September 5, 2018

Kavanaugh’s Senate Hearing Begins

Chaos engulfed the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, as Democrats on Tuesday complained bitterly about Republicans withholding documents about the nominee’s past White House service and shouting protesters were arrested in droves." Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is condemning the lack of transparency, and has many concerns about Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“The last-minute release of the 42,000 pages of documentsappeared to be an attempt to counter criticism of the secrecy that has surrounded this nomination. But, as Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has noted, the release of some but not all of the needed documents on the eve of the confirmation hearing only ‘underscores just how absurd this process is.’”

The Nation

Dated but relevant: “If it were the American Civil Liberties Union that put together a list for Hillary Clinton, you could bet the Republicans would demand every scrap of paper and demand its officials appear for testimony under oath. Republicans are making this much harder than it needs to be. Get the documents, put them out and take the vote."

Washington Post

On the issues:

“Republicans are on the brink of achieving their long sought-after goal of abolishing the constitutional right to abortion access.” Slate

“As an appeals court judge, he relentlessly pressed forward a Republican agenda favoring business and religious interests.” New York Times

“Kavanaugh's assertion that categories of guns are equivalent to categories of speech may be the surest mark of gun culture's influence. Break the claim down to essentials, and bullets equal words.” Bloomberg

“Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court raises troubling concerns about our right to be free of unwarranted government oversight in an age of expanding capacity to engage in surveillance without our knowledge.” The Hill

Finally, many are noting that “never before has a president made a Supreme Court nomination with so many matters of deep personal importance to that president poised to come before the court... [If the Senate] pushes forward with the nomination under these circumstances, it will exacerbate the dangers for our democracy already posed by Trump’s attacks on the rule of law and on those charged with neutrally implementing it.”

Politico

The political calendar and Trump's approach could give grounds for optimism. Kim, who has presided over a limited form of economic development inside North Korea, is under pressure to deliver improvements in the lives of his people… So he has an incentive to try to seek economic benefits or aid from the United States and wants punishing economic sanctions lifted — a potential opening for US negotiators… Kim must realize that his chances of basking in this kind of legitimacy with a US President other than Trump are slim. So if he fears Trump could lose in 2020, he may reason the time may be ripe for a deal. And Trump wants nothing more than a big diplomatic breakthrough months before the election.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right supports Kavanaugh’s confirmation and dismisses Democratic objections as delaying tactics rather than good faith efforts to evaluate Kavanaugh’s qualifications.

From the Right

The right supports Kavanaugh’s confirmation and dismisses Democratic objections as delaying tactics rather than good faith efforts to evaluate Kavanaugh’s qualifications.

“Expectations were low for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, and Senate Democrats on Tuesday wasted no time meeting them... Democrats portray Mr. Kavanaugh as some Trumpian legal gargoyle, but he’s the epitome of a mainstream legal conservative that any GOP President would have had on his short list."

Wall Street Journal

“The Supreme Court has adopted Kavanaugh’s reasoning more than a dozen times. This gives him one of the most impressive records of any federal appellate judge and hardly places him outside of the ‘mainstream.’"

Billings Gazette

Regarding the documents, “the Senate did not demand that the Obama administration provide the tens of thousands of pages from Elena Kagan’s tenure as Solicitor General. And the Obama administration would surely have invoked executive privilege in rejecting such a request. Never mind that Kagan, in stark contrast to Kavanaugh, had zero judicial experience and that her SG records would have been the materials most probative of her legal thinking."

National Review

Furthermore, “[Sen. Kamala] Harris has already said she won't vote for Kavanaugh. Those last remaining documents won't change her mind, or any of the others [who have] promised to vote no."

Investor’s Business Daily

A number of Democrats refused to take a meeting with Kavanaugh during his visits to Capitol Hill in recent weeks. If Kavanaugh’s record is ‘immensely troubling,’ why not meet to confront him on it?... It couldn’t be clearer. Senators like [Cory] Booker and Harris aren’t interested in vetting Supreme Court nominees, they’re interested in running in 2020 against Trump."

The Hill

“Democrats are engaged in nothing more than a desperate effort to delay a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh until next year, when they hope to control the Senate by winning a majority in the November midterm elections. Their stalling tactics have nothing to do with Kavanaugh’s qualifications – they have everything to do with the anti-Trump resistance and turning out the Democratic base to vote in November."

Fox News

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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