Even after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice, political pundits continue to evaluate the fall-out from a confirmation process that underscored the nation’s deep divisions.
MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt said Kavanaugh should have withdrawn his nomination to preserve the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court. For the duration of tenure on the nation’s high court, he warned, half of the country will view the appointment as illegitimate — eroding confidence in the institution.
“We live in a time where there’s a complete collapse of trust in public institutions in this country,” Schmidt said. “This is a lifetime appointment. The only way to demonstrate his worthiness for this is to withdraw.”
Schmidt, speaking Tuesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, said the confirmation process has been politicized since the 1987 battle over the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, which was opposed by civil and women’s rights groups and ultimately blocked by Senate Democrats.
“We’ve seen a cycle of violence, revenge, retribution, that finally reaches it conclusion with this nomination,” said Schmidt, longtime Republican political strategist and adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The FBI and Senate Judiciary Committee emerged damaged by their handling of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Kavanaugh, said Schmidt. Of the professional collaboration between the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), he offered two words: “Holy sh*t.”
“Here’s the deal,” said Schmidt. “[Kavanaugh] was serially dishonest in his testimony on big issues and on small issues. If dishonesty gets you kicked out of West Point as an 18-year-old, we might want to apply that standard to the highest court in the land.”
Feinstein, who was alerted to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, could have redacted the complaint and handed it over for a thorough investigation without betraying Ford’s request for confidentiality, McKinnon said.
“Had we done this the right way in the beginning, we would never have been where we are in the end,” said McKinnnon.