Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Hearings Muddied by the Cloud of Politics

The Catholic social justice group, Network, should be ashamed of the role it tried to play to negate the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

By the questions it posed to the members of a senate panel charged with whether or not to recommend the confirmation of Kavanaugh as a Justice of the Supreme Court, Network showed its own bias as well as a lack of understanding of the proper roles of the different branches of government.

The concerns of the signers focus on what they say is Judge Kavanagh’s past record on health care, immigration, labor rights, voting rights, and the death penalty. The letter tells senators to examine Kavanaugh’s “concern for the common good.”

Concern for the common good? The guy serves meals to the homeless in a Catholic Charities’ program in Washington D.C! He tutors students at Jesuit Academy in the nation’s capital! He coaches his daughter’s CYO basketball team in Most Blessed Sacrament parish in D.C.! To say nothing of the common good that he has served as a member of the judiciary!

The letter from Network contained the signatures of 1,500 Catholic priests, nuns and lay leaders questioning the judge’s commitment to social justice. Let’s hope that none of those religious leaders are teaching Social Studies. Their basic question belies a misunderstanding of the role of the judiciary. Judges do not make the laws, at least they are not supposed to. Their role is to interpret the law. If a law works against the welfare of society, it is not the judge’s job to change it, but to decide whether or not it is consistent with the U.S. Constitution. If Network folks want more just laws that appeal to a certain moral point of view, they need to work with lawmakers and not try to undermine the work of judges. Legislators can update the ideals of the Constitution according to contemporary standards. Judges should only interpret whether the legislators have done so according to the process established by the Constitution.

By getting involved in a debate over who should sit on the bench, these religious leaders are entwining themselves in a political debate and getting themselves mixed up in partisan politics.

Politics are bad enough, but to have weighed in on this particular nominee to the Supreme Court, these religious leaders are aligning themselves with a crowd that has shown complete disrespect for the rule of order and the political process over the course of these Senate hearings. These sessions dealing with Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Court have been nothing more than a sideshow that have highlighted everything that the American people voted against in the last presidential election. People want less rancor and more honest debate. They want less phoniness and more genuine concern. They want less talk and more action.

Network leaders ask where Kavanaugh stands on this or that issue. That’s completely irrelevant! A judge should only be protecting the integrity of the Constitution and making sure that the executive and legislative branches operate within the context of America’s fundamental document.

The hearings about Judge Kavanaugh have been muddied by the cloud of politics. Impartial observers would say that Judge Kavanaugh is more than qualified to sit on the Court. After examining his qualifications, no one should have any further questions about his personal integrity and whether or not he will act on behalf of the common good.

Read more about the Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh click here.

4 thoughts on “Hearings Muddied by the Cloud of Politics

  1. Unfortunately Mr Wilkinson you are ignoring his record on the bench and his long political record. Mr Kavanaugh may be a good christian in his personal life but his record in the judiciary and political sector have proven to be very un-christian, particularly in the area of social justice. You need to think of all the issues and get over the single minded focus on abortion. Also while you’re at it consider the fact that Kavanaugh is now the second nominee that the republicans have tried to steamroll through the approval process. There has been no real advise and consent process, the process has been perverted for purely political purposes. I suggest that you read Pope Francis’ writings and give thoughtful consideration to the state of the world and the nation and the negative impact the current administration and congress is having.

    1. No, the judge does not make the law, but the recent rulings on “consistency with the constitution” have certainly come to look like attempts to rewrite the law as evidenced by such rulings as Citizens United and Janus. You say: ” A judge should only be protecting the integrity of the Constitution and making sure that the executive and legislative branches operate within the context of America’s fundamental document.” I haven’t seen that happening too often on the modern court. You say Kavanaugh’s qualifications should leave no doubt about his integrity, but you don’t mention a single qualification. The sideshow you say the American people voted against in the last presidential election is nothing more than the continuation of the sideshow started during the 114th Congress with the Senate under the leadership of its current leader Mitch McConnell. If you recall, in that Congress McConnell saw fit to throw out the rule book and not even conduct hearings on the nomination of a replacement for the deceased Justice Scalia. And in case you didn’t realize it, the American people voted against the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. by a margin of nearly three million votes. You see it was a judiciary bought by the monied interests of the far right that enabled legislative branches to gerrymander and rig the electoral maps, to deny voting rights to voters who it was thought would vote against their interests, to enact laws that continue to enrich the one percent while they more deeply impoverish the working man and destroy the environment. So when you consider recent judiciary action knowing where Kavanaugh or any nominee stands on issues is not completely irrelevant but acutely relevant.