Temperament

By

Leonard Zwelling

Grouchy. That’s what my kids would say about my temperament. And they would probably be right. It’s kind of the way I am and that’s the point, because there are two aspects to temperament. The first is the one you show the world (which is not necessarily the one you show your kids). The other is the truth. Which of those did we get concerning the immediate nominee to the Supreme Court during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings?

In the initial phase of the job interview of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for this position, we got the sense of a family-oriented and deliberate man who, if he held strong opinions, was going to keep them to himself. He chose the path made famous by Ruth Bader Ginsberg during her hearings of not committing to any specific course of action or judicial opinion when questioned by the very partisan members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Fair enough, That’s kind of the way these things go now.

Then came Dr. Ford and the world spun.

She is accusing that paragon of noble privilege, Brett Kavanaugh, graduate of Georgetown Prep and Yale, of sexual assault when they were both in high school. Even if Kavanaugh was a foolish teenager back then and drank too much, as he has admitted he did, would the behavior of which he was being accused be disqualifying for a seat on the highest court in the land? That’s what the committee had to decide, if they even believed Dr. Ford as convincing as she was.

In an effort to convince the committee, that Dr. Ford’s allegations held no truth and no water, Judge Kavanaugh came out on Thursday afternoon, not having listened to the testimony of his accuser, and blasted the Senate Democrats as being partisan only and trying to avenge Donald Trump’s electoral victory of 2016. He even invoked the twin goblins of the GOP, “The Clintons.”

I don’t know whether or not Judge Kavanaugh committed the crimes (and there are at least three alleged victims now) of which he is being accused. I do know that anyone who at the age of 53 behaves as he did on Thursday afternoon does not have the emotional control or sobriety to sit on the Supreme Court, no matter what he may have done when he was seventeen. Frankly, I no longer care what he did beyond the effect his behavior had on his victims. The decision before the Senate and the nation is whether or not this man, now, is ready to determine the future of Roe v. Wade and a host of other critical issues in an even-tempered judicial fashion. I think the evidence on display on Thursday suggests that he is not.

Leave aside for a moment the multiple allegations of sexual crimes on the part of the Judge and his denial of same. What matters now is do we want someone with that temperament sitting in judgment over the critical issues of governance and society on which the Supreme Court has the last word? This was a test. She passed. He failed. I don’t care what the FBI finds. He’s just not suited to sit on the Supreme Court, probably isn’t fit to sit on the DC Court of Appeals and the House ought to consider his impeachment now. He’s not got the right stuff.

Many have said the Senate Committee hearings were not conclusive. I disagree. They were. She’s credible and so is he, but only he is seeking a job promotion and anyone who acts as he did shouldn’t get it. Period. Next case!

Leonard Zwelling