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Letters: Brett Kavanaugh’s turbulent entry to Supreme Court

Readers analyze many sides to one of 2018’s biggest political stories

President Donald Trump watches as Associate Justice Brett

President Donald Trump watches as Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, surrounded by his wife and two daughters, is sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Monday. Photo Credit: The Washington Post / Jabin Botsford

Comment about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court continues to dominate our mail from readers. Here is a sampling. More letters appear at newsday.com/opinion.

 

I feel small comfort in the victory of Brett Kavanaugh [“Kavanaugh confirmed, sworn in,” News, Oct. 7]. The behavior of Democrats was abhorrent, with the media a close second. The howling mobs threatening senators were unforgivable. They have stolen my democracy and shattered this country. They should be ashamed of themselves. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are heroes. Sen. Susan Collins is superwoman.

Roz Green, Woodmere

As Brett Kavanaugh became a Supreme Court justice, we witnessed a shutdown of decency, fairness and democracy by our esteemed representatives in the Senate.

Despite allegations of sexual misconduct, and his close-to-unhinged performance before the judiciary committee and the nation, Kavanaugh has survived. The FBI investigation was a sham. Many people who offered information that affirmed Kavanaugh’s behavior were ignored. Up is down, down is up. Our “representatives” in Congress have failed us, and we are in deep trouble as a nation.

Philip Dehazya, Westbury

The wretched Democratic Party will lick its wounds for years to come after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Democrats tried to persuade Americans that the principle of being innocent until proven guilty applies only to trials and, therefore, Kavanaugh should be guilty until proven innocent. I don’t think most Americans agree with that philosophy. Democrats who opposed Kavanaugh ought to hang their heads in shame.

Herbert Kraut, Woodmere

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia displayed a profile in utter cowardice by voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. He showed no compassion toward so many women and their stories, even those telling him directly. He was so pathetic to let a woman, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, cast the deciding vote for Kavanaugh before his own. He’ll probably lose his seat in a backlash and cost Democrats their chance to retake the Senate.

Stewart J. Frimer, Forest Hills

Columnist Michael Dobie’s solution for getting more moderate justices on the Supreme Court — restoring the required Senate judicial approval vote to 60 — is a formula for gridlock [“Gaping chasm in the Senate,” Opinion, Oct. 7]. No one would be approved except after a national election landslide.

Dobie blames Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the lowering of the approval threshold to 50. Sure, former Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid lowered the hurdle, but he only “unfortunately” responded to McConnell’s “systematically” blocking of President Barack Obama’s lower-court appointments.

Republicans did not give birth to systematic blocking of appointments. Robert Bork, nominated by President Ronald Reagan, was slandered by Sens. Joseph Biden and Edward Kennedy. In 2003, President George W. Bush’s Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada was the first such nominee to be successfully filibustered. In time, some 10 Bush nominees were filibustered. Yet while Reid’s obstruction is described as only unfortunate, McConnell’s response is pilloried as “malevolent chicanery,” and the senator as “the gravedigger of American democracy” and a “cancer.” Dobie also condemns GOP blockage of Merrick Garland while not mentioning that McConnell simply applied the “Biden rule” also endorsed by Sen. Chuck Schumer. I expect more fairness in Newsday.

Len Mansky, Roslyn

I agree with much of what Sen. Susan Collins said in explaining her vote for Brett Kavanaugh. My concern is in part with what she did not say. The Republican-led Senate started this Kavanaugh fiasco when it refused to even give Merrick Garland a hearing. He had many of the same qualifications and had the same voting record in more than 90 percent of the cases they both adjudicated.

We wonder why so many people do not vote. The bold partisanship is the reason. I resent the smug attitude of the Republican-led Senate that does not acknowledge its role.

Christine Martin, Queens Village

A reader suggested that teen girls who go to parties knowing there will be boys and liquor should not expect a checkers tournament [“Teenagers, parties and consequences,” Letters, Oct. 7]. So tell me, can a girl or woman expect to go to a party where the boys or men just behave themselves? What is the cutoff age? What you are saying is that whether or not the boys or men can be expected to have self-control is the girl’s or woman’s responsibility.

I. Am. Damn. Sick. And. Tired. Of. That. Message.

Parents, teach your boys proper behavior.

MaryEllen Scherer, New Hyde Park

The villain of the Brett Kavanaugh debacle is Sen. Mitch McConnell, who scuttled Merrick Garland’s nomination and has now tainted, if not sickened, the Supreme Court with two right-wingers, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Together, McConnell and President Donald Trump have corrupted the republic, casting Americans against one another and giving us the sighting of a second Civil War.

Gus Franza, East Setauket

When asked why there were no Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa responded, “It’s a lot of work. Maybe they don’t want to do it . . . And my chief of staff of maybe three years tells me that we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” What planet does Grassley live on? What century is this? His antediluvian mindset enabled him to minimize or ignore Christine Blasey Ford’s honest and compelling testimony. Perhaps there should be term limits in Congress?

Howard Mandell, East Northport

Sen. Chuck Grassley referred to protests against sexual abuse by women and their supporters as “mob rule.” Later, both Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham separately used the same inflammatory words. Coincidence? Understanding and respect for the First Amendment seem to have escaped these gentlemen, who were elected to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Their better angels have substituted inflammatory pop culture phrases as their mantra.

