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demmiblue's Journal
demmiblue's Journal
October 1, 2018

Kavanaugh in 2015: A Judge Must Keep "Emotions in Check" and Not Be a "Political Partisan"


In 2015, Kavanaugh gave a speech—entitled “The Judge as Umpire”—at Columbus Law School at Catholic University. It was during this event that he now-infamously said, “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.” But later in the speech, Kavanaugh explained the importance of judicial temperament. He described the attributes required for a “good judge”: to have the “proper demeanor,” to keep “our emotions in check,” to be “calm amidst the storm,” to “demonstrate civility.” And Kavanaugh added, “Don’t be a jerk.”

Here’s what he said.

To be a good judge and a good umpire, it’s important to have the proper demeanor. Really important, I think. To walk in the others’ shoes, whether it be the other litigants, the litigants in the case, the other judges. To understand them. To keep our emotions in check. To be calm amidst the storm. On the bench, to put it in the vernacular, don’t be a jerk. I think that’s important. To be a good umpire and a good judge, don’t be a jerk. In your opinions, to demonstrate civility. I think that’s important as well. To show, to help display, that you are trying to make the decision impartially and dispassionately based on the law and not based on your emotions. That we’re not the bigger than the game….There’s a danger of arrogance, as for umpires and referees, but also for judges. And I would say that danger grows the more time you’re on the bench. As one of my colleagues puts it, you become more like yourself—and that can be a problem.


Also in that 2015 speech, Kavanaugh made another key point: “First and most obviously,” a judge cannot be a “political partisan.” A jurist, he added, must “avoid any semblance of…partisanship.” At the hearing, Kavanaugh did not demonstrate the ability to put aside partisanship.


... you become more like yourself—and that can be a problem.
September 28, 2018

An opinion piece from The Collegian:

Elect Gretchen Whitmer: Michigan needs effective leadership

“The test of a civ­i­lization is the way it cares for its most vul­nerable.” These words, written by nov­elist Pearl Buck, provide the ultimate lense through which we should view pol­itics.

When eval­u­ating can­di­dates, the most important thing to look for is account­ability. In some coun­tries, politi­cians reflect the cit­i­zenry attitude; in the United States, however, our political system follows demands of the wealthy and polit­i­cally engaged class. This aris­tocracy con­trols vast amounts of capital and have much to gain through influ­encing elec­toral pol­itics, often at the expense of the most vul­nerable. While no Michigan guber­na­torial can­didate com­pletely reflects the public and their interests, Demo­c­ratic can­didate Gretchen Whitmer’s pro­posals offer more relief than Repub­lican Bill Schuette’s.

If Schuette and the Repub­licans suc­cess­fully defend right-to-work leg­is­lation, which bans certain union con­tracts, the woking class will con­tinue to become more vul­nerable. Wages among blue-collar workers will con­tinue to fall as union strength does.

Unions have played a large part in American pol­itics and the economy for over 100 years, and since their con­ception, estab­lishment politi­cians have made an effort to undermine or destroy them. Right-to-work laws?—?adopted by 27 states, including Michigan?—?are just the latest attempt. But by now, it’s over­whelm­ingly clear that right-to-work results in lower pay across the board.


Ha: "The Col­legian is Hillsdale College’s weekly student news­paper. The paper delivers local, campus, and national news that is written, pho­tographed, and videoed by Hillsdale stu­dents. The Col­legian is the oldest college news­paper in Michigan."

I'm sure Mr. Abbo ruffled quite a few feathers... this is Hillsdale, after all!
September 28, 2018

Jeff Flake Announces Retirement from Humanity

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an announcement that many saw coming, Senator Jeff Flake, of Arizona, announced on Friday that he would retire from humanity, effective immediately.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Flake said that the demands of being a human being had “taken their toll,” and that it was “time to move on.”

“Having empathy and compassion for other human beings has been a thoroughly draining experience,” he said. “I for one am ready for something new.”

Flake said that, before making his decision, he consulted with others who had retired from humanity years earlier, such as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Donald Trump.

“They all fully supported my decision,” he said. “It’s great to be one of them now.”

September 28, 2018

House Dem women protesting in the Senate Judiciary committee meeting today include...

House Dem women protesting in the Senate Judiciary committee meeting today include @RepJayapal, @RepBarbaraLee @RepJudyChu @JacksonLeeTX18, @janschakowsky, @NydiaVelazquez and many more. I also think I see @RepJerryNadler in the back?

September 28, 2018

LA Times: We asked experts in sexual trauma whether Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony was...

We asked experts in sexual trauma whether Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was consistent with the research findings and clinical observations they have made or encountered in their own work. Here’s what they told us:

Patricia Resick, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University: "She said she doesn’t remember where it took place. That rings true because until you know you are in danger, there is no reason to remember everyday details."

