Harvard Law School professor responds to the Brett Kavanaugh catastrophe

Here’s a Facebook post from a friend with a tenured humanities professorship:

From my [Harvard] law prof friend Bruce Hay:

Stop despairing. When we take back control of Congress and the White House we can increase the number of judgeships at all levels of the federal judiciary, to offset the rump appointments of this Putin-puppet regime.

That sounds like a crazy idea now. It won’t in a year or two.

It’s the only way to restore some semblance of democracy to a country ruled by a corrupt oligarchy bent on using the courts to entrench itself.

Having already been defriended by a sufficient quantity of the virtuous this weekend, I decided not to respond with “Since you speak Russian, would you mind calling up Putin and finding out which judge he will select to be the next Supreme Court nominee?”

[What was the source of the weekend defriending? I noticed that a bunch of my proudly feminist (male) friends had singled out Senator Susan Collins as a “blowhard,” “traitor,” or “idiot.” The male senators who voted to confirm the convicted-by-Facebook rapist did not spark their ire. To these woke guys’ complaints regarding Senator Collins, I responded with “You are suggesting that she needs a man to tell her how to think and talk?”]

Separately, having grown up in the D.C. area, eventually it transpired that we had a family friend who had gone to Yale Law School and worked on the law review (Yale Law Journal) with Kavanaugh. Though a moderately virtuous Democrat, this person and Yale-grad spouse had nothing but praise for the reviled Kavanaugh and thought that he would do a great job as a Justice. They didn’t recognize the gang rape party organizer portrait of him that Julie Swetnick painted, for example.

I’m still kind of confused as to why Democrats are against the idea of a conservative federal government-limiting Supreme Court. Now that Democrats have mostly sorted themselves into Democrat-governed states, such as California and New York, why wouldn’t they be happy with a smaller role for the evil Trump-led Federal government? It would be a shame, perhaps, for the handful of virtuous Democrats remaining in Georgia or Texas, that the Great Father in Washington wouldn’t swoop in and save them from their Republican overlords. But residents of California would be able to enjoy Democrat-organized government programs to their hearts’ content.

What are ordinary folks (not law school professors) saying on Facebook? Here are a few from my feed:

… while this moral circus plunges American politics to new lows, climate change and global biodiversity loss during this critical moment continued to be thrust into the background. Honestly, at what point should there be a revolt? How bad do things need to get??

Maybe this is the final insult, after decades (centuries!) of injustice that wakes enough people up to the reality of how we are living? … maybe, finally enough people will begin to understand that the system is rigged, that injustice is built in, and that you have to take greedy, power hungry fossil fools at their word, and hence they need to be dethroned, not empowered! Down with Kavanaugh, down with Trump, down with every single senator who votes yes for this travesty, and let’s go elect ourselves a brand new congress next month!

We are doomed… I have lost all faith. More really bad stuff is on the way.

I checked the feeds of the ones who explicitly said that they were thinking globally. None of them had mentioned the recent tsunami that killed at least 1,600 people and rendered more than 70,000 homeless (see “In case you missed it: Catastrophic Indonesia earthquake, tsunami kill over 1,600”)

Related:

  • “The only thing standing between Trump and authoritarianism: the supreme court” (Guardian, February 2017), co-authored by Bruce Hay: “Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the US supreme court will deliver the final branch of government into Donald Trump’s grasp, and usher in an era of one-party rule. … If the Democrats in the Senate do not fight tooth and nail the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, they will betray millions of Americans who may be stripped of their equal rights for decades to come.”
  • “Why Democrats Should Oppose Neil Gorsuch” (nytimes, January 31, 2017): “The change is terribly damaging for the country’s political system. … they should associate him with a constitutionally damaging power grab. … The presumption should be that Gorsuch does not deserve confirmation, because the process that led to his nomination was illegitimate.”
  • “Democrats Go to War Over Neil Gorsuch” (Atlantic, March 30, 2017): “Several members of the Judiciary Committee took issue with his performance at his hearings last week, which they found evasive and condescending, if not overly controversial. And others have called for the vote to be put off until the investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia have been completed, warning that a president whose legitimacy might be tainted should not get a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.”
  • “Harvard Faculty Donate to Democrats by Wide Margin” (Crimson): “Each of Harvard’s schools leaned to the left in the contributions made by their affiliates, many by wide margins. Ninety-six percent of donations in the data set from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes Harvard College, supported Democratic efforts. That figure was even higher—nearly 98 percent—at Harvard Law School.”

