Open letter to US Senators, as the final vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation looms

Dear Senators:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh should withdraw from consideration for the Supreme Court. If he does not, please vote against his confirmation.

Regardless of whether you are Republican, Democrat or independent. Regardless of whether the accusations of sexual assault by Dr. Ford and two other women are true. Regardless of how boorish young Kavanaugh’s habits were. It is the adult Kavanaugh who disqualified himself.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says so. Over 900 Law Professors say so. I hope you do, too. Here is why.

In the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings, Judge Kavanaugh displayed behavior that is concerning even for his present position as Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia, and would be downright alarming for a Supreme Court Justice.

We are all humans. But only few people have the right characteristics to be a Justice. Judge Kavanaugh is not one of them, however knowledgeable he might be in Law. Yes, the hearing was no doubt extremely stressful on him and his family. But if his display of raw anger was genuine, he lacks the temperament and emotional control that we should expect from a Justice. Just think of the contrast with the behavior of Dr. Ford, who was at at least under as much stress.

Judge Kavanaugh’s prepared statement was not spur-of-the-moment. It was submitted in advance, and should reflect his thoughtful views and priorities for the hearing. Starting with a partisan attack on Democrats might be human. But it does not make it appropriate for someone interviewing for a job where the even interpretation of the law matters above all other issues. That he did not understand or care for this is disqualifying, based just on lack of breadth of perspective and impartiality of judgment.

Judge Kavanaugh was interrogated on aspects of his behavior as a teenager and young adult of which he should not be proud. Uncomfortable? Yes. Yet, seeking and upholding the truth should be ingrained in the behavior of a Justice, regardless of circumstances. It might be arguable whether or not he sexually assaulted Dr. Ford. But there is little doubt that young Kavanaugh drank in excess, at an illegal age. That he used boorish terms, and exhibited boorish behavior. Accepting responsibility for past mistakes is part of maturing and becoming an honorable and valued member of society. That his answers stressed credibility, under oath, is highly concerning. That he failed to accept responsibility is disqualifying.

The op-ed that Judge Kavanaugh just wrote on the Wall Street Journal is perhaps the most disqualifying piece of the entire puzzle. This op-ed is a volunteer action, written with no undue time pressure. And, yet, he still misses the big picture. He still does not accept responsibility. He does not set for himself the standard of behavior and performance that we should expect from a Justice.

Instead, he states: “I hope everyone can understand that I was [at the hearing] as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters.”

If he were qualified to be a Justice, Judge Kavanaugh would realize that he should have been there with America foremost in his mind: This was a job interview. If he was thinking of his daughters, he should have realized that at stake was more than the fate of a nominee. At stake was how society addresses boorish behavior and sexual abuse.

Were he fit to serve, he would have taken the opportunity to unify a divided country, do contrition as appropriate, and teach civility and responsibility to a president, Congress and society who sorely need the lesson. And, yes, he would have asked for a full, unconstrained, FBI investigation to determine guilt or innocence.

Doing so might (or not) have cost him his confirmation, and perhaps more. But it would have earned him the respect of this American—and hopefully of his family, the Senate Committee, and our nation.

Please vote “No” on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Ask the president to choose another nominee. One who gives guarantees to serve this country in a fair, even, responsible and impartial manner. One we can all be proud of.


Antonio Baptista

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s