With the latest skullduggery once again embroiling the Kavanaugh nomination in turmoil, it’s easy to become distracted from recognition that the events to date have now put the Senate itself at center stage as to whether it will act in its constitutional role as a defender of the bedrock values on which our nation was established as a representative democracy upholding the rule of law and individual liberty, or whether it has abandoned its own order and adherence to its own rules that enable the Senate to operate, by allowing its immense powers to be employed arbitrarily without accountability to destroy individual citizens heedless of the norms of civilized society.
What we have seen to date since Brett Kavanaugh was first nominated has been an accelerating series of violation of all Senate order and procedures designed to protect the rights of all, between the immediate rush to oppose, demands for unprecedented amounts of documents and undue delay, hearings that violated norms of decorum and an orderly hearing process.
These actions have fundamentally transformed the minority’s constitutional privilege to provide Advice and Consent into “Crucify, Crucify”.
And then we have the last minute unleashing of the accusations of Christine Ford that intentionally were withheld from committee and public examination in normal order – an act of bad faith that treacherously betrays all civic trust as well as a dereliction of duty as an officer of the Senate – and the debacle that has ensued since then that only intensifies to destruction of all restraint on political engagement and debate.
So now we see #MeToo transformed to #EtTu, with Lady Liberty now the bleeding victim on the Senate steps.
In light of all this, the Senate now faces a stark and fateful choice. It’s no longer an issue of the qualifications of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; rather it is an issue as to whether the United State Senate will reestablish its integrity as an institution, or abandon our civic compact in favor of a return to barbarism and unrestrained brute exercise of coercive raw power.
It’s the institution itself that is on trial – and for that reason, there must be a vote of the full Senate – with all the consequence that this vote will entail, as outlined above. The worst outcome would be for the Senate not to vote: this would be craven abdication and demonstration that the Senate is no longer capable of governing its own affairs when it comes to protecting our nation against “all enemies”.
The effects of this choice will echo throughout our entire land, and beyond, to a listening world.