Tracey J. Shors, distinguished professor of behavioral & systems neuroscience at Rutgers University: "In our studies, we show that women with sexual violence experience often have many symptoms of anxiety and depression and trauma"

"But we do tend to remember stressful events. We do this because we need to use those memories to help us survive now and in the future. Memories are not there just for reminiscing — they are vital for our survival"

Sherry Hamby, director of the Life Paths Appalachian Research Center: "She gave one of the most credible accounts I have ever heard from a victim"

Kevin Swartout, associate professor of psychology at Georgia State University, on Brett Kavanaugh's testimony: "He demonstrated a great deal of hostility during the hearing, especially toward some of the female senators on the committee"

"The results of hundreds of studies to this point suggest that levels of hostility toward women, which includes a drive to exert power over women, are positively related with levels of sexual violence"

September 28, 2018

The Ford-Kavanaugh Hearings Will Be Remembered as a Grotesque Display of Patriarchal Resentment

There was, in Brett Kavanaugh’s Trumpian performance, not even a hint of the composure one would think a potential Supreme Court Justice would have carefully cultivated.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is almost certainly going to be appointed the next member of the Supreme Court of the United States. Whatever Christine Blasey Ford said in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and whatever Kavanaugh said in his, and however credible and convincing either one seemed, none of it was going to affect this virtual inevitability. The Republicans, if they stick together, have the necessary votes. A veneer of civility made it seem as if the senators were questioning Ford and Kavanaugh to get to the truth of whether Kavanaugh, as a drunk teen-ager, attended a party where he pinned Ford to a bed and sexually assaulted her, thirty-six years ago. But that’s not what the hearing was designed to explore. At the time of this writing, composed in the eighth hour of the grotesque historic activity happening in the Capitol Hill chamber, it should be as plain as day that what we witnessed was the patriarchy testing how far its politics of resentment can go. And there is no limit.

Dressed in a blue suit, taking the oath with nervous solemnity, Ford gave us a bristling sense of déjà vu. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” Ford had told the Washington Post when she first went public with her allegations. With the word “annihilation” she conjured the spectre of Anita Hill, who, in her testimony against Clarence Thomas, in 1991, was basically berated over an exhausting two-day period, and diagnosed, by the senators interrogating her, with “erotomania” and a case of man-eating professionalism. Ford’s experience—shaped by the optics of the #MeToo moment, by her whiteness and country-club roots—was different. The Republicans on the committee, likely coached by some consultant, did not overtly smear Ford. Some pretended, condescendingly, to extend her empathy. Senator Orrin Hatch, who once claimed that Hill had lifted parts of her harassment allegations against Thomas from “The Exorcist,” called Ford “pleasing,” an “attractive” witness. Instead of questioning her directly, the Republicans hired Rachel Mitchell, a female prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, to serve as their proxy. Mitchell’s fitful, sometimes aimless questioning did the ugly work of softening the Republican assault on Ford’s testimony. Ford, in any case, was phenomenal, a “witness and expert” in one, and it seemed, for a moment following her testimony, that the nation might be unable to deny her credibility.

Then Kavanaugh came in, like an eclipse. He made a show of being unprepared. Echoing Clarence Thomas, he claimed that he did not watch his accuser’s hearing. (Earlier, it was reported that he did.) “I wrote this last night,” he said, of his opening statement. “No one has seen this draft.” Alternating between weeping and yelling, he exemplified the conservative’s embrace of bluster and petulance as rhetorical tools. Going on about his harmless love of beer, spinning unbelievably chaste interpretations of what was, by all other accounts, his youthful habit of blatant debauchery, he was as Trumpian as Trump himself, louder than the loudest on Fox News. He evaded questions; he said that the allegations brought against him were “revenge” on behalf of the Clintons; he said, menacingly, that “what goes around comes around.” When Senator Amy Klobuchar calmly asked if he had ever gotten blackout drunk, he retorted, “Have you?” (He later apologized to her.)

There was, in this performance, not even a hint of the sagacity one expects from a potential Supreme Court Justice. More than presenting a convincing rebuttal to Ford’s extremely credible account, Kavanaugh—and Hatch, and Lindsey Graham—seemed to be exterminating, live, for an American audience, the faint notion that a massively successful white man could have his birthright questioned or his character held to the most basic type of scrutiny. In the course of Kavanaugh’s hearing, Mitchell basically disappeared. Republican senators apologized to the judge, incessantly, for what he had suffered. There was talk of his reputation being torpedoed and his life being destroyed. This is the nature of the conspiracy against white male power—the forces threatening it will always somehow be thwarted at the last minute.


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