The circus that the Senate’s hearings on Brett Ka- vanaugh have become demonstrates just how detached American politics have become from reality, human nature and the Constitution. That a Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation might turn on last-minute allegations involving teenagers addled by hormones and alcohol over three decades ago is lunacy.

President Trump did not nominate a 17-year-old minor to be a Supreme Court justice, but a 53-year-old jurist with outstanding credentials who has served 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and had a distinguished career in public service and private practice before that. If his appointment is to be confirmed or denied, it should be on the basis of his public and professional record and his behavior as an adult for the past 35 years.

If – if – this sordid behavior occurred just as his accuser alleges, then Judge Kavanaugh’s detractors can argue that the child is the father to the man, but, please, how many of us in midlife really think it fair to judge who we are today by how we behaved in our stupidest moments of adolescence?

Also, of course, if – if – this behavior did occur, then Judge Kavanaugh’s denial makes him a liar and arguably unfit for the high position to which he has been nominated. But haven’t a couple of presidents of recent memory, of both parties, including our current president, been more lecherous as adult men toward women and freer with the truth? Democrats were outraged at the Clinton impeachment hearings, which involved far more substantiated sexual predation, lying and abuse of power on the part of a sitting president. For them now to ride their high horse over Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged misdeeds as a teenager is rank hypocrisy.

Moreover, it is far from clear that these allegations are true. Christine Blasey Ford and her supporters in the Senate want the FBI to investigate the matter, as if this would lend credibility to her case. But the opposite is true. Don’t they know that there is no federal crime involved, that the statute of limitations would bar it if there were, and that the Senate has no authority to direct the FBI, an agency of the executive branch, to conduct such an investigation? Or are they playing on the ignorance of the public and exploiting the #MeToo movement to drag out the proceedings?

Only two things are clear about this ugly mess. First, absent better evidence (highly unlikely to turn up), we will never know what happened 36 years ago among judgment-impaired teenagers, and it is foolish to waste time trying to get to the bottom of it or base a confirmation vote on it.

Second, this is not really about what did or didn’t happen between Ms. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, but about how far desperate people will go to derail the political process and smear anyone who threatens to topple the idol they have made of Roe v. Wade. And that is because that decision teeters – and has always teetered – on shaky foundations.

The ability of women to obtain first-trimester abortions may be good public policy, or not, but let’s be clear: The right to an abortion is nowhere in the Constitution. Don’t take my word for it. Please, everyone, read the Constitution. Or read the decision. Justice Harry Blackmun, the author, couldn’t find it either, so he said it was in a “penumbra” of the Constitution. That’s legalese for “I’m kinda making this up.”

One doesn’t have to oppose abortion to be concerned when unelected judges make up law to suit their fancy, thus usurping the rights of the people of the several states to make laws for themselves concerning such a controversial and complex topic as abortion. Activists who fear that overturning Roe will end abortion in America do not trust the American people or the democratic process. And their fears may well be unfounded: Look at Ireland, which recently voted 66 percent to 34 percent to permit abortion.

We are supposed to have, in Lincoln’s famous words, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” But in Roe, the Supreme Court took the abortion question out of the hands of the American people and arrogated it to itself, thereby raising the stakes for Supreme Court appointments to the height of absurdity that we are now seeing played out in the Kavanaugh hearings.

 


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