September 21, 2019

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Kavanaugh and the Crisis of Legitimacy: Why the Supreme Court justice became a symbol of polarization.

Democrats are not dissuaded by the fact that Kavanaugh and the Court unite the conservative movement and Republican Party like no other figure and issue. What counts to them is the Democratic base, not the Republican one. Anger, outrage, and animosity whip up voters, boost enthusiasm, and drive people to the polls.

Nor does it matter to the activist left if the source of the allegation did not speak to the Times; if the alleged victim does not recall the incident; if the Times accompanied its story with a weird and gross tweet that it later deleted; if everyone involved in the publication of the essay turned on each other in an orgy of blame-shifting and buck-passing; if one of the authors resorted to sharing Vox articles on social media to rationalize her behavior. The goal is neither objectivity nor factuality. It is de-legitimization.

All of the Kavanaugh coverage for the last year has been intended to undermine his confirmation and subsequent rulings and lay the predicate for structural reform of the U.S. judiciary if the Democrats win the presidency and Senate. The disastrous rollout of this latest smear has had the ironic effect of highlighting the weakness of the original charges against him.

Of course, the party that has relied heavily on rule by judiciary is still shooting itself in the foot if it delegitimizes the Supreme Court.

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