Ann Telnaes summarizes yesterday’s confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown-Jackson, which, as she notes, had nothing to do with assessing the judge’s qualification but were, instead, a chance for GOP politicians to compile sound bites.
Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) asked her a for-real question about allowing cameras in the Supreme Court, and she properly replied that — assuming she were confirmed — she’d need to confer with the other justices and consider the issues they raised.
However, this hearing brought up a problem long associated with CSPAN, which is that of people performing for the cameras.
It’s bad enough watching pre-game shows during football season with fools jumping up and down and screaming in the background, but twice as annoying when it’s the people with the microphones who are showing off and acting like idiots.
Hard to believe we wouldn’t get more intelligent, relevant questions in these confirmation hearings if the senators didn’t know they had a national audience.
Though I have to give Lindsey Graham an award for chutzpah for never mentioning Merrick Garland while grilling Brown Jackson relentlessly about Biden having — nearly 20 years ago — filibustered the nomination of a lower court judge.
Not that he’d be there to accept it, having walked out of the hearing after declaring his support for jailing people indefinitely without trials.
Speaking of which, Clay Jones declares former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson guilty of sexual assault even though a grand jury, having heard the testimony of all 22 masseuses, decided their accusations did not rise to the level of a criminal act.
For those who missed it, Watson stands accused of pressuring massage therapists to include a “happy ending,” as masturbation is called in the shady side of the business, including guiding their hands.
Jones, however, is declaring him guilty, though his essay contains several errors or dubious assumptions, starting with assuming that the Cleveland Browns, who traded for Watson, were being dishonest when they said they thoroughly examined the matter before making the transaction.
He also assumes that the grand jury felt the women lied, though the deliberations are not public, and that sexual impropriety accusations against Washington Commanders’ owner Dan Snyder have been ignored, which they have not been.
Beyond that, it becomes, well, “inside football,” because you’d first have to be enough of a fan to know that Watson’s former team has been imploding since the death of its former owner. Jones claims the Texans sat Watson because of assumed guilt, but, before the accusations, Watson had joined several prominent teammates in requesting a trade, saying he would not play for the team.
All of which comes before we try to figure out what he actually did, which requires having watched him at press conferences and knowing that he comes across as an awkwardly shy individual who may, indeed, be absolutely brilliant as an athlete but utterly clueless about the opposite sex.
Obviously, he did something. As NBC’s Mike Florio wrote
My take is that Watson is what the girls call a “creep,” someone who takes liberties not because he is a predator but because he doesn’t recognize limits and so should be avoided.
It’s not exactly an exclusive category, and it’s gravely disillusioning, because he has donated 173 homes to Habitat for Humanity and gave his first pro paycheck to some women who lost their houses in Hurricane Harvey. Nor is he stupid, having graduated from Clemson with honors in only three years.
None of which precludes him from behaving like a jackass with women, but the grand jury heard the details and decided he hadn’t crossed the line from creepiness into criminal behavior.
He still faces civil suits from the women, and, as Florio says, “Watson should settle the cases, now. He needs to put this behind him. He needs to make sure the 22 plaintiffs have gotten some sense of justice.”
The wheels of justice are still turning; we should put away the rope.
Correction: The district attorney only brought nine of the 22 complaints to the grand jury. Eight of the women testified and the jury returned nine no-bills, meaning they felt none of the charges rose to the level of a crime. More details here.
Shut up, Ted, as Telnaes explains.
The Kavanaugh debacle does, mind you, make an excellent argument for women filing complaints in a timely manner and presenting their evidence to a grand jury. What he was accused of went beyond “creepy” and well into “predator” and it’s a shame the witnesses weren’t collected and deposed at the time.
That certainly doesn’t rule out a judge making a stupid, indefensible decision, as seen in the case of a rapist given an absurdly light sentence, though voters subsequently recalled the judge, the first such vote in California in 80 years.
I’d like to see SCOTUS add someone who has worked in the Public Defender’s office, because money and status should not be how cases are decided, and, while the Constitution guarantees counsel, underfunded public defenders too often fail to truly meet that requirement.
My guess is that, while one vote among nine wouldn’t turn the tide, one person who knows WTF she’s talking about might well change deliberations and bend the arc in the right direction.
And maybe knowing that she’s at the top of the Ladder of Justice would encourage more victims to come forward.
Meanwhile, the real heartbreaker for rightwingers, as Rob Rogers tell us, is that they rejoiced to have it finally acknowledged that, yes, Hunter Biden did abandon a laptop at a repair shop and, yes, the FBI did get the information from it.
But the story hasn’t flown, apparently because nothing in the emails indicated crime.
Granted, the nepotism part stinks, but, then, just as the gang who filibustered Merrick Garland should STFU about Janice Rogers Brown, it’s hard to attack Biden for granting favors to his kid after four years of the Trumplings.
Not that consistency enters into things: The chair of the GOP attacked the president, apparently for not bringing his golf clubs.
Nor is there shame from the gang who demanded to see Obama and Brown Jackson’s grades but never asked to see Kavanaugh or Coney’s scores because, well, they just looked like the sort of people who could be smart.
Along which lines Senator Kennedy (R-La) got quite a surprise at yesterday’s hearings, as he told Judge Brown Jackson: “I find you to be very intelligent and very articulate.”
Lawzy, Mas’ Kennedy, how you do go on!