Kavanaugh's Deranged Hearing Freaked Out Some of His Most Important Supporters

Supreme Court

Following Brett Kavanaugh’s unhinged performance at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over allegations that he’d sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, two of the institutions he claimed played a formative role in his life—and which formerly backed his credentials for the Supreme Court—have suddenly reversed course by either rescinding their support, or demanding Kavanaugh submit to an FBI investigation before his nomination proceeds. But since they waited until very late in the process to do it, it probably won’t matter.

One was the American Bar Association. During Thursday’s testimony both Kavanaugh and Senator Lindsey Graham touted the ABA’s previous approval of Kavanaugh’s legal bona fides.

“If you lived a good life people will recognize it like the American Bar Association has—the gold standard,” Graham said. “His integrity is absolutely unquestioned.” Kavanaugh himself testified to his “unanimous well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association.”

Yet in a letter to the Judiciary Committee released Thursday evening, American Bar Association president Robert Carlson wrote:

The American Bar Association urges the United States Senate Judiciary Committee (and, as appropriate, the full Senate) to conduct a confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States only after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Joining the ABA in its about-face was the editorial staff at America, the Jesuit magazine which had previously offered a full-throated endorsement of Kavanaugh for his anti-abortion views.

“If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault,” the editors wrote in a lengthy op-ed published Thursday. “Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.”

While reiterating their support for Kavanaugh’s anti-abortion priorities, the editors continued:

For the good of the country and the future credibility of the Supreme Court in a world that is finally learning to take reports of harassment, assault and abuse seriously, it is time to find a nominee whose confirmation will not repudiate that lesson.

Kavanaugh himself frequently—and emphatically—cited during his testimony how his education at the Jesuit-based Georgetown Preparatory school played a foundational role in both his character and conduct.

Of course, it’s not like this will make any difference. Senate Republicans who were so happy to draw upon both the ABA and the patina of Georgetown Prep’s elite status have chosen to plow ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

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