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The Trump Supreme Court
Last uploaded : Saturday 19th Sep 2020 at 10:59
Contributed by : Carol Gould


Justice Ginsburg is gone. We could face a reactionary court for a generation..

London - 29 September 2018

There are many elements contributing to the issues that relate to the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the highest court in the United States federal judiciary system.

Yesterday, 28 September 2018, Republican Senator Jeff Flake was confronted by angry women in the corridors of power and listened to them tell their stories of rape and assault. It was thought Flake, who has never been a favourite of President Trump (‘Let’s face it, he’s a Flake,’) would vote against the Kavanaugh nomination in Committee just as John McCain defied the GOP whip and was the deciding vote on the main floor of the Senate to keep Obamacare. Flake's willingness to vote ‘Aye’ to moving the nomination to the main Senate floor vote on condition of the FBI further investigating Dr Ford’s allegations was nevertheless a seminal moment in American political history. I can think of some countries where he would already be in a gulag or at the bottom of a river. In any event I hope he has eyes in the back of his head.

Likewise it is a tragic commentary on the state of American discourse that both Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are reported to have received death threats and a tsunami of vile messages. On Facebook I have been reading staggering condemnations of Dr Ford and of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from both male and female bloggers.

Many viewed Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony as unusually histrionic and sometimes ‘unhinged.’ Here in Britain, still the capital of understatement, ‘stiff upper lip’ and restraint, colleagues and friends were troubled by his ‘un-judge-like’ outbursts about the Democrats and the issues raised being motivated by supporters of the Clintons. For me, the FBI will, I hope, help clarify how Judge Kavanaugh has managed to produce a diary for 1982. Is it genuine? I am an inveterate hoarder, and maybe he is, too. I reserve judgment for the moment. I would like to know who paid for Dr Ford’s polygraph test. This remained a cloudy element in the hearings.

President Trump, who was a lifelong liberal and supporter of Democratic candidates, has in recent years moved to the Right and spearheaded the Birther movement that tried to establish the provenance of Barack Hussein Obama. In rallies across America before and after the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump has embraced conservative passions : the Second Amendment’s gun ownership rights, traditional family values and disapproval of the mainstream media.

The president has already been successful in appointing conservative-leaning Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and if he is successful in the Kavanaugh nomination landmark decisions - Roe vs. Wade and same-sex marriage - could be reversed. (I highly recommend ‘Reversing Roe,’ a new documentary I saw at BAFTA last week, which chronicles recent efforts by individual states to ban abortion.)

In recent weeks Britons have been asking me ‘Why should the Kavanaugh appointment matter to us?’ My view is that an estimated 1.5 million Britons live and work in the United States and if a British woman is raped and finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy she would have to go abroad for an abortion. Likewise gay couples might find themselves losing certain rights that had come into force after the Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage (Obergefell v Hodges 2015.)

Commentators have been saying that Judge Kavanaugh is not a reactionary and may surprise critics with liberal-leaning decisions. What worries liberal Republicans - Sens Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski - is that their female constituents - both Democrat and Republican - will not forgive them for voting to approve the court appointment of pro-gun, conservative Kavanaugh, who might vote to repeal Roe v Wade. In this context there is a distinct possibility the Senate will flip to Democrat in November. (It was the Anita Hill sexual abuse testimony in 1991 during the confirmation hearings of Judge Clarence Thomas that led to the election of two female senators in California, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats.) Liberal Republican Jeff Flake is not seeking re-election and on the Senate floor may also vote against the Kavanaugh nomination.

There is validity in the accusation that the Ford-Kavanaugh debacle is politically motivated. At its very worst, this is payback. Democrats have never forgiven Republicans for their protracted blocking, led by Sen Mitch McConnell, of President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 after the death of Associate Juctice Antonin Scalia. The rhetoric of that episode was ugly but I have contended that Obama lacked the spine and political mastery that Franklin Roosevelt possessed, forcing Republicans to see his nominee through the process and at the very least submitting his nomination to a Senate vote. Democrats will say ‘What goes around, comes around..’

Although it could be construed as far-fetched there is an element of anti-Semitism that creeps in here. Obama had already seen his nominee Elena Kagan appointed to the Supreme Court and Garland would have made it ‘four Jews on the bench.’ Indeed Lyndon Johnson fought like hell to get his favourite Justice, Jewish Abe Fortas, elevated to Chief Justice but the Republicans in turn fought like hell to block this. Fortas had been accused of financial impropriety by accepting a fee from a lecture bureau that had been funded by private companies on which he might have had to make court decisions, but I vividly recall my late mother weeping over his eventual dismissal from the Court altogether and lamenting what she saw as ‘old-fashioned white reactionary prejudice’ ruining his life.

On a lighter note - if there CAN be one in this grim episode in American history - Judge Kavanugh did acknowledge that he enjoys a beer or two, or three. President Trump is teetotal and is said to dislike displays of alcoholic excess and those who boast of ‘drinking my buddy under the table.’ This past week during his appearance at the United Nations the president showed chinks in his armour regarding the Kavanaugh nomination. He has in the past praised this man to the skies but I wonder if he admires his alcoholic prowess….

Watching the live Dr Christine Blasey Ford - Kavanaugh Committee hearing, in which this woman testified in front of nineteen male and two female senators and a female interrogator on behalf of Republican senators, I noted Chairman Grassley suggesting the victim was not happy about meeting her alleged attacker.

I would NEVER, ever want to be in the same room with the monster who indecently assaulted me in 1981. 37 years ago and whenever I pass that London corner it is as if it had happened yesterday.

I would NEVER, ever want to be in the same room with the 'household name' London West End theatre and television actor who in 1978 exposed himself and embarked on an indecent act before I literally escaped. 40 years ago and I can still remember the fear that consumed me and the fury of my father when I told him about it.

Regarding the Kavanaugh allegations, there was no CCTV in 1982 and in fact even today there is far less CCTV across the USA in comparison with its proliferation at every corner here in the UK. Likewise if the full US Senate rejects his nomination it will likely NOT be because of the sexual assault allegations but because of the aforesaid fear of electoral backlash from Senators’ constituents on many issues.

Men - I've loved and been loved by some wonderful ones in my long life but you're big and strong and at your very worst rape and are violent - I'm not a MeToo marcher but ask that Dr Ford's story be given credibility. On Friday 28 September President Trump told the media he thought she was a fine woman; with the added element of an FBI investigation it is hoped she not be discredited due to the passage of time. It never erases trauma.
I know.


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