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Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA, 9th April 2019

The Significance of Kavanaugh's Elevation to the Supreme Court




by Ray Light

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by one of the slimmest margins in U.S. history. Somber-looking Senators voted 50 to 48 to “elevate” Kavanaugh. A chorus of women in the Senate's public galleries quite appropriately and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings with cries of “Shame!” A few days later, in a private ceremony, Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in as the one hundred and fourteenth justice of the Supreme Court.


In the aftermath of this event, it is clear that there were three main issues at stake: 1. the status of women in the USA today; 2. the midterm elections across the country - then less than a month away; and 3. placement on the Supreme Court of a partisan Republican operative who will unashamedly defend President Trump's right to the “divine right of kings.” This last is of special significance in light of the ongoing investigation of the Trump Regime and its connection to the Trump Corporate Empire.


The Status of Women in the USA Today - From the moment Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh in July, Democratic Senators were intent on keeping him off the Supreme Court. They raised questions about his partisan past---he was part of the investigation leading to President Clinton's impeachment and later carried out vital and secretive missions inside the George W. Bush White House. All this raised warning flags about his “expansive” view of executive power. For Kavanaugh was the outstanding candidate on Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees who had shown a capacity to wage and even lead a struggle on the Court to grant President Trump virtually unlimited power to rule over the USA with impunity. For Trump, Kavanaugh's elevation represented a permanent “stay out of jail card.”


Among other troubling concerns about Kavanaugh was his level of truthfulness about his actual role in several partisan episodes in his political-judicial career and the belief that he would be committed to an anti-woman position overturning Roe v. Wade, the decades-old Supreme Court decision that established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. Nevertheless, it appeared that Kavanaugh was on his way to confirmation until Dr. Christine Blasey Ford surfaced with her account of Kavanaugh's savage attempt to rape her at a party when they were in high school.


Dr. Ford's allegation questioning his character threw Kavanaugh's nomination into serious doubt and thrust the woman question into the place of political primacy, pushing all other concerns about Kavanaugh into oblivion. What followed was riveting testimony by Dr. Ford followed by Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing itself appeared well-staged by the Republican Senate majority. Not even one Republican Senator (eleven white men) spoke a word during Dr. Ford's testimony.* [*FN: It is likely that, like the President who nominated Kavanaugh, at least several Republican senators are themselves sexual predators who didn't want to get too much exposure opposing Dr. Ford]


Instead they used a “hired gun,” Rachel Mitchell, the veteran female prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona (where Trump's pal Joe Arpaio had been sheriff and was later pardoned by Trump!) to attempt to discredit Dr. Ford's testimony. Mitchell tried with no success to show that Dr. Ford had been put up to come forward with her testimony by the Democratic Party machine. Despite getting nowhere, Mitchell persisted with that single line of questioning, hoping that repetition would make it seem that she had been on to something.


Dr. Ford's testimony was extremely credible. When Democratic Senator Leahy and other “friendly” Democrats attempted to get Dr. Ford to go beyond her actual experience in her condemnation of Kavanaugh, she refused to do so. Furthermore, there were gaps in her memory, that any victim of such an attack might well have, that she did not cover up. Dr. Ford's testimony was devastating to Kavanaugh.


Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, demonstrated great anger, disgust and haughtiness at even being questioned by the U.S. Senators in a Senate hearing on his fitness for the Supreme Court. When one female Senator had the “audacity” to question Kavanaugh about his “love of beer drinking,” he did not hesitate to arrogantly and inappropriately throw the question back in her face. Beyond the many folks who believed Kavanaugh was lying about the serious incident from decades earlier, most other folks listening to Kavanaugh's testimony at a minimum believed that Kavanaugh's conduct in the hearing demonstrated his inability to be a Supreme Court Justice who could dispense justice in his deliberations.


