What's 'Fair' in SCOTUS Nominees Finds Its Way to Sunday Shows, as Democrats Forget About Kavanaugh

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Posted: Mar 20, 2022 2:50 PM
What's 'Fair' in SCOTUS Nominees Finds Its Way to Sunday Shows, as Democrats Forget About Kavanaugh

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

The concept of what's "fair" during committee hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominees came up on ABC's "This Week," when host George Stephanopoulos had Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on as his guest. Durbin is the Senate majority whip and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings this week for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. While Stephanopoulos and Durbin referenced and slammed a thread from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) about Judge Jackson's record on sex offenders who prey on children, neither acknowledged the treatment now Justice Brett Kavanaugh went through in 2018. 

About Hawley's thread, which included details on Jackson's rulings, Stephanopoulos pointed out that Hawley's claims have "been debunked by several independent fact-checkers." Such "independent fact-checkers" mostly stuck to the common thread of how Jackson ruled as she did because the guidelines for such predators are too harsh. 

Further, as I highlighted in my coverage, Hawley has sent a detailed explanation to The Washington Post in a response to their fact-checker giving him "Three Pinocchios," which amounts to a "Mostly False" rating. 

Durbin, in responding to Stephanopoulos' particularly friendly line of questioning and non-question of "what does that tell you about the confirmation fight ahead," in part answered that "Senator Hawley is making these charges that came out of nowhere." Of the fact-checkers, he claimed they "have discredited [Hawley's] claims already. They should have. There's no truth to what he says."

Durbin also claimed that Hawley is "part of the fringe within the Republican Party. This was a man who was fist-bumping the murderous mob that descended on the Capitol on January 6th of the last year. He doesn't have the credibility he thinks he does." Whatever Durbin means by his claim there, Hawley is a duly-elected senator and is a member of the committee that Jackson will go before. 

Durbin had addressed the irrelevant point about January 6 in a previous interview as well, highlighting the Democratic Party's obsession. 

The treatment of Justice Kavanaugh, when his character and personal life were maligned as he was accused of raping women at high school parties, did not come up once in Stephanopoulos' questioning. 

POLITICO Playbook for Sunday referenced Durbin's appearance, and also referred to the senator as one who "has built a reputation as a patient, fairly low-key liberal who is close with some Republicans." There was no mention of Kavanaugh in the Playbook until Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is the committee's ranking member, is quoted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

A couple of words you’ll hear over and over this week from Republicans is that they are going to be “fair” and “respectful” in the hearings.

— “We’re going to be fair, thorough and we’re not going to get in the gutter like the Democrats did with [BRETT] KAVANAUGH,” Sen. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa), the committee’s top Republican, told WSJ’s Natalie Andrews.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) was also on "This Week," emphasizing that the hearings "and the whole process is going to be fair, respectful and thorough." Stephanopoulos had asked if "what Senator Hawley was doing" amounted to "a process of character assassination."

Stephanopoulos isn't the only one to make such claims that that's what Hawley is doing. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus' now slightly updated headline reads "Josh Hawley lets us know how low the GOP plans to go in questioning Jackson," which had previously read "How low will the GOP go in taking on Ketanji Brown Jackson? Josh Hawley lets us know."

Barrasso also spoke with common sense that Democrats and their allies in the media may not have heard before. "And going through the record, there are some concerns that people have about her being perceived as soft on crime. That's all going to come out with the hearings but they're going to be respectful, they’re going to be thorough and they’re going to be fair, George," he explained to Stephanopoulos. 

When asked if "Senator Hawley's attacks were fair," Barrasso reminded him that "the last time we had a hearing with Kavanaugh, he was accused of being a serial rapist with no evidence whatsoever. So, I think we're going to have a fair process and a respectful process, unlike what the Democrats did to Justice Kavanaugh."

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was also repeatedly pressed by host Margaret Brennan if he would consider voting for Judge Jackson, whom he voted against when it came to her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year. 

McConnell also mentioned the Democrats' treatment of not just Justice Kavanaugh, but Justice Clarence Thomas. It was now President Joe Biden who conducted Thomas' hearing. 

"I'm going to listen to the evidence. I'm going to listen to the hearings. And by the way, she'll be treated much better than Democrats typically treated Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. It will be a respectful, deep-dive into her record, which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment," McConnell told Brennan.