What can I even say about Brett Kavanaugh that hasn't already been said a thousand times in a thousand ways?
The allegations of sexual assault and attempted rape are getting all the attention, by no surprise, but there's another important thing that his supporters seem to be completely overlooking. The man displays an alarmingly Trump-esque aversion to telling the truth. On a wide range of subjects from whether he got legacy preference when applying to Yale, to what a Devil's Triangle is, to the legal drinking age when he was a high school senior, to whether he was involved in the nomination of another controversial judge, to the stolen documents he received while working as a White House lawyer years ago, his evidently favorite approach involves evading, misleading, and outright lying. It doesn't matter how irrelevant the topic is or how easily the facts can be confirmed, he'd apparently just rather not acknowledge reality.
As just one example, Kavanaugh repeatedly asserted that everyone else who Christine Blasey Ford noted as being at the gathering had refuted her claims. That simply isn't true. They all denied remembering the event or having knowledge of an assault. That's not the same thing at all. Leland Keyser even said in a brief interview that she believes Ford’s allegation, a far cry from denying that it happened. And it's hardly surprising that the others wouldn't remember anything. While Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge of course have a vested interest in admitting nothing, for anyone who wasn't in the room, it would have been just another unremarkable get-together, like countless others.
Despite this, Kavanaugh claimed, over and over, that they all said "it didn't happen". If he didn't know what was in their statements, that means he was making things up, which makes him a liar. If he doesn't understand the difference between "it didn't happen" and "I don't remember", that makes him incompetent. If he deliberately misrepresented their statements, that again makes him a liar. Aside from what that says about his character and whether we can trust literally anything else he claims he will or won't do, keep in mind that lying to Congress under oath is a felony in and of itself.
There's more than that, of course. There's the suspicion that he was hand-picked for his openness to expanding presidential power. There's the inadequately explained financial irregularities that hint at possible corruption. There's the matter of the vast amounts of records that were kept sealed until the last second and still aren't publicly available. There's his behavior during the hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, more befitting of a spoiled child than a justice and characterized by many of the same tactics as an abuser, in a case with allegations of abuse at its core. There's the way he quickly veered into paranoid conspiracy theory territory by calling efforts to properly vet him a "calculated and orchestrated political hit" and "revenge on behalf of the Clintons". Along with what could be interpreted as a threat to get payback, that seriously calls his impartiality and temperament into question, even without knowing anything else about him.
Worse, many of the people who position themselves as the standard-bearers of morality have been acting as though none of this matters in the slightest. People who contend that they take sexual assault seriously are demonstrating by their words and actions that they don't really care. A recent poll found that nearly half of white evangelicals support Kavanaugh even if he's guilty. Cries of "what boy hasn't done this?" retraumatize those who are already suffering even as they paint a bleak picture of what's considered normal and do as great a disservice to boys as to survivors of assault. Franklin Graham, speaking on behalf of the same purity culture that tells young people unmarried sex ruins them for life, blew the whole thing off as unimportant. (Graham also claimed "she said no and he respected that", which makes me wonder if he even bothered to find out what's being alleged. He covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream. He covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream. He covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream. He covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream. He covered her mouth so no one could hear her scream.)
In a way, though, they're right. At this point, whether the allegations are true isn't even relevant to whether Kavanaugh should sit on the court. It's not what he might have done decades ago that seals the case against him. It's not whether he showed poor judgment or drank excessively or had no respect for other people as a teenager. It's the way he has repeatedly and clearly demonstrated, by his own words and actions, here and now, that he cannot be trusted in any position of authority, much less the highest court in the country.
Unfortunately, the very things that most disqualify him may be what his core supporters most admire about him. He does what he wants and gets out of any meaningful consequences, almost as though it's his birthright. Perhaps it is, in a way. And that's the bigger problem.
I was in the process of writing this when I learned that Brett Kavanaugh has been officially confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. Fifty senators bore witness to his myriad failings and didn't care, perhaps even approved. Or perhaps they just couldn't bear to admit that his nomination was a mistake. It's disheartening, if not especially surprising. Power has triumphed over principles. Yet what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
The battle is over, some news reports say. I suspect that it's only just begun.