Why Not The Best?

By

Leonard Zwelling

I really do not understand. Why are we in America settling for mediocrity? This is the United States. We are supposed to be pursuing the best. Yet here we are after weeks of debate and rancor over the latest Supreme Court nomination and now confirmation having installed in the most critical of seats someone who only garnered the barest minimum of support for his approval by the U. S. Senate. What went wrong?

It’s not just the candidate.

First, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. He ran on the idea that he would appoint conservative justices. He’s not going to name the next Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court. All you liberals out there get over yourselves. Elections have consequences. This is one of them. But given that, why did Judge Kavanaugh have to be his choice? There must have been some conservative justice who wouldn’t be accused of sexual assault or excessive drinking, let alone lying to Congress, who the president could have named.

Second, I think it’s fair to say that no one knew about the alleged history of youthful indiscretion that dogged the nominee. Oh, wait a second. A few people knew. One of those people was Diane Feinstein the ranking member of the very Judiciary Committee charged with vetting the nominee. Why did she wait until the eleventh hour to make her concerns known? Did she or was it a leak? No matter, had she done the right thing and notified the FBI of the accusations when she learned of them, the agency could have looked into them without the whole mess turning into a very public partisan food fight.

Third, it is the candidate. He’s not temperamentally inclined to be a sober judge given his performance on the Thursday of his hearing and testimony after Dr. Ford’s. That’s the best we can do? Surely that can’t be so.

In the past weeks, we have seen the MacArthur Awards given (the so-called “genius awards”) and the Nobel Prize winners named. Lots of Americans are officially excellent. Admittedly the behavior in Sweden has been sub-optimal so the Literature Nobel Prize could not be awarded due to the turmoil in the Swedish Academy. The #MeToo movement invaded that body as well. So no Nobel in Literature this year. Tune in next year. It’s a definite maybe.

Getting back to the fruited plain, I simply cannot believe that Brett Kavanaugh, any more than Clarence Thomas, was the best man (or woman?) for the job. Why was he such a poor choice that he only squeaked by by two votes?

Mr. Trump did the country a disservice by not withdrawing his name as soon as Dr. Ford was so clearly a credible witness. Now fully one-third of the male justices on the U. S. Supreme Court have been accused of sexual misconduct. How sobering!

When the fish you catch doesn’t make the cut on size, throw it back. Brett Kavanaugh is not an example of the best America has to offer. The vote for the swing seat on the Supreme Court ought to have been 100 to nothing. The choice should have been a consensus one of excellence in every way. It wasn’t. We are stuck with someone less than the best—in our new Justice of the Supreme Court and in our chief executive. Unfortunately, the latter would have been the case no matter who had won the presidency in November of 2016.

Leonard Zwelling