Judge Not Lest He Be Judge
I didn't watch much of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings yesterday. Several reasons. One is that I didn't want my head to explode. Another is that unless Merrick Garland is sitting there, it's like watching fiction that can still hurt you. Also, when selecting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, I don't want to hear all that much about how he thinks he's a great guy because he coaches girls basketball which will impact their lives forever.
My friend Myles Berkowitz has occasionally coached his daughter's basketball team, which is probably far more impressive than Brett Kavanaugh doing so since Myles readily admits he doesn't know all that much about basketball. (Football is his sport.) Other than telling the girls to hound the best player on the other team and also giving Al Pacino's big locker room speech from the movie Any Given Sunday -- in a Pacino impersonation -- yes, really ("We're in hell right now, ladles. Believe me"), which mortifies his daughter, he basically tells them to just run around. He did watch the hearings and called me afterwards and ranted about Kavanaugh praising himself for what he does. The G-rated version of Myles' comments were basically, "Hey, since I coached girls basketball, does that mean I'm qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice? And trust me, this doesn't change the girls' lives forever. They won't even remember their coach 20 minutes later. Believe me. The only thing they'll remember about you is that you got them juice boxes."
One thing did stand out for me, though. And on the surface, it seems a minor thing. The video you might have seen of Judge Kavanaugh ignoring the Parkland father who had lost his daughter and tried to greet him. It was a small moment, and bending over backwards to be fair, I thought it remotely possible that either Brett Kavanaugh didn't know who he was speaking to, or perhaps he had so much on his mind (this was a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, after all) he just didn't want to be distraction. Subsequently, I've seen a more extended video, and heard an interview with the father who made clear he was well-identified. Still, was rude, it still struck me as minor, given what the event was.
But then last night, I saw this from the excellent reporter Natash Bertrand of The Atlantic. She wrote --
"Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died in the Parkland shooting, tells @CNN that Kavanaugh not only wouldn’t shake his hand—he asked security to remove Guttenberg from the hearing, and identified him by the bracelets he wears to commemorate his daughter."
So, this is no longer about rudeness. This is about character. This about who the person is who will be getting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court to sit and pass judgement on the laws of the nation. And rather than being the cool dad who loves coaching girls basketball, he's a cold, heartless, self-righteous, mean-spirited, hypocritical churl.
Give me Myles Berkowitz on the High Court compared to that any day.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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