Despite how rigged the hearing had been and how determined the Senate Republican majority was to ram the nomination through, Dr. Ford's brilliant and compelling testimony following her published charges, especially at the height of #Me Too consciousness, had unearthed similar charges against Kavanaugh from other credible women and now compelled a last-minute F.B.I. “inquiry” into at least some of the new allegations surfacing against Kavanaugh.


But this F.B.I. “investigation” was so clearly just “going through the motions” for a couple of days (!) that it was an insult to every woman and to every human being who cares about bringing an end to the oppression of women. Before the Saturday vote, the only other accuser whom the F.B.I. bothered to question, issued a statement deploring what was about to happen. Deborah Ramirez stated: “Thirty-five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh. As I watch many of the senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate, I feel like I'm right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is U.S. senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior. This is how victims are isolated and silenced.” (Quoted in “Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate,” New York Times, 10-6-18, Sheryl Gay Stolberg)


Once they had their man safely on the Supreme Court, Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell went on the offensive. Trump derided the sizable protests at the Supreme Court and the Capitol as “phony stuff” and claimed (against all evidence) that women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Outraged.” McConnell asserted that, “the virtual mob that has assaulted all of us in this process has turned our base on fire.”


Indeed, this bitter nomination fight, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, energized survivors of sexual assault, as well as the Republican/Trump base, to political action. During the 2018 Kavanaugh Senate hearings there was widespread exposure of the fact that Anita Hill had been treated despicably by the U.S. Senate twenty-seven years earlier, including by the Democrats (led by Joe Biden) as well as the Republicans, in the confirmation hearings for (successful) Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas. The fact that there was a similar repudiation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 demonstrated that the status of women, at least in the U.S. corridors of power, had not significantly advanced and that now there are at least two sexual predators on the U.S. Supreme Court.


The impact on the U.S. Midterm Elections of the Kavanaugh nomination process – Had Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court been blocked, as it clearly would have been by a “fair-minded” U.S. Senate, it would have contributed significantly to a major electoral defeat of the Republican Party in the midterm elections, held a month later.


In truth, Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, turned out to be correct. The Trump-Kavanaugh Supreme Court victory did turn their reactionary “base on fire,” aided by the aggressive campaign of the admittedly misogynistic, shameless President. It is clear from the election results that this campaign successfully pushed back the rising #MeToo movement. In particular, the Republican Party, largely on the basis of its shameless behavior in the Kavanaugh affair, was able to retain its majority in the U.S. Senate.* [*FN: As regards gubernatorial races, the Democratic Party picked up seven. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats gained more than thirty House seats and once again are the “majority party” in the House. While this latter point can be significant in ongoing and upcoming investigations of the Trump Regime, neither the gains in State Houses nor the House gains in Congress represents a mass repudiation of the Trump Regime. This is a reflection of the fact that the Democratic Party candidates, while including a number of new, more militant and dynamic candidates, especially women, also included a large number of the same old corporate Democrats amplified by a number of younger U.S. military veterans who are just as pro-U.S. Imperialism as the Democratic Party Clinton-Pelosi “old guard.”]


The elevation to the Supreme Court of an openly partisan Republican operative who will unashamedly defend President Trump's right to the “divine right of kings.” - The immediate impact of Kavanaugh's promotion to the U.S. Supreme Court has been felt most strongly in relation to the push back against the advances in the status of women, including neutralizing the rising #MeToo movement, and in the ability of the Trump-led Republican Party to retain a majority in the U.S. Senate in the mid-term elections.


Nevertheless, over the long run, Kavanaugh's ascendancy to the U.S. Supreme Court and his willingness to pardon any corrupt, illegal and unconstitutional conduct on the part of President Trump and his coterie of Trump Dynasty officials may well turn out to be the most important and tragic impact on the body politic of the USA. This significantly increases, for example, the prospects for the rise of fascism to power in the USA. And, because the declining U.S. Empire remains arguably the most powerful destructive force in the world, Kavanaugh's presence on the U.S. Supreme Court, dispensing his blessings of “constitutional” legitimacy upon the glaringly illegitimate, may well have its most important and tragic impact on all the peoples of the world.


