Socratic Dialogue w/ Students During Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation
By Lucas J. Mather
Professor, can I talk with you for a minute?
Sure, man. I mean…woman. Sure, woman !
Hahaha. [Nervous], I just really need to know–you seemed to support Brett Kavanaugh. I’m just really curious why.
Yes, ma’am, well why wouldn’t I?
And the student said, because it looks like he sexually assaulted women [after seeing professor’s face]…possibly.
Probably…I don’t know.
The professor sighed, and sat down, and motioned for her to do the same if she wanted, which she did really fast, like really fast, and he said, let me give you a look inside my mind and experience as I approached that issue when it came up. I wasn’t surprised it came up the way it did.
Really? So you got a feeling …wait…I don’t understand.
Did you watch the whole hearings from the start?
Not every minute, she said.
No, I mean, did you see how the hearings began for Brett Kavanaugh?
I’m talking about before there were these accusations publicly made — at the very beginning. Did you see that ?
Protests derailed the Senate Confirmation hearing — really rude, jarring, disruptive protests. This was on the tail of Senate Democrats, within minutes of the nomination announcement, saying they’d do *everything* to stop him.
I heard about that. Yeah, I heard about that, the student said.
So, that was before these accusations were known publicly. They were not widely know by anyone at that time. Of course they were leaked later. By one of those Democrats.
But isn’t that normal? she asked the professor.
No, the professor said.
It has never happened before in the history of Senate Confirmation hearings on Supreme Court justices. It has never happened before — those kind of protests starting a nomination hearing — in the history of the United States. Not even Bork — who was rejected (wrongly) received that kind of treatment. And he’s like the worst case. People use the term “borked” as a verb now to describe trying to take someone down.
I thought that’s just what always happens, she said.
JFK nominates one man, Byron White, to the Supreme Court. He smoked during his confirmation hearing, which took about an hour. Done.
The professor continued: Of course, he had also been leading rusher for the NFL at one point. But he was also one of two who dissented in Roe v. Wade. No controversy at all in his appointment.
That was fairly normal, the professor continued, before and after. In fact, for most of American history, there weren’t these kinds of hearings at all. Just a voice vote in the Senate yes or no. They didn’t drag this stuff out like we do on TV.
So? [She was processing. Her friend was listening by the door, and the professor motioned for her to come sit down if she wanted to. She came closer, but just leaned on a desk].
So, the accusations were not why they hated him. They hated him already. Why?
Maybe they already knew about the accusations??
Why would you assume that? Nobody knew about them.
How do you know that, her friend asked.
Because they would have been on the front page of every newspaper from here to Nantucket, from day one.
[They sat with this, and their faces began to relax. Their faces melted].
And that’s precisely what did *not* happen, the professor added.
The rage came first, she said.
The rage came first, before the controversy. Yes, the professor said.
[The girls looked at each other like they had just realized something embarrassing].
You guys got a minute?
[The professor walked over to the computer and turned it on, shining the Google search bar in front of the whole empty classroom].
I’m looking up Day 1 of the Gorsuch hearing, the professor said. This was just last year, the professor said as it came up on screen on YouTube. Let’s just watch how this started — the tone, the everything, and compare it with how Kavanaugh’s started, he said as he pulled up Kavanaugh Day 1 in another tab.
[They watch several minutes of the beginning of each Day 1, Gorsuch, then Kavanaugh].
What do you notice, the professor said.
They really hate Kavanaugh like right away, they both said, like a little boy discovering a turquoise snail under a rock.
Yes. And Gorsuch was right after the election, remember. That open seat occurred during Obama. Remember how pissed they were that Republicans didn’t let him fill that seat?
Yeah, they both said, faking it.
Oh yeah, they both said very slowly, eyes up and to the right, this time really remembering.
So what is it about Kavanaugh?
I don’t know, the girls said.
He’s….number 5 on a 9 member Court? Maybe?
He’s the majority vote, they both said.
After a while of quiet, they said, so it’s just politics?
Well, for Democrats it is, the professor said. You guys don’t realize this, but it’s the same way any place the Democrats control. Hollywood: your career is dead if you’re Republican. Unless you’ve got independent resources, like Clint Eastwood. He’s had his own production company near Carmel since the 70s, and he always makes money. They can’t touch him, even after he speaks at the RNC in 2012.
It’s the same way on college campuses. I would not have been hired here had they known I was a Republican, the professor continued. Now that they do know, there are people that would rather I die than show up for work and influence students. They only want Democrats to teach college.
Really? they said.
REALLY, the professor said. It’s that way on most campuses. The majority of them, run entirely by corrupt Democrats. The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats remind me of showing up to work — their smug faces, the self-righteousness, the hypocrisy, myopia, the condescension. And that rubs off on all students, but especially a certain activist subgroup, which is constantly added to at taxpayer expense.
The girls looked at the professor with open mouths, and said, wow.
The professor said, well, this is how you chose to use your office hours. I’m willing to hit traffic and stay longer if you want to review class material.
And they said, we don’t want you to have to hit traffic.
Yeah, we need to do the reading first.
Ah. Well I’m glad you’re letting me miss traffic then. See you next time.
See ya professor!, they both said as they walked out , down the hall, and eventually, giggling about something else entirely, already on another topic.
Copyright Lucas J. Mather, 2018
All Rights Reserved
Originally published to Facebook on Friday 26 Oct 2018 at 10:40 am
Dr. Lucas J. Mather, Ph.D. is the producer and host of TRP Podcast.
He teaches Constitutional Law and American Politics at Azusa Pacific University in Lost Angeles County.
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