Bottom line: Is the allegation itself grounds for denying a seat on the court?

What if?

What if Judge Brett Kavanaugh were to sit down in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday and say he has searched his memory and now recalls groping a young woman at a party when he was 17 but she resisted and ran off? What if he were to apologize and say it was a rare indiscretion that he truly regrets?

Would that be grounds for disqualifying him from serving as a Supreme Court justice?

Never mind the shameful lateness of the allegation. Never mind the politics of the accuser or the accuracy or plausibility of her accusation.

Brett Kavanaugh

The question can be boiled down to: Should allegations of boorish behavior by a teenager forever doom the now mature adult with an impeccable reputation and outstanding character from any advancement in his career?

Townhall columnist Dennis Prager offers an apropos analogy:

Every one of us has a moral bank account. Our good deeds are deposits, and our bad deeds are withdrawals. We therefore assess a person the same way we assess our bank account. If our good actions outweigh our bad actions, we are morally in the black; if our bad actions greatly outweigh our good actions, we are morally in the red.

By all accounts — literally all — Brett Kavanaugh’s moral bank account is way in the black. He has led a life of decency, integrity, commitment to family and commitment to community few Americans can match. On these grounds alone, the charges against him as a teenager should be ignored.

How many presidents, members of Congress, businessmen can be so weighed and not found wanting?

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” — John 8:7

 

Editorial: End racial discrimination in all iterations

Let’s face it. Racial discrimination is racial discrimination. Calling it affirmative action is just swinging the pendulum the other way.

The Department of Justice recently joined a group of Asian-American students in their lawsuit against Harvard University that claims the school’s use of a subjective “personal rating” in determining admissions discriminates against Asian-Americans.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “No American should be denied admission to school because of their race.”

Harvard officials put out a statement this past week saying they are “deeply disappointed” in Justice’s action, but concluded it was to be expected “given the highly irregular investigation the DOJ has engaged in thus far.” A Justice official said the investigation is still ongoing and might result in a separate lawsuit or other action.

The personal rating is supposed to be based on character and personalty traits, but the lawsuit claims an analysis of data found Asian-Americans had the highest academic and extracurricular ratings of any racial group, but the lowest score on the personal rating.

The Supreme Court upheld affirmative action policies in 2016 in a case out of the University of Texas at Austin. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement earlier this year, wrote the opinion, which said “considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, once described a government program pushing diversity as a “naked racial-spoils system,” and he predicted in a newspaper column that the Supreme Court eventually would rule that “in the eyes of government, we are just one race.”

Earlier this year Trump’s Justice Department rescinded an Obama-era policy that encourages colleges and universities to promote diversity by considering racial quotas.

In his “Dream” speech Martin Luther King, Jr., did say, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Racial discrimination is abhorrent in all its iterations.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Editorial: Senate should quickly confirm Kavanaugh

Trump nominates Kavanaugh to Supreme Court. (Reuters pix)

When it comes to Nevada politics, principles be damned, it is all about partisanship, no matter the topic.

President Trump’s nomination of federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court is still another case in point.

The Senate must now exercise its constitutional advise and consent role to confirm the nomination — by simple majority now, thanks to Nevada’s now retired Sen. Harry Reid, who nuked the filibuster for judicial appointments.

Nevada’s senior Republican Sen. Dean Heller promptly put out a statement saying, “Judge Kavanaugh has a record of adherence to the Constitution and has demonstrated a commitment to interpreting the law — not making it. I expect the U.S. Senate to conduct a fair, thorough confirmation process, and I look forward to meeting with the nominee.”

Nevada’s junior Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — unlike other Nevada Democratic politicians — did not leap to judgment but spelled out her concerns, “President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court will hold immense power over the most critical issues facing our nation, including a woman’s right to choose, protection for those with preexisting conditions, LGBTQ rights, money in politics, and workers’ rights. We need a Justice who respects the rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, not someone who is beholden to special interest groups. I plan to meet with Judge Kavanaugh in the coming months and will review his qualifications thoroughly.”

Back when Kennedy announced his retirement, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is running for Heller’s seat, promptly spelled out her agenda, “The future of the Supreme Court is in play, and the outcome will have a major impact for generations on issues that matter to Nevadans, like health care and women’s reproductive rights. Another Supreme Court justice backed by President Trump could jeopardize Roe v. Wade, undermine coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions, threaten workers’ rights, perpetuate the damage of big money in our political system, and so much more.”

Apparently Democrats see nothing contradictory about their stance that the Roe v. Wade court opinion, which federalized abortion rights, is inviolate and written in stone, while the court’s Citizens United opinion, which opened up those big money pockets to express political views, is something that should be whisked away by any means available.

In naming Kavanaugh as his nominee Trump stated, “In keeping with President Reagan’s legacy, I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions. What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”

As far as Kavanaugh himself, he stated on the evening of his nomination, “My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.”

The Constitution was not written on an Etch A Sketch. The Founders pored over its wording, attempting to balance powers so that individual freedoms and rights would remain paramount for centuries to come and not subject to popular whims.

As Cortez Masto so rightfully stated, “We need a Justice who respects the rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, not someone who is beholden to special interest groups.” Like so many politicians we can name.

The Senate and our senators should quickly confirm the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh by applying principles instead of partisanship.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.