Timing of Kavanaugh hearing suggests bar has been lowered

One of our nation’s most famous job interviews may have set a new low last week.
A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh aired what has become a polarized debate on several fronts, turning what was already a pivotal process regarding the highest court in the land into an all-out political war.
Did Brett Kavanaugh sexually assault Dr. Christine Blasey Ford while both were in high school more than 35 years ago? Sadly, we may never know the absolute truth on that question. Both came off as credible witnesses, claiming with 100 percent certainty that their version was the truth. Ford’s life has clearly been impacted by a traumatizing sexual assault, though to date her statement that the perpetrator was in fact Brett Kavanaugh remains uncorroborated.
What we do know is that advocates for both of these individuals came away from the hearing believing what they were already inclined to believe. The gut-wrenching, emotional day of testimony was historic in many ways, though ultimately comes down to a he said/she said matter.
It was disappointing, though not shocking in this day and age, to see a Supreme Court nomination imploded by such blatant partisan politics. Many of the “questions” posed by United States senators were not questions at all, but rather political speeches aimed in some cases at stumping for the pending November elections. That was inexcusable, especially considering the exposed vulnerability of the two witnesses.
The timing of this war of words also reflects an ugly, ongoing political tit for tat. Democrats have not forgotten that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee never even received a hearing since Republicans said it was too close to a presidential election. Thus, Kavanaugh’s nomination in a mid-term election year was sure to be fair game for payback.
So where does that leave us going forward?
America deserves to have the best and brightest judicial minds serving on the Supreme Court, yet potential candidates watching this process from afar have to wonder if it’s worth walking into the political line of fire to even be considered for a life of such revered public service.
In that sense, the bar has been permanently lowered.
Kurt Johnson

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