18 Comments »

  1. presidentpicker

    October 7, 2018 @ 12:23 am

    1

    I think the Bolshevics should write a book, as soon as possible, about the Kav dethroning miscalculation. A good title might be… “What happened II”?

  2. TimB

    October 7, 2018 @ 12:39 am

    2

    Because it’s an article of faith for the Democrats to believe that Republicans are anti-women and itching to take Roe from them. They’ve trotted it out in every Presidential election and every Supreme Court appt. for 30 to 40 years. Ironically, I doubt even this brand new court will touch it – it’s probably settled law.

    One incredible side-effect of the Kavanaugh appointment process is how many law professors and students have completely abandoned the notion of due process, presumption of innocence, etc to make a political point. Of all people, they know better. And they know that no district attorney would have gone to trial on the evidence in the Ford case. But they will never say so.

  3. Grumpy Cat

    October 7, 2018 @ 1:06 am

    3

    Philip, you’re living proof of what happens when somebody who once appeared to be somewhat intelligent watches Facebook and Fox News all day long. How is any branch of the republican government “government-limiting”? Republicans believe in state rights only when it suits them. A national monument in a red state? No way. But offshore drilling, car efficiency, net neutrality, guns, abortion… on any issue, suddenly when California does its own thing the Republican overlords suddenly decide that the Fed makes the rules. Just proving that the whole “state rights” thing was BS all along.

  4. Tom

    October 7, 2018 @ 5:11 am

    4

    FDR style promise of court stuffing, another great day in politics.

    But wouldn’t it hurt the legal-heavy Dems more once they start the demolition of the justice system? Oh well, who cares. (Walks away whistling.)

  5. Federico

    October 7, 2018 @ 6:18 am

    5

    Anybody with a brain would see that Swetnick is as a reliable witness as my dog after a ham sandwich disappears and I am looking for the guilty party. As a general rule I love my dog but I would not consider her a reliable witness for anything, especially in the matter of food.

  6. zzazz

    October 7, 2018 @ 8:02 am

    6

    Anybody with a brain will see that rapists everywhere have been energized and emboldened. All you have to do to go scott free is perform the crime in private, or with a buddy–every republican in America will say she’s lying. If you are a woman, or if you have children and live near a Republican, or a country club, or a prep school–you should think long and hard about how to keep from being raped.

  7. philg

    October 7, 2018 @ 9:24 am

    7

    Grumpy Cat: Busted! I did watch Fox News at the KMVY FBO yesterday, but only long enough to show a new pilot that this is what FBOs generally have running, even in otherwise-virtuous Martha’s Vineyard.

    A conservative court does not limit the federal government? Let’s look at one case that is often in the news:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade#Dissents

    the dissents were not that the Feds had the power to impose different rules, but rather than the Feds did not have the power to set any rules regarding abortion. From White: “The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally disentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the woman, on the other hand.” and he saw “no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States.”

    Had Roe v. Wade been decided the other way, Californians could have any abortion-related laws that they wished (maybe abortion would be mandatory for any woman who was suspected of having voted for Donald Trump? Personality researchers say that personality is highly heritable and political beliefs are correlated with personality).

  8. anon

    October 7, 2018 @ 10:27 am

    8

    An interesting picture emerges from the comments (quoting very selectively, the NY Times style):
    – a Republican overlord cracks his whip and California stops doing its own thing;
    – anybody with a brain sees rapists everywhere;
    – imagine you have children and live near a Republican, or a country club, or a *perp* school;
    – rapists are energizing themselves in private or with a buddy after the confirmation (yuck!)

    Freud-worthy deeply intellectual PG-13 thoughts from our Democratic elites: now I am really proud to be a deplorable.

