The Partisan Conspiracy Theories Of Brett Kavanaugh

Does America really want a key member of the Supreme Court who is openly driven by partisanship, vengeance, and conspiracy theories?
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

When Judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to participate in a disturbing and undignified meltdown by the party in power, his antics were so unsettling that many almost forgot that he blamed his predicament on a conspiracy by the Clintons. He didn’t even bother to elaborate that it may be because he worked for Ken Starr’s office during their investigation into the Clinton family. It was meant to be understood by the right as an indisputable given, and it absolutely and instantly was.

His allies in the media jumped in to mine this territory and declare the activists who confronted Senator Jeff Flake with stories of their trauma agents of George Soros, a.k.a. the Evil Globalist Jewish Cabal. His supporters on social media are busy posting cartoons and supposed gotchas in screenshot form, alleging sinister machinations to derail a man who they say is so wholesome and pure that he only lacks a halo because he’s too humble to wear it out in public.

Aside from Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault of women while he was drunk, we must also dive into his immediate reliance on conspiracy theories at what amounted to a job interview. No matter what you might think about his character and past, this undoubtedly should disqualify him from the nation’s highest court.

He would not impartially interpret the Constitution. He openly announced that instead, he would be a conspiracy-minded, vengeful partisan operative. This is behavior that shouldn’t be allowed in traffic court, much less the venue where fundamental underpinnings of American law are dissected and decided to act as precedents in thousands, if not millions of cases. And yet, the GOP isn’t just allowing it; it encourages it because it’s nakedly favorable to them.

Even worse, as we’ve discussed previously, the GOP has plunged deep into the world of sordid conspiracy theories to explain the country changing with the times as sinister plots against them. To an extent, this makes sense. Low agreeability, disdain for compromise, and seeing those who are different as enemies rather than fellow citizens, coupled with a high degree of interest in politics and partisan tribalism are ideal ingredients for conspiratorial ideation.

Unable to undo the last 60 years and unwilling to accept that it can’t, the Republican party is busy dreaming up evil plots against them and electing politicians riding that fear to victory at the polls. So for Kavanaugh to be stopped before the court seat, he must have been told is being kept warm for him and immediately reach for a conspiracy is completely in character for a modern GOP partisan, and is nothing less than endearing to his supporters. “He gets it! He knows the truth about Soros/Clinton/Deep State!” they nod approvingly.

But to Americans who aren’t partisan diehards and don’t ascribe to the same conspiracies, this is extremely troublesome and further delegitimizes the federal government. One could argue that conservative jurists on the Supreme Court rule in a way consistent with their philosophy and could be persuaded to change their opinions with a strong enough argument. A decision or vote by Kavanaugh is guaranteed to be seen as made out of sheer spite because he openly declared it will be in front of millions of people watching him on live TV.

This is not an abstract concern. Kavanaugh’s view on executive power famously shifted as he transitioned from the Starr investigation to a judgeship under the Bush administration. Suddenly he started musing about how politically destabilizing it might be for a president to be indicted while in office and had even hinted at rejecting an important Supreme Court decision that could theoretically make obstruction of justice legal for the president.

Couple that with his explicitly partisan declarations and retaliatory threats against Democrats and you can see Justice Kavanaugh effectively declaring that Republican presidents, and only Republican presidents, are above the rule of law by upholding their right to withhold evidence from special prosecutors and denying Democratic presidents the same privilege. The same goes for his views on who can be indicted while in office.

Any attorney whose case was defeated by Kavanaugh’s vote, and the citizens who are with its logic, will always suspect that the vote came down not to the quality of the argument or judicial philosophy, but to the partisan affiliation of the attorney or his or her friends or relatives, or his suspicion that the Deep State/Clinton/Soros/Illuminati/Reptoids have something to gain from winning the case. While an opinion Kavanaugh authors is extremely unlikely to say “to own the libtards who I hate and will never, ever forgive,” this subtext will always be suspected.

And this will be felt especially acutely with conservatives who might agree with the defeated case as well. They might love when Kavanaugh votes the way they want out of partisan loyalty and personal grudges, but they’ll be a lot less happy when an argument with which they agree is defeated not on its merits but just because the attorney reminded him of one of the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee or whose child might work at a liberal think tank or interned with a liberal jurist. Senator Jeff Flake voiced a very similar concern in an interview at the 30 under 30 Summit.

Voting against Kavanaugh is not voting against a conservative jurist for the sake of it. It’s voting not to permanently stain the Supreme Court as nothing more than a spiteful partisan rubber stamp and keep Sean Hannity-style conspiracy theories away from key precedents. It would also draw a much-needed line in the sand against myopic politics in which the party in power does as it pleases, unable to think through a scenario where degenerating vital decisions about the future of the country into a childish tit-for-tat ever comes back to bite them. In short, a no vote would be a vote for nothing less than sanity.

Opinion // Brett Kavanaugh / Republican Party / Supreme Court