanaugh's writings on the more than 300 cases. One who actually looked at what "advice and consent" meant. One who looked at what the Constitutional protections that have been part of our legal system since the Founding of this country.
senator Collin's speech was one of the best well thought out speeches I have heard. I had come to believe that those who are supposed to represent us, and I mean all of us, had forgotten the legal foundation that undergrids their place in this country.
I suspect than many of those on the left cannot see how they strengthened the republicans. They stood strong, at this moment, in the face of a bunch of Soros paid banshees. Also I was happen to see the number of women who were there to support and defend their male relatives and friends.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I am happy that Collins will vote for Kavanaugh.

I am also happy that no Brownie troop leader came forward this morning claiming Kavanaugh flashed a bunch of little girls in 1988. I figured it would be that, or a zoologist and her lawyer proclaiming that Kavanaugh engaged in besiality without the beast’s consent. Or a second cousin twice-removed saying Kavanaugh looked at his friend’s dad’s Playboys when he was 12. Then we’d really have to take this all seriously...

Silliness, aside, I think Collins’ speech did highlight something with glaring clarity: this is all about Roe v Wade. That case is the agenda, almost entirely. And if Amy Coney Barrett is ever nominated, we will see this rage has nothing to do with the nominee’s gender. It’s about that case. Period.

Roe v Wade is the heart of the problem with these Supreme Court picks. This is not healthy, and it is because the Supreme Court is way beyond its authority, by any criterion of scrutiny.

The Supreme Court gets in trouble when it asserts itself into social issues beyond saying what the law says, and it gets really wacky when attacking state laws. Justices agonizingly search for peripheral cases to justify their own emotional longings, or simply invent them (penumbras).

This is not a new thing. The craziness of Plessy v Ferguson’s (1896) “Separate but equal...” necessitated Brown Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which led to the social and racial strife of the 1950s an 1960s. And then busing. And then affirmative action. If you look at such “landmark” social issue decisions, these really weren’t federal questions. Instead, the Supreme Court has become a clearing house for enacting a social agaenda that meets the sensibilities of Ivy League law school graduates, and so today all SCOTUS Justices are Catholic or Jewish.

We’ve federalized state and local matters, in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment. The slow democratic change of persuasion and legislative enactments that take place in states and regions aren’t fast enough for these supposed oracles on the Supreme Court. What then passes for judicial reasoning is exceptionally tortured/vague. Such decisions seem to most citizens to come out of nowhere, and thusly the reaction tears our country apart. For what? It seems to justify fashionable contemporary ideas of a chosen few — just as applicable to Plessy as to Roe. That’s not blind justice or considered reasoning. It’s an agenda, and agendas are supposed to be hashed out in a democratic/republican manner. That is NOT what is happening. And the most visible symptom is the Kavanaugh circus.

I assert social issues are not federal issues, as they are typically not matters of federal law, and they do not have separation of powers considerations, either. They are barely even Fourteenth Amendment issues, and their lineage is usually tied to sweeping penumbras invented out of whole cloth, as in Griswold v Connecticut (1965) with a newly-minted federal right to “privacy.” You’ll find that whopper nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, and it was used as justification for Roe. So we instead set a standard where 5 or more Justices can eviscerate federalism and set a national social policy. That is madness. It is dangerous. It needs to stop.

Adele said...
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Deana said...

OK. But where has she been all of this time? Why did we have to get to this point before we saw Lindsey Graham utter what is so painfully obvious? The Kavanaugh affair is the first time we have witnessed our elected officials actually FIGHT for what we believe. I appreciate what McConnel and Grassley have done but why did it have to get this bad?

Malcolm said...

This seems odd response by Jordan Peterson

Ares Olympus said...

Collin's speech is here for anyone who hasn't heard it, worth hearing to remember what an intelligent person sounds like. She shows it's possible to be thoughtful and honest when you take the effort. There is a middle ground where Ford can be believed as credible without being sufficient to ruin a man's career. And I appreciate she called out the anonymous leaker for Dr. Ford's confidential letter. Collins: 'I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh'

The simplest way for me to explain her position to leftists is this: Dr. Ford was credible and she's probably accurately representing what happened to her 36 years ago, but her story has no collaboration, and there is a finite chance of her own mental confusion or even mental illness we can't guess, even if she's honest. And even if we want to believe her this situation isn't acceptable since a liar has the same power as she does, and we are in no absolute position to differentiate. If we accept this weak evidence as sufficient, we open the door for future unsubstantiated allegations which would all have to be believed and block power.

That said Collins avoided the reality Kavanaugh walked on the wrong side of a terrible line in his testimony of attack and denial. The arguments that his prepared opening shows someone the left shouldn't trust at all to be fair and partial to perspectives outside his own. It was sufficient for Justice Stevens to say he's disqualified himself, and other conservative voices like Benjamin Wittes.

