No one — not the Senate Judiciary Committee, not the FBI, not powerful media organizations such as the New York Times, NBC News, or the New Yorker — was able to find any corroboration for the last-minute sexual misconduct allegations against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That conclusion returns us to the central issue at the heart of this nomination: What kind of justice will Kavanaugh be?
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was generous in her Oct. 5 speech when she said that the allegations against Kavanaugh did not meet even the “more likely than not” standard. If the FBI had conducted the identical investigation and turned up a whisper of support for the allegations against Kavanaugh, his opponents would have hailed it as the most independent, exhaustive and conclusive investigation in the history of investigations. But if the FBI had taken six months, interviewed 100 people and still found no support for those allegations, Democrats would still brand it a cover-up.
Unlike the allegations of sexual misconduct, a mountain of evidence exists to answer this question. This includes 10,000 pages of his U.S. Court of Appeals opinions; 17,000 pages of his articles and speeches; 484,000 pages related to his service in the executive branch; 65 one-on-one meetings with senators; 32 hours of testimony before the Judiciary Committee; and the unanimous “well qualified” rating of the American Bar Association.
Democrats once said that the ABA’s rating is the “gold standard” for evaluating judicial nominees. The ABA said that Kavanaugh meets “the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament” and merits the ABA’s “strongest affirmative endorsement.” By the way, despite recent pressure to change its rating, the ABA said in a letter dated Oct. 5, “Our original rating stands.” Democrats today ignore for Kavanaugh what they said was so important for their party’s nominees.
In 2009, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said “everybody knows” that a nominee’s “record on the bench” is “the best way to evaluate a nominee.” Another committee Democrat said the same, that “rather than pulling lines out of speeches … the better way is to examine your record as a judge.” The advice of then-Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) applies today: We “do not have to speculate about what kind of a justice [he] will be because we have seen what kind of a judge [he] has been.”
That was then, this is now. Democrats spent more time talking about groundless claims regarding Kavanaugh’s behavior in high school than about his nearly 700 opinions that he wrote or joined during a dozen years on the federal appeals court.
To be fair, none of the information about Kavanaugh’s legal record or qualifications was really relevant to most Democrats, who announced their opposition before the confirmation process even started. Needless to say, it was a little weird to hear Democrats complain that they did not have enough information when the information they did have was not only voluminous, but irrelevant to their decision.
Yet that material is relevant. In fact, it tells the real story about why Justice Kavanaugh belongs on the Supreme Court. He will be an impartial, rather than a political, justice. He believes that the law, not his personal views or priorities, should decide the cases that come before him. Justice Kavanaugh is committed to the defined, modest role for the judiciary that America’s founders made part of their design for our system of government.
The liberty we cherish in America occurs by design, not by accident. That design requires judges who follow the law rather than try to control it. Because Kavanaugh is that kind of judge, his appointment will strengthen liberty itself.
Kavanaugh’s opponents fought his appointment for the same reason his supporters promoted it. His opponents want a political judiciary in which judges decide cases with an eye toward furthering a political agenda. They want judges who rely on, rather than ignore, their personal politics. Such a political judiciary undermines, rather than supports, our liberty.
The kind of judge America needs is the central issue in any judicial appointment, especially to the Supreme Court. The evidence is in, and Justice Kavanaugh is right where America needs him to be.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill on 10/7/18