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Morning notes on the Kavanaugh fiasco


(1) The probability that Ed Whelan’s lunatic twitter storm, in which he flat-out libeled one of Brett Kavanaugh’s classmates as the Real Rapist, came together without the knowledge and participation of Kavanaugh himself, is close to zero.  It’s extremely unlikely, to say the least, that Whelan himself identified this one particular boy in Kavanaugh’s class that happened to look somewhat like him, and also just happened to live in the vicinity of where CBF recalls the attack taking place.

What’s unclear is if the whole thing was Kavanaugh’s idea in the first place, or whether somebody else came up with the general concept, and then asked Kavanaugh who specifically would make a good candidate for ritual defenestration via Twitter.

In any event, this is the sort of thing that should get a judge removed from the bench, and his law license revoked.

(2) A significant detail driving this entire process is that Anthony Kennedy has already resigned from the SCOTUS.  This was, in the abstract, a rather strange decision on his part.  Many SCOTUS justices have submitted resignations contingent on the confirmation of a successor.  Indeed this is the standard process when a justice isn’t in poor health or the like, since it allows the Court to function with its full membership without interruption.  (While the Court is out of session between July and September, occasional emergencies that require all the justices to vote can and do arise, not that anything like that is likely to happen with a Very Stable Genius at the government’s helm).

Kennedy’s decision to resign effectively immediately is most easily explained as a strategic maneuver, intended to increase the pressure on the Senate to confirm his protege before the beginning of the October term.  And the significance of that sort of pressure is all the more obvious under current circumstances.  If Kennedy were still on the Court, the argument for not rushing through the confirmation process because evidence had arisen that the nominee had been kind of rapey back in the day would be even more compelling.

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