Well, it’s over but the shouting, and there’s lots of that: Brett Kavanaugh has become an Associate Justice on SCOTUS, after one of the sorriest episodes in American government since Watergate. (And there are many to choose from…) Conservatives have high hopes for him on the Court, which is why the opposition was so vociferous. But are those hopes justified? I think there are reasons to doubt it.
One thing that comes to mind is one of Kavanaugh’s more careerist moves: his prosecutorial deflection of the investigation of Vince Foster’s death towards a suicide conclusion. That alone should endear him with the Clintons, but their gratitude is no better than Tsao Tsao’s toward Kuan Yu in the Three Kingdoms.
But another is an unmistakable conclusion from the last fracas over his social life: Kavanaugh is a party animal. That in turn leads one to believe that Kavanaugh will never overturn Roe v. Wade outright. Why? Party animals, especially preppy ones, need abortion. At his level in society, such things are not moral issues to be decided but problems to be fixed. Abortion may be the final option available, but for such things option it is.
And abortion was the core issue for Kavanaugh’s opponents. Oh, there are others that stick in their craw, most notably the interpretation of regulations. But this one is the hill to die on for those who oppose Kavanaugh. It’s indicative of the strange nature of American politics that those whose policies are geared for a society where the highest goals in life are to get laid, high or drunk oppose him, while those who are trying to “bring America back to God” support him.
But American politics these days is a series of unappetising choices wrapped in high moral rhetoric. SCOTUS is important, too important really, and that’s one of those enduring problems that we cannot seem to implement a way to fix. Kavanaugh will not disappoint his tenacious supporters on some issues, but on others (especially those dear to religious conservatives) he will fall short of the expectations of both his supporters and his opponents, and some of us will realise all too late that the acrimony, certainly damaging for the country, was in vain.