Brett Kavanaugh

The merits of Brett Kavanaugh as a Repub­lican nominee are clear, as are the reasons why Democrats fear his con­fir­mation. As a con­ser­v­ative judge in the mold of the late Antoni Scalia, he would likely undermine union power, Civil Rights era voting pro­tec­tions, and Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh’s back­ground as a White House lawyer has been the source of much con­tention, as Democrats of all stripes have advo­cated for the release of hun­dreds of thou­sands of doc­u­ments relating to that moment in his career. Repub­licans have denounced this as a delaying tactic, and I won’t contest that it is just that. Democrats are fighting what is almost certain to be a losing battle and they’re using any tool they can reach to give them­selves a fighting chance.

Despite the par­tisan origins of the outcry, these doc­u­ments are vital to the public interest. In elec­tions, every part of a candidate’s history is put on public display, picked over, and examined by voters and the press; it follows that a higher level of scrutiny is in order for an appointment that, rather than lasting two, four, or eight years, lasts a lifetime. The amount of doc­u­ments needing close exam­i­nation is daunting, but it is the respon­si­bility of every member of the Senate, whether they be Democrats or Repub­licans, to ensure that Judge Kavanaugh is the right man for the job.

This par­ticular seat is vital because it could shift the ide­o­logical tenor of the Supreme Court for years to come. With the addition of Justice Gorsuch in 2017, the court is on the verge of becoming the most con­ser­v­ative it’s been in gen­er­a­tions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has fer­vently defended Kavanaugh, admon­ishing Democrats to “put par­ti­sanship aside and con­sider his legal qual­i­fi­ca­tions with all the fairness, respect, and seri­ousness that a Supreme Court nom­i­nation ought to command.”

This fairness and respect were sorely lacking, however, when Obama nom­i­nated Merrick Garland to the seat that Justice Gorsuch now fills. After Garland’s nom­i­nation, McConnell revealed his true nature as a rank par­tisan, not only refusing to meet with Garland, but declaring that the Repub­lican dom­i­nated Senate would not hold hearings for him at all, on

the prin­ciple that “the American people [should] decide” who would fill the seat. Ignoring the fact that the American people had, in fact, decided that Barack Obama should be the man respon­sible for choosing Supreme Court nom­inees when they elected him in 2012, this is still blatant hypocrisy. It is once again an election year: if Mitch McConnell was gen­uinely con­cerned about the voice of the American people being expressed in this process, why is he going forward with these hearings?

Kavanaugh is a can­didate worth con­sid­er­ation, but par­ti­sanship is pre­venting the American people from receiving a fair account of his past actions, present thoughts, and future rulings. This in-depth review is imper­ative if Senate Democrats are to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s con­fir­mation. And though it may be a losing battle, it’s one Democrats shouldn’t stop fighting.

Madeline Hedrick is a senior studying English and the pres­ident of College Democrats.