The term “rule of law” is difficult to define, so says the American Bar Association. Google defines it as the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws. Or in the case of confirming a supreme court nominee, sticking to the rules put in place to provide a functioning system of confirmation.
It’s really easy to claim that because the president nominated a justice and the supreme court confirmed him, that Kavanaugh was rightly confirmed under rule of law. I’m sure it’s also claimed to be generous under the rule of law to allow Dr. Ford to testify — but here we are with a third of our Supreme Court Justices having lingering allegations against them and a repeat of Anita Hill’s case, something Joe Biden still regrets.
I also really don’t want to hear about “innocent until proven guilty,” because this isn’t a criminal trial so the concept becomes irrelevant and that thought process already allows numerous men to get off free from similar charges.
In this case, there was a lot overlooked that would definitely bring in to question the legitimacy of said “rule of law.” Firstly, the FBI ignored witnesses that claimed to have information on Kavanaugh. The probe went underway, but agents were not permitted to talk to dozens of alleged witnesses; regardless, Mitch McConnell still announced that the probe was finished and allowed the confirmation to continue.
Furthermore, a drastic double standard occurred during the Senate questioning processes. There were numerous instances of Brett Kavanaugh avoiding or not clearly answering questions while Dr. Ford answered every single one. The former’s disregard for the process was ignored while the latter’s was investigated for an extra week, still bringing no change with it.
Let’s not forget Senator Lindsay Graham’s role in the matter. During Obama’s administration, a Supreme Court vacancy arrived and Graham consistently blocked attempts to confirm nominees. He did this seemingly out of spite, fighting to wait until after the next election, while there is no constitutional argument for such a move.
While in this process, Graham, along with Kavanaugh, who as a nominee isn’t supposed to be politically biased, openly called out liberal groups and media for attacking his character, in a resistance to wait until after the midterm elections for the sake of investigation and change of representation.
The Kavanaugh controversy highlights a corrupted core within the court. It has been politically split for years and only getting substantially worse. The Supreme Court will only lose more and more legitimacy and we’ll have to deal with this type of drama with every nomination of this current system is considered correct and good.
Perhaps it is time to dismantle it and restart somewhere, or double its size and pack it to minimize its influence overall and eliminate its role as a political tool for the other two branches. Indeed the constitutional protocol was followed, but the legitimacy of the process under rule of law leaves much to be desired.
By: Sam Jones, Junior Political Science major