But if the choice were between being part of the passionate mob speaking on behalf of giving a truly fair hearing and investigation to those who claim to be victims of sexual abuse and assault, versus being part of a smugly, self-satisfied clique that sees power as the self-fulfillment of privilege, then, to paraphrase Patrick Henry, if this be a mob, then let us make the most of it!

Patricia Bishop-Kelly, Huntington Station

Left-wing women screaming “Shame on you!” at Sen. Susan Collins remind me of toddlers who can’t have ice cream until they eat their spinach. If their own fathers, husbands or sons were accused of sexual assault by a woman who had no corroborating evidence, would they also condemn the alleged perpetrator to public humiliation or even jail? These intemperate, politicized naysayers would have been at home among Salem witch trial crowds.

Jay Roberts, Jericho

Ethics and integrity have nearly vanished from the landscape. Political expediency is predominant. Let us hope for a resurgence in decency.

Norman Shainmar, Wantagh

Many veterans of combat hold their thoughts private until something wrestles it from their souls. Christine Blasey Ford, I believe, remembers what happened to her and the incident regarding Brett Kavanaugh. Women whom I speak to also remember sexual episodes that were painful to them. Do they remember what they wore? Maybe. Do they remember the exact date? Not necessarily. And our veterans: Do they remember the exact date? Not necessarily. Do they remember the time? Perhaps not. Do they remember the event? Yes.

Painful memories are photographs in the mind, and the exact date is not printed therein. Ask anyone who has been in either of these two spots.

Anne Mateer, East Northport

We are so caught up in destructive polarization and tribalism that too few people are listening. The story of “he said-she said” drowned out coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s court record. We should have been focused on his views. Our democracy is at stake and continues to become weakened because of this inability to hear and listen to the arguments. Our senators have become more concerned with re-election than with the good of the country.

We need centrist, open-minded justices who will consider in an impartial manner all arguments, not side with closed minds. Alas, our Supreme Court is becoming another tribal, political arena.

Holly Gordon, Bay Shore

So Brett Kavanaugh, a privileged, powerful white man, angrily denies the charges against him, he must be telling the truth. After all, didn’t more than a dozen women accuse Donald Trump of sexual harassment, and he also said every one was a liar? So it must be true.

When elected leaders refer to people who want their voices heard as a mob and bullies, then we are headed in a direction that our Constitution has tried to protect us from. The majority of these “bullies” speaking out against Brett Kavanugh were women! I am surprised Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch didn’t accuse them of suffering from the vapors. The patriarchal power of the wealthy and connected white man goes on. Look at the inhabitant of the White House.

Lorraine Huzar, Jericho

It looks as if the presumption of innocence outdid the presumption of guilt. Hooray for the new justice and the president.

Felix Iasevoli, Brookhaven

Our Republican senators disgraced themselves again. They are all terrified of President Donald Trump. They know that if they vote against him, he will visit their states and hold one of his “I need to feel the love” rallies. He will tear into them and tell his base not to vote for them because they are “bad people.” Many know that this could kill their chances for re-election.

Too bad. They are elected to represent us, not vote to protect their jobs. Politics isn’t for the fainthearted; it’s a job for people with the fortitude to stand up and fight what is wrong. That fortitude is sorely lacking in politics today. There are no moderate Republicans any longer, only Trump foot soldiers.

Robert Broder, Stony Brook

Why wasn’t Christine Blasey Ford interviewed and investigated by the FBI? My suspicion is that Sens. Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Lindsay Graham, Orrin Hatch and other Republicans knew full well that if Ford were interrogated, they could not prevent Brett Kavanaugh from being questioned under oath. Should he lie to the FBI or the Senate panel, he could have been charged with perjury. If so, his career would have been over and the Republican house of cards would have come crashing down.

I believe President Donald Trump and Republicans engineered this obstruction. Trump has forever obtained Kavanaugh’s undying loyalty. He will protect Trump from potential criminal charges or potentially being subpoenaed while he is president.

Jeffrey Myles Klein, Centereach

Correction: The above letter has been corrected. Because of an editing error by Newsday, the letter made an incorrect statement about Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate panel.

From the very beginning, President Donald Trump promised to hire only the best people. Putting aside ideological preferences, I think reasonable Republicans and Democrats can agree that, in this effort, the president has most certainly failed. From former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and White House aide Rob Porter to former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and campaign manager Paul Manafort, Trump has proved time and again that his judgment of personnel is atrocious. And indeed, this atrocious judgment has reared its ugly head once more, as the nation confronts Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

It didn’t have to be this way. The president published a list of potential candidates to serve on the Supreme Court. That list featured dozens of other conservative federal and state judges, all of whom Trump could count on to vote just like Kavanaugh. However, the president and Senate Republicans made it their mission to confirm a judge from that list who faces multiple allegations of sexual assault. Somehow, I’m not surprised.

Kyle Brewster, Manorville

The decision to appoint Brett Kavanaugh for life to the Supreme Court is an easy one solved with just two words: above reproach. If a nominee cannot meet this standard, he or she should be passed over.

Anne Carboni,

Manorville

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