In my post earlier this week exposing a journalism professor's enthusiastic rejection of accuracy, I briefly touched on Senate Democrats' ugly history of escalating the judicial confirmation wars. The subject of the fake news in question was Sen. Lindsey Graham, the newly-minted Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose furious pushback against Democratic tactics during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court fracas won him loud applause from conservatives. Graham seethed that the opposition's scorched-earth approach to these battles had become intolerable and made it his personal mission to exact retribution. He did so by helping Republicans expand their upper chamber majority in the new Congress, as GOP nominees defeated four anti-Kavanaugh incumbents.
Undeterred, the Professional Left and the media are again ramping up their smear machine, this time to target President Trump's nominee to replace Kavanaugh on the influential DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Activists are dredging up some of the well-qualified nominee's decades-old, college-era writings, and casting them in the most "problematic" light possible, in order to sully her reputation and diminish her (still strong) confirmation prospects. They are thus demonstrating that their attack apparatus is willing to personally impugn anyone with the "wrong" sort of judicial philosophy, whether it be the 'privileged white male' who was recently promoted to SCOTUS, or the young woman of color slated to assume his former position on the bench. Philip Klein views this fight as a prelude to the unprecedented rumble that would undoubtedly explode over a potential third Supreme Court vacancy during Trump's term:
New post: "Latest hit on Trump D.C. Circuit court pick Neomi Rao is opening salvo in battle over Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat" https://t.co/Bg9WbtK5Sq— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) January 15, 2019
Neomi Rao is a brilliant legal mind and an extremely well-qualified pick to replace Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But because she's a rising star on the Right who has been floated as a potential replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she must be destroyed. So it's natural that the Left is trying to make her the latest victim of character assassination. On Monday, Buzzfeed published a story that dredged up some op-eds Rao wrote as an undergraduate at Yale in the 1990s. My colleague Quin Hillyer already posted on how the story distorted her work to portray it in the worst possible light. But it's worth also looking at the process behind the article.
Look at the quotes themselves, and you'll discover that they're not even remotely disqualifying, though some can be portrayed provocatively. Klein also reviews how lefties launder their opposition research through their partners in the mainstream press:
The story notes that it was the "the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice" that "first highlighted Rao’s college writings to BuzzFeed News." In other words, the story was based on opposition research conducted by a liberal group that is tasked with fighting conservative judicial appointments...With the hit pieces out in the media, Alliance for Justice then issued a press release titled, "Rao's Writings are Disqualifying," that claimed the organization had "learned" about the writings, citing media reports. So, to sum up: A liberal group dumped oppo to the media, the media played it up, then the liberal group cited those media reports to proclaim the nominee disqualified.
He argues, I think correctly, that while these objections will not sink Rao's current nomination (especially with 53 GOP Senators), liberals are preparing the battlefield for the still-hypothetical scenario in which a young, conservative, female jurist is selected to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat. Rao is said to be on the White House's short list, should such an opening present itself. The appalling nastiness of the Kavanaugh hearings could look like child's play by comparison, and the hard Left is clearly signaling their intent to go after any conservative nominee, by any means necessary. Chairman Graham seems to be entirely prepared for this dynamic.
In the meantime, Republicans should make more hay out of the fact that two Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are trying to mainstream the unconstitutional bigotry of erecting religious tests for public office, via their discriminatory opposition to a Trump nominee to a federal district court. Presidential frontrunner Kamala Harris has joined this disgraceful push, as has the contemptible Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. These moves come on the heels of Dianne Feinstein's infamous "dogma" calumny against Circuit Court Judge Amy Barrett during her 2017 confirmation hearings. If Barrett is ever under consideration to be elevated to the next level, some elements of the Left will likely be unable to resist assailing her devout Catholicism, an approach that would be widely decried as outrageous prejudice if it were directed at, say, a Muslim Democratic appointee. It's totally unacceptable either way.
An intense fight may be brewing, and the Left is again tipping its hand. Republicans must prepare accordingly. I'll leave you with Ben Sasse's Senate resolution condemning the constitution-violating outrage of applying religious tests to would-be judges, as has effectively been advocated by a number of Democratic Senators. Fortunately, after an internal debate, Democrats decided not to object to an action that amounts to a rebuke of Senators Hirono and Harris:
One more point: Democrats are rightly concerned with what Steve King said. Will they speak up against a new Congresswoman's clear and unapologetic ties to vile anti-Semites? Liberals purport to care about non-outrageous things Ms. Rao wrote in the 1990's as an undergraduate. Do they care at all about the current actions of House Democrats like Ms. Talaib?