Opinion | Susan Knopf: Kavanaugh not fit for the court

It makes me sad, and disheartened, that it takes an assault accusation from high school to get our senators’ attention. Couldn’t we simply have gone with Brett Kavanaugh’s judicial record? We’re talking about a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Why aren’t we more interested in the kind of court judgments he makes? Everybody talks about his reputation. But let’s be real; it’s never been that good. He’s just another one of those educated, privileged white guys, who mixed with the “right” people, so he gets a pass on stuff that would get the rest of us in trouble.

Do you think employers would be keenly interested in you, if you had personal debt (in addition to your mortgage) of $60,000 – $200,000? And yet Kavanaugh disclosed he had that much debt on disclosure statements in 2006, and 2016. Kavanaugh said the debts were incurred buying baseball tickets and paying for repairs and improvements to his house. Wave a magic wand. Those debts magically disappeared. According to multiple sources, his bank balance, insufficient to pay those debts, didn’t change substantially, and he didn’t make enough money to cover it. Kavanaugh said he received gifts from family. Judge applicants aren’t required to disclose family gifts. And no Senator asked much about it.

As for the baseball tickets … He says he has a pool of friends. He buys the tickets, and they all pay him cash, ticket value and no more. Just seems weird. The guy who is not the money guy, buys the tickets for everyone and fronts the money. I mean that’s not how folks I know roll.

But these aren’t the real issues. The real issue is his court decisions put people last.

The one that keeps me up at night is SeaWorld. That’s the case in which the worker was killed. Kavanaugh wrote:

“When should we as a society paternalistically decide that the participants in these sports and entertainment activities must be protected from themselves — that the risk of significant physical injury is simply too great even for eager and willing participants?”

It’s not that the risk is too great. It’s if the worst possible thing happens, someone dies, then proper financial compensation must be awarded depending on findings of negligence. A lot of us work jobs that could result in death. If the worst happens, Kavanaugh does not have your back. He was the lone dissenter in this case. As he often is.

Former Occupational Safety and Health Administration Assistant Secretary David Michaels said, “In his dissent in the SeaWorld decision, Judge Kavanaugh made the perverse and erroneous assertion that the law allows SeaWorld trainers to willingly accept the risk of violent death as part of their job. He clearly has little regard for workers who face deadly hazards at the workplace.”

Kavanaugh has little regard for workers who put their lives on the line everyday: police, firefighters, utility workers, miners and ski industry workers.

Just this past year he was overruled when he tried to delay an incarcerated 17-year-old immigrant from obtaining a timely legal abortion. The case is known as Garza v. Hargan. “This case exemplifies why Kavanaugh is not the best available Supreme Court prospect,” Philip Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group wrote in a memo to conservative leaders this summer, according to The Jauregui memo called Kavanaugh “certainly not the worst judge,” but said his opinion dissenting from the court’s ultimate decision to permit the abortion was not “as constitutionally principled” as another conservative judge who considered the issue.

Rochelle Garza represented the plaintiff, Jane Doe. In Business Insider, Garza said, “Constitutional law isn’t just this thing in the clouds above everything else, it actually has a direct affect on people.”

Lone dissenter. Not a mainstream judicial thinker. Too extreme. Do you really want a Supreme Court judge who is regarded as “not the worst judge?” We want the best judge!

The obvious irony is, it’s not about the law. It’s about political power. Brett Kavanaugh could not control his moral indignation when he went after Bill Clinton. He was a leading prosecutor in the Kenneth Starr investigation which turned up nothing but a president lying about his dalliances. According to John Harris’ column on Politico this week, Kavanaugh wrote to colleagues in an email, “It is our job to make his (Clinton’s) pattern of revolting behavior clear —piece by painful piece.”

Well, what goes around comes around. And it looks like we are all going to be looking at Kavanaugh’s bad boy behavior while he was at Georgetown Prep, “piece by painful piece.” We will be treated to front row seats to one of the ugliest, most painful memories a young girl would prefer not to share. Christine Blasey Ford is no longer that young girl. But the memories have haunted her, and were recounted to her husband and her therapist long before now.

Today Ford is a psychology professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University, training graduate students. She told the Washington Post, “civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.” To stop this misguided Supreme Court nomination, Ford will recount Kavanaugh assaulting her when they were both in high school.

Ford told the Washington Post she was able to escape the assault, when voyeur and Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge leapt into action on top of Kavanaugh, who was pinning her down and attempting to undress then 17-year-old Christine. Ford says at that point, all tumbled off the bed and she bolted. Interestingly Judge denies any memory of the incident; and yet he often writes about his drunken debauchery in high school and even includes a tale of a Bart O’Kavanaugh, according to the Washington Post.

This is where you make a difference. Call Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) (202) 224-5941 and let him know your thoughts! Say Kavanaugh has got to go! Tell him you want a Supreme Court Judge who will uphold mainstream judicial thought, not far right extremism. And the Supreme Court bench should be held to a standard at least as high as CBS!

Susan Knopf is a Summit resident. She has won awards from the AP and United Press International for her news reporting.

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