CNN Legal Analyst: Kavanaugh 'Lit Himself on Fire' With His Testimony

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Posted: Oct 02, 2018 3:45 PM
CNN Legal Analyst: Kavanaugh 'Lit Himself on Fire' With His Testimony

Judge Brett Kavanaugh showed up to last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with a pretty big chip on his shoulder. He had been accused of sexual assault by a woman named Christine Blasey Ford who says he attacked her 36 years ago in high school. He denied the charge but still several Democrats on the panel believed her and called Kavanaugh "evil." In other words, he was justifiably angry, and his frustration came through as soon as he opened his mouth to give his testimony. He criticized the Democrats in front of him for trying to assassinate his character. He chugged water throughout and forcefully turned the pages in his notes. There was practically smoke coming out of his ears.

His behavior before the committee was the equivalent of "pouring gasoline and lighting himself on fire," according to CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero, who was once counsel to the U.S. assistant attorney general for national security. It was "crazy" to watch his "anger, assertiveness and combativeness" with the senators, Cordero noted. Separate and apart from the sexual assault allegations, his testimony itself "raises an entire set of questions about his temperament and fitness for the court."

Just how much of an impact could it have were he to reach the bench? Well, he may have to recuse himself from some cases because of what he said about the Democrats and the Clintons, Cordero suggested. Could he be trusted, for instance, to weigh in on a case like a Bush v. Gore, where "politics are the center of the matter."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested President Trump cancel and renominate Kavanaugh. Cordero doubts, however, whether or not senators will take a second look at him after his partisan testimony and conclude whether he can be impartial.

"Saturday Night Live" parodied Kavanaugh's tense testimony over the weekend. "I'm going to start at an 11, and bring it to about a 15," Kavanaugh, played by Matt Damon, said during the cold open. 

Others, like former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, say Kavanaugh's testimony was "unusual" and provided evidence that he does not have the right temperament to serve on the highest court in the land.