  9. Federico

    October 7, 2018 @ 10:32 am

    9

    @zzazz, if you peruse this blog you will see I have annoyed Phil for stating I find Dr. Blasey Ford credible, despite his objections. The fact that Dr. Blasey Ford is credible to me does not make Ms Swetnick credible to me too.

    Irrespective of the relative merits of what Dr Blasey Ford and Ms Swetnick said, anybody with a brain would not come to your hysterical conclusions.

  10. philg

    October 7, 2018 @ 10:39 am

    10

    Federico: Your belief in Dr. Ford does not annoy me. I find it fascinating that anyone would believe a person who says that she wasn’t able to be an airplane passenger for a visit to the Senate (and who was therefore considering a Cannonball Run car journey) and who yet had flown coast-to-coast at least twice a month earlier for personal/family reasons (and who was perhaps a United Premier 1K due to repeated vacation trips to Polynesia). And then this person actually DID fly to the Senate hearing even though the delay was sufficient for a cross-country AMTRAK or car trip. But it is the variation in human personality that makes the world interesting.

    [I’m not sure that these hearings that get the public riled up were the basis of the senators’ decisions. Since there are only 100 senators, wouldn’t many or most of them have an opportunity to meet with a Supreme Court nominee in person? They also can review a bunch of information that is not shared with the public, e.g., all of the documents related to the FBI investigations.]

  11. Joebob

    October 7, 2018 @ 11:38 am

    11

    People can be so sure that they way they see things is right and anyone who sees things a different way is either stupid or evil. I used to think this was a fault mainly of bible thumpers on the right but it’s on full display on the left these days. Anyone with a brain sees things the way I do!

  12. Jim

    October 7, 2018 @ 11:47 am

    12

    Hell, we should just stop the charade and elect supreme court justices just like we elect senators and congressmen. They should have term limits. Let’s face it the SCOTUS is just as political as any other branch of the government.

  13. Jack

    October 7, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

    13

    You’re right — this really is a disaster. With Kav on the Supreme Court, Sandra Fluke’s constitutional right to have other Americans pay for her contraceptives is in danger and soon without state funded contraception American women will have to return to using coat hangers and pneumatic drills to abort their annoying fetuses. Too bad The Lion of the Senate (Ted Kennedy) wasn’t around to lead the troops into battle and give Kav a good Borking!

  14. GermanL

    October 7, 2018 @ 4:34 pm

    14

    I gotta give Trump some credit. He is on MSNBC/FoxNews/CNN/NYTimes/etc like 24/7. It is really an obsession now. I don’t even think Saint Obama was given that much attention. How do Americans get through the day without hearing the word Trump once?

    Now I see it’s back to the tax returns again. What happened to the Russia probe btw? I guess we’ll hear a lot more in November…

  15. disevad

    October 8, 2018 @ 2:06 am

    15

    @GrumpyCat:
    PhilG is a Ph.D. from MIT, used to be a lisp hacker, was a successful entrepreneur, teaches flying …
    so calling him ‘who once appeared to be somewhat intelligent’ is kind of amusing.

    (Neways, I am not an American so don’t have any skin in this …).
    But might I recommend the movie ’12 Angry Men’, …. prosecuting someone based on such reasonable doubt is actually injustice no?

  16. John

    October 8, 2018 @ 2:22 am

    16

    Harvard law professor’s classes canceled amid sexual misconduct allegations

    https://babe.net/2018/10/02/bruce-hay-harvard-80495

  17. the other Donald

    October 8, 2018 @ 6:14 pm

    17

    Gosh it’s noisy up there in New England! All we have is a hurricane coming to the front door.

  18. GermanL

    October 8, 2018 @ 7:32 pm

    18

    @John , cool article. Best part:

    A commenter wrote: “He wanted students to play the part of the victim, accused, and their lawyers. So, he loudly shouted ‘who wants to get raped?’ After about a minute of him doing this, some girl finally raised her hand and volunteered to be the rape victim. He immediately shouted ‘Who raped you?’ and made her pick one of the male students in the class as the accused rapist.”

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