What do Republican senators really think is at stake in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings?
Sure, they want a toady who will slavishly follow the Federalist Society line: first, strike down Roe v. Wade, and second, bring back the Lochner era. The Lochner era was the 40-year period from 1897 to 1937 in which the U.S. Supreme was packed with the kinds of judges who sided with business in virtually every single case, striking down any law passed at the state or federal level aimed at improving the lives of working families. You can bet that, when they get their majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, the same white men—and, as you’ve seen from the hearings, they’re virtually all old white men—who have been complaining about the High Court second-guessing legislative bodies will suddenly have a change of heart.
But as dear as those two goals are to the Republican majority, there’s an even bigger issue here. And you could see that as soon as Senator Lindsey Graham began yelling and kvetching.
If all they wanted was a Federalist Society robot, they’d have a much easier time by scrapping Kavanaugh and going with Amy Coney Barrett, a justice on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She’s already had an FBI check, and she wouldn’t have nearly as much baggage. You can bet the Honorable Mitch McConnell would rush through her hearings in less than eight weeks. And if he had to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Day—or New Year’s Day, for that matter—he’d do so and confirm his fifth vote to rubberstamp the Koch brothers’ agenda for him.
No, it’s not about that. The real issue here is the entitlement of rich white men. President Trump made the point overt: According to him, Brett Kavanaugh “was born—you talk about central casting—he was born, they were saying it 10 years ago about him, he was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born for it. And it’s going to happen.” Because he’s the son of wealthy parents who attended elite schools his entire life and parlayed his connections into jobs in the Bush White House and then onto the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, that guy is entitled to whatever he wants.
And that is how the Republican majority sees the world. There are those who are entitled to get what they want: tax cuts, an end to worker protections, dictating who gets voting rights and who doesn’t – or even, as Kavanaugh argued in his 2013 dissenting opinion when siding with Seaworld, the right to kill a whale trainer through negligence and not to have to pay a paltry $70,000 fine. Then there are those who don’t deserve anything, not even a fair judicial hearing. Who do they think they are, trashing their betters?
Because ultimately, this hearing is not about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s not even about the Supreme Court.
No, it’s really about these privileged few in the U.S. Senate and their own sense of entitlement.