Already, on November 7, the day after the midterm elections, Trump made two daring and decisive moves to fortify himself against the inevitable congressional investigations that will accompany the emergence of a Democratic majority in the U.S. House and to lay the basis for the elimination of the Mueller Investigation. On that very morning, Trump forced Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions to resign. Had Trump not been successful in his placement of Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, no doubt he would have felt compelled to continue Sessions at the Justice Department. But with the Kavanaugh-led Supreme Court covering his back, Trump immediately appointed Matthew Whitaker, Sessions chief of staff and a critic of the Mueller investigation, as the acting AG. Trump leapfrogged Whitaker over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump has been trying to fire Rosenstein since he took on the task (in place of the recused AG Sessions) of overseeing the Mueller Special Investigation of Trump, his connection to the 2016 election results and his private business deals while president.


Unfortunately for Trump, Rosenstein has been vetted by the U.S. Senate, making him eligible to become a cabinet member such as the AG who oversees the entire Justice Department. Whitaker has had no such vetting and is therefore constitutionally ineligible to be promoted into the AG position. Still Trump persists in violation of the U.S. Constitution.


The second daring Trump move on that day involved his attempt to drive a critical journalist out of the White House Press Corp. CNN's Jim Acosta was trying to get Trump to answer his question. Trump attempted to silence him and when Acosta persisted, Trump ordered a female intern to grab the microphone away. Using fabricated video footage, the Trump White House revoked Acosta's press pass, in so doing sending a chilling message to the rest of the White House press corps. The Trump forces claimed they were barring Acosta from the White House for improperly touching the woman. CNN filed a lawsuit and the Trump-fabricated “proof” was exposed. As we go to press, Acosta's press pass has been reinstated.


Thus far, since the midterm elections, the Trump Regime's daring moves have given him no peace.


Indeed, the lawless, out-of-control Trump Dynasty, when faced with imminent defeat, may well opt for a major world war (with or without nuclear weapons) or blatant violations of global agreements on global warming which could have a similarly catastrophic effect on our Mother Earth.






Trump's USA is no country for women. So will Trump drive out the women of the USA or will the women of the USA lead in driving out Trump?


In an earlier article, “Trump's USA: No Country for Children” (Ray O'light Newsletter #109, July-August 2018) I concluded the following: “For our children to have a decent future in the USA, Trump, the Tyrant, must be exposed, isolated and defeated. The workers and the oppressed within the USA who are the victims of the Trump Regime discussed above will have to achieve genuine unity in the course of our battles for justice. Such unity and solidarity will be vital to our success. Just as vital will be the international solidarity of the workers and the oppressed peoples in the rest of the world with those of us “in the belly of the beast.” Only by uniting with them in their defense against the U.S. Empire will we earn their solidarity.


This same approach applies to women in the aftermath of Trump's successful seating of Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and its aftermath. Already in the midterm elections many positive women candidates and election activists made a strong initial showing (though too many are still tethered to the Democratic Party). And our comrade, Cindy Sheehan, on the eve of the midterms, led a small but determined Women's March on the Pentagon rightly focused on the main source of violence in our world today, the imperialist violence of the U.S. Empire in decline. Whether directed at woman, children, oppressed nationalities or workers anywhere in the world, comrade Sheehan's courageous and persistent leadership on the question of stopping U.S.-led imperialist war needs to become a central demand of a genuine women's movement with the capacity to help drive Trump out of the USA.


Finally, in the struggle to defeat the fascistic Trump Regime, the valuable guidance of George Dimitrov and the Communist International, and the heroic example of the Soviet youth, the Soviet people, the Soviet Red Army, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, led by comrade Stalin, that led the global victory over world fascism in World War II, will help us on our path to a brighter future.


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