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The real affirmative action in action


Scott’s post below about how apparently Lisa Blatt told Susan Collins that she didn’t believe Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh provides an occasion to memorialize what a wretched bit of hackwork Blatt — who regularly argues cases before the SCOTUS — performed in August of last year to help get Brett Kavanaugh over the finish line.

Let’s revisit it:

Sometimes a superstar is just a superstar. That is the case with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who had long been considered the most qualified nominee for the Supreme Court if Republicans secured the White House. The Senate should confirm him.

This seems like a really extravagant claim, that requires a whole bunch of evidence to begin to make it at all plausible.

I have argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court, more than any other woman. I worked in the Solicitor General’s Office for 13 years during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Because I am a liberal Democrat and feminist, I expect my friends on the left will criticize me for speaking up for Kavanaugh. But we all benefit from having smart, qualified and engaged judges on our highest court, regardless of the administration that nominates them.

I just love this on so many levels. Blatt announces — in fact boasts about — having an absolutely massive conflict of interest regarding this matter. You would think she would address that in some detail, or mention it, or at least make some sort of implicit gesture recognizing it. Nope! Instead, she uses the existence of that conflict of interest as evidence for the intellectual scrupulousness of her argument, when of course it’s evidence of exactly the opposite.

Points for chutzpah I guess.

Moving right along, after some pro forma throat-clearing about how terrible that thing that happened to Merrick Garland was, she insists that we stop arguing and bickering about who killed who, and focus on just what a fantastic candidate Brett Kavanaugh is On the Merits:

I first met Kavanaugh in 2009, shortly after I left the Solicitor General’s Office. He spontaneously emailed to say he liked an article I had written for The Green Bag, an irreverent legal magazine, about my experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court. I had just started my own appellate practice, and his note was extremely thoughtful.

Is this some sort of joke? Apparently not!

Months later, I asked Kavanaugh to join a panel at Georgetown Law School to review a film about college debate. He responded that he knew nothing about debate but nevertheless was happy to help. When a law student asked him how debate had shaped his career, he answered: “I actually never debated, but I did play football, and the two are basically the same.” He then offered this advice: “Practice, learn to get along with all of your teammates, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.” It was clear that judge cared about mentoring and teaching law students and was invested in helping others to succeed.

Try to imagine this being offered as evidence of the intellectual brilliance and personal character of somebody who isn’t a high status white male, and who therefore doesn’t benefit automatically from the presumption that his or her stratospheric position in the legal profession is a product of Objective Merit, as opposed to standard-slashing affirmative action.

It would come across as satire. As Bijan points out in the comments to Scott’s thread, Kavanaugh admits he doesn’t know anything about the subject Blatt has asked him to talk about, does no homework on it before casting his pearls before an audience which is apparently supposed to worship him because he’s a DC Circuit judge (this is the most important federal appellate court below the SCOTUS, and you can’t get on it without being a Real Superstar — just ask your local Tiger Mom!), makes a facially ridiculous analogy, and then offers advice almost everyone first got, practically verbatim, in kindergarten if not earlier.

This is Blatt’s evidence for Kavanaugh being some sort of jurisprudential paragon, as opposed to, say, a lazy pompous blowhard.

But there’s more:

Since then, I’ve kept in regular contact with the judge, mostly to talk about kids and work-life balance, including the challenges I’ve had as a woman trying to raise two children while practicing law. Kavanaugh is a great listener, and one of the warmest, friendliest and kindest individuals I know. And other than my former boss, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I know of no other judge who stands out for hiring female law clerks. My profession is overrun with men, and unless institutions like the Supreme Court do more to hire women, the upper echelons of my profession will never fully include women.

Yep, Brett Kavanaugh sure likes women, especially young, conventionally attractive women, a lot. A LOT.

That’s it! That’s literally the entire basis of her argument for her claim that Kavanaugh is the single most qualified person in the United States to sit on the SCOTUS.

Lisa Blatt should be mocked mercilessly for writing this, but of course she won’t be, because the same sort of people who pimp out their own daughters to the Brett Kavnaughs of the world also desperately want their kids to work for the appellate practice group at Williams & Connolly.

The meritocracy!

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