Since last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the news media and advocacy groups have questioned Brett Kavanaugh’s veracity on a range of issues. From the meaning of phrases on his high school yearbook page, to how he mischaracterized witnesses’ accounts of Prof. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, to his drinking habits as a young man, there is a wide body of evidence that he did not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
While his latest remarks to the committee are certainly worthy of unpacking, let’s not forget that Kavanaugh was – at best – disingenuous in his first round of committee testimony. As AU Legislative Director Maggie Garrett reported in this blog on Sept. 7, Kavanaugh was asked about his role in the Bush administration’s faith-based initiative. After a detailed question from Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), he made a calculated dodge saying, “I don’t recall the specifics.”
The idea that he doesn’t remember anything about it doesn’t hold up to the least bit of scrutiny. Kavanaugh didn’t just happen to be the point person for the faith-based initiative, he asked to be the point person because of his background and interest in the issue. He was invested in this issue and hasn’t likely forgotten its key moments.
In addition, there was a huge controversy over the program that he should remember. In 2001, The Washington Post broke the story that the White House had made a “‘firm commitment’ to the Salvation Army to issue a regulation” to exempt religious organizations from state and local nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBTQ employees. In return, the Salvation Army agreed to “spending $88,000 to $110,000 a month in its endeavor to boost Bush's” faith-based initiative legislation. The very day the story came out, former U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote to the Bush administration to ask them about this quid pro quo. And a Kavanaugh email shows that Kavanaugh said he had already worked with others in the administration and “mapped out a preliminary strategy” to respond to the letter and that he wanted to set up a meeting to further discuss the issue.
So which is more plausible: Kavanaugh doesn’t recall information about a controversial issue on which he sought to be the point person, or he found it politically advantageous to let those details slip his mind so he wouldn’t have to answer difficult questions about using taxpayer dollars to discriminate against LGBTQ people?
Brett Kavanaugh is wrong on the issues and is apparently willing to say (or not say) anything to avoid jeopardizing what he seems to think is his right to take a seat on the nation’s highest court. Tell your senators that Brett Kavanaugh is wrong for the Supreme Court.
(Photo Credit: Screenshot from C-SPAN)