My only defense on the "acceptability" of Kavanaugh is that he's only 1 of 9, AND he now has extra incentive to self-monitor even the appearance of ideological bias. Finally we can hope Chief Justice Roberts can help mentor his overly emotional underling back into shape.

It looks like the Dems won't regain the senate, but if they did, restoring the filibuster for the Supreme Court would go a long way. Restoring the filibuster actually increases the chances that seats will be left open for years, but it also increases the chances the president at least has a reason to look at lists of acceptable candidates from both sides of the aisle, assuming the possibility still exists for overlap.

joetote said...

Not only Sen. Collins, but the "new" Lindsey Graham should be give some credit as to possibly saving the Senate. His "outburst " was appropriate and badly need.

More still, with the Republicans at least once showing some real spine, they might have saved this country as in regard to the court. As has been pointed out more than once, the Dems (as well as more that a few RINO scums) need the court to "legislate for them when it comes to forcing unconstitutional things down our throats

L. Beau said...

Ares wrote, "That said Collins avoided the reality Kavanaugh walked on the wrong side of a terrible line in his testimony...."

To you lefties, I suppose nothing is more terrible than resisting one of your smear campaigns, e.g. fighting back against a lot of innuendo about "colluding with Russia."

Sam L. said...

"They wanted to intimate, to threaten, to shout down, to suppress views that did not echo theirs." CORRECTION: Change "intimate" to "intimidate".

I trust Mr. Trump will direct the Secret Service to assign a team to protect Judge Kavanaugh.

Ares Olympus said...

L. Beau said... To you lefties, I suppose nothing is more terrible than resisting one of your smear campaigns

The problem is his conspiracy rantings did absolutely nothing to convince us of his innocence. Rather it showed him as an intemperate personality, a probable alcoholic, and in clear denial over his past. And having a best friend write a book "Wasted" makes it easy to believe there are also blackouts in Kavanuagh's history.

Dr. Ford's accusations were ultimately mild, Ramirez's public nudity accusation were mild, both of them could be forgivable, especially if he could have character witnesses to show that he hasn't abused alcohol as an adult. It's only damning evidence of bad character when someone denies everything except "I lik beer" with such certainty.

I'd never want to be in the GOP shoes here, not in a million years. Win the battle, lose the war isn't just a phrase, even if the Democrats are just as good at sabotaging themselves.

Bruce Abbott said...

A personal observation of Susan Collins. Before I took a job that required me to travel on short notice all over the world, I served as my town's Republican Committee chair in Maine, and once held the vice-chairmanship of the County committee. In 1995 I attended the Republican Straw Poll for presidential candidates in Bangor, it was the night that Yitzhak Rabin was killed.
Susan Collins had just finished an unsuccessful run for the Republican Party's nomination for governor, and was there. I stood in the voting line with her that evening, and encouraged her to run for the Senate seat that George Mitchell was vacating. So did a lot of others in the crowd.
Collins is old Maine, and doesn't scare easily. Her gubernatorial opponents used her brother's substance abuse problems against her, a low blow, but she kept on. BTW, she sounds nothing like her media appearances in person; I suspect that she has battled stage fright all her public life. We here in Maine are quite proud of her, and anyone threatening 'direct action' against her had better be prepared for 'direct reaction'.

L. Beau said...

Ares wrote, "Rather it [Judge Kavanaugh's testimony] showed him as an intemperate personality, a probable alcoholic, and in clear denial...."

This started out as, "vote no on Kavanaugh because of teenage sexual assault", but when that wasn't going to fly, it became, "vote no on Kavanaugh because he got upset when we advanced frivolous claims of sexual assault against him."


Ares wrote, "The problem is his conspiracy rantings did absolutely nothing to convince us of his innocence."

I am not sure that anything Kavanaugh himself could have done or said would have convinced the most committed partisans of his innocence, but I'll note that the lack of any evidence apart from one person's hazy 35 year old recollection was still enough convince many political animals of his certain guilt. I can also imagine that political operatives would have said that a calm demeanor on Kavanaugh's part would have been evidence of guilt, as well: "See, he expected that these accusations were coming, that's why he's so calm about it! He knew someone would come forward because he's guilty as sin!"

Oh, and Kavanaugh's righteous anger at the Senate Democrats' dirty political tactics? That was more evidence of his innocence for a lot of us.

Sam L. said...

L. Beau, it seems that Ares wears Democrat glasses.

Anonymous said...

Ares Olympus sees both sides of every story. Just ask him.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I wish I had a picture of Ares Olympus so I could turn it into a Nike ad. What a self-righteous victim.

The last time Ares said he didn’t want to be in the Republicans’ shoes, Trump won. I’ll take those odds.

Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

Life, it is good...