More Thoughts on the Kavanaugh Hearing

  1. I was pleased to hear that Judge Kavanaugh no longer votes in election. This practice, followed by the second Justice Harlan, should really be made part of the Judicial Canon of Ethics.
  2. The Judge’s answer to the question about why he said that the President’s nomination of him was based on a consultation process superior to any other in history was incredibly lame. He mumbled something about having looked into other Supreme Court nominations as the basis for his statement. Basically, he should have just admitted that he got carried away.

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6 Responses

  1. Henry Cohen says:

    Why should a judge not vote? If the concern is that he should not publicly express his political views, he doesn’t by voting. Surely we needn’t pretend that judges have no political views. In any event, the concern is trivial. Does anyone have any doubt which party’s candidates Kavanaugh would vote for?

  2. Joe says:

    I basically agree with the first comment and if it is a matter of local elections (not federal) even more so.

    The “test tube baby” metaphor of Talking Points Memo is pretty apt — he was Republican/conservative cog in the machine for years. The process so far raised some questions in that department, including “it isn’t perjury … he may be lying or something but …” level defenses.

    This sort of thing is “I hire women clerks” (vs. concerns over his involvement with Kozinski etc.) level of form over substance regarding ethical concerns.

  3. Joe says:

    No need to bring up Ruth Bader Ginsberg — if she did something wrong, it wasn’t voting, it was publicly voicing her opinion as she did. Any justice can vote — I’ll apply the rule evenhandedly.

    The same would apply to showing up at meetings of ideological groups — I’m not sure where to draw the line there. We can cite examples of various judges. Again, it’s not the same as a vote unless you know they post a selfie of the ballot (calling Rick Hasen!)

  4. Joey says:

    I too am puzzled by why the author is pleased that a judge doesn’t vote. I would rather they vote, if they wish, and then make the necessary effort to maintain a careful, self-conscious distinction between their private politics and their role as a judge.

    Conceptually I see two options here:
    (1) Pretend not to have any role as a citizen or any views about electoral politics. Then go decide cases.
    (2) Admit that you have political views and a role as a citizen. Vote accordingly (that’s optional, of course). Then acknowledge the challenge of keeping your private political views (your “low politics”) separate from your judging. Work hard to overcome this challenge as best you can.

    I think option (1) involves too much self-deception. You’re pretending something that’s simply untrue. Option (2) is more honest and, I suspect, more likely to work.

  5. Brett Bellmore says:

    Agree with the consensus: Not voting is stupid. I can see the point in not making public statements about politcs, (RBG fails this test in spades!) but not voting is pointless.

    It doesn’t imply that you lack political views, just that you’re not bothering to use perhaps the least effective way to advance them. If they are unethical, Supreme court justices have far more effective ways to advance their political preferences. (Again, looking at you, RBG.)

  6. Henry Cohen says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t let “(Again, looking at you, RBG)” go by. If you are implying, and really believe, that she, more than the right-wing justices, uses her votes in cases in order to advance her political preferences, then you are merely revealing your blindness. You don’t think that you’re going to persuade anyone with that parenthetical assertion, do you? Maybe you’re just trying to provoke, in which case I shouldn’t take the bait by posting this comment. But I can’t resist.