There are other, more substantive concerns to focus on as the Kavanaugh show hearings start today, but I'm particularly struck that to be a Trump Supreme Court nominee is evidently first and foremost to be a sycophantic toady. #TrumpJudges 1/
Neil Gorsuch went out of his way to tell Trump that his speech to Congress, which addressed several matters likely to come before the Supreme Court, was "magnificent"—apparently to reassure Trump of his loyalty when Trump started to worry about that. 2/
In fact, Gorsuch went beyond praising the speech itself to "congratulate" Trump for the "great start" to his presidency—a "start" full of things that already were being challenged in federal court at the time. 3/
And now we have Brett Kavanaugh, who blatantly lied to the world on live TV in *the very first words* he uttered after Trump picked him—making this ridiculous assertion (meaning, worthy of ridicule) in order to suck up to his patron. 4/
(Also increasingly seems likely, by the way, that Kavanaugh lied under oath to the Senate during his previous confirmation hearing, when he was nominated to serve on the DC Circuit.) 5/
Needless to say, the judiciary should not be packed with flunkies who would fit right in at a cabinet meeting whose only agenda item is showering Dear Leader with hyperbolic praise. 6/
There are, of course, political regimes in the world where people who brown nose rulers to obtain greater judicial prestige and power, as Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have done, would fit right into the judiciary as committed loyalists. 7/
Under those kinds of regimes, judges whose loyalty has been assured have often proceeded to play significant roles in further entrenching the power and control of those regimes, and in undermining representative institutions. 8/…
Those situations are not identical to the US, but when a country that has been stably democratic starts to evolve in more authoritarian directions, we should pay close attention even to the more subtle ways in which the judiciary can be manipulated. 9/
I certainly don't expect judges or other public officials to be saints. And again, there are other, more substantive concerns about Kavanaugh's record that demand greater scrutiny too, as @NAACP_LDF has documented in detail. 10/
But Republican apparatchiks like @robportman should spare us their insistence that these #TrumpJudges have exhibited "great character," when they've revealed rather different qualities in the nomination process itself for all to see. 11/
Although hey, he's a great carpool dad and gives clerkships to kids of prominent law professors, so NBD why not hand him massive, largely unchecked judicial power for the next 30-40 years based on those "character" references. #FFS 12/
When a president openly seeks to manipulate DOJ to shield cronies from prosecution, efforts to manage courts won't be far behind. In fact, that process already has been long underway. Sadly, GOP senators are too complicit either to see that or care. 13/
Via @cristianafarias—more on Brett Kavanaugh's Trump sycophancy, which continued to be on display during his Senate show hearings. 14/…
"When asked ... if he condemns questioning a judge’s impartiality on the basis of his or her ethnicity, as Trump did with Curiel during the presidential campaign, Kavanaugh chose to dodge and save face rather than display judicial courage." 15/

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More from @kalhan

Oct 7, 2018
Former @YaleLawSch Dean Robert Post: Kavanaugh's installation into the Supreme Court is an "American tragedy"
"With calculation and skill, Kavanaugh stoked the fires of partisan rage and male entitlement."
"If we expect judges to reach conclusions based solely on reliable evidence, Kavanaugh’s savage and bitter attack demonstrated exactly the opposite sensibility."
Read 4 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
This article loses its nerve right from its headline: this debacle is not just a blow to the Supreme Court's "image," but to its *legitimacy*.
A 5-4 right-wing majority—installed mostly by minority popular vote presidents, in the face of solid progressive majorities throttled using illegitimate means—does not "perfectly reflect" anything. To the contrary, it is a starkly imperfect reflection of where we are politically.
Partial credit to @adamliptak for this shade at the end of the piece, but it's far too mild in relation to the actual scale of the Court's legitimacy crisis.
Read 8 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Self-serving talk is cheap. If @JeffFlake uses this nonsense to take cover he deserves all the ridicule that he will inevitably receive.
To quote Brett Kavanaugh himself, “I understand the passions of the moment, but ... your words have meaning.”
Read 10 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
Pleased to join so many colleagues in signing this letter.
"We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that [he] did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court"
Over 900 signatories and counting, from over 150 law schools, as of this morning.
Read 5 tweets

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