Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
How could anyone forget Senator Lindsey Graham’s diatribe over Bret Kavanaugh’s treatment by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2018?
Since Justice Ginsburg passed, people have been expressing either their glee or dismay that whomever President Trump nominates for the seat on the Supreme Court will experience a virtual lynching by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But I’d like to suggest that Senator Graham, who is now head of the Committee, consider including the following remarks in his opening statement:
To My Colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee—
Two years have passed since the vote to seat Justice Bret Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. The memories of that process still sicken and distress me; I fear that no one has learned from that experience and decided to restore dignity to this committee or its interview process, and that the nominee will be treated as outrageously as Justice Kavanaugh.
Some of you are also upset because the President acted so promptly to fill that position. It is his right and obligation to do so. You may feel that it is disrespectful to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So instead of dwelling on that proposition, I suggest that we use Justice Ginsburg’s life as a testament to the way this Committee should proceed.
First, when interviewed following the approval of Justice Kavanaugh, Justice Ginsburg was disturbed by what had taken place. Her own nomination and interview process and that of her dear friend, Justice Antonin Scalia, were handled with dignity; both of them were overwhelmingly approved, in spite of their differences in viewpoints. She responded to a question about the past and the present:
California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu interviewed Ginsburg during the live discussion, asking her to compare her confirmation process to what was presently happening with Kavanaugh’s.
Ginsburg offered a succinct response, which was met by applause and laughter from the audience: ‘The way it was, was right. The way it is, is wrong.’
Justice Ginsburg also did not let politics get in the way of her working relationships with her colleagues, who were on both sides of the political spectrum. Here is Justice Thomas’ response to her death:
Thomas wrote he was heartbroken to learn of her passing. ‘Through the many challenges both professionally and personally, she was the essence of grace, civility and dignity. She was a superb judge who gave her best and exacted the best from each of us, whether in agreement or disagreement. And, as outstanding as she was as a judge, she was an even better colleague – unfailingly gracious, thoughtful, and civil.’ [italics are mine]
Justice Kagan also shared her thoughts:
‘Ruth reached out to encourage and assist me in my career, as she did for so many others, long before I came to the Supreme Court,’ Kagan said. ‘And she guided and inspired me, on matters large and small, once I became her colleague. I will miss her — her intellect, her generosity, her sly wit, her manifest integrity, and her endless capacity for work — for the rest of my life.’ [italics are mind]
Let’s remember Justice Ginsburg’s legacy today and throughout these procedures by pointing to her gift for kindness, professionalism, and courtesy, in our own interview procedures. Let’s transcend the past. Let’s remember her example of treating people with respect, no matter whether she agreed with their points of view or not.
Let’s use this moment to demonstrate to all Americans that the process for interviewing a nominee to the Supreme Court is not broken, and rise above our differences as we move forward.
Let’s honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
* * * * *
The possibility of Senator Graham beginning the hearings in this manner is slim to none. If he does, he will not only have put the Committee members on notice regarding their behavior, but he will be telling the country that there is one place where Justice Ginsburg will be honored, no matter who appears before the Committee.
We can hope.Published in