Brett Kavanaugh has been approved as the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. But the Left, which cannot stand the thought of losing something like a Supreme Court seat, went all-out to destroy Kavanaugh. Many progressives fought his nomination up to the bitter end. Some are still looking to fight his nomination after-the-fact by trying to impeach him.
Why is the Left so determined to destroy this man? Now that this fight is won, we need to look at what happened to try and understand why.
The Man of the Hour
Kavanaugh has a typical Republican political background. He attended prep school in Maryland, followed by Yale for undergrad and law degrees. His first major position was with Kenneth Starr, investigating the misdeeds of Bill Clinton. He followed this with positions in the White House of George W. Bush, and was named to the federal bench in 2003.
Philosophically, Kavanaugh is not known as a hard-cord originalist like Antonin Scalia, though he’s certainly on the textualist side. His reputation has been that a quiet, Catholic father and husband. He was, for all intents and purposes, a mainstream man and center-right jurist.
And in a few weeks, all of this was burn to ash.
A Smear Campaign
To oppose Kavanaugh, the progressive Left deployed some of the most vitriolic tactics we’ve seen in modern politics. Leftists produced multiple accusations of rape, sexual assault, and drunken behavior–all of which were from over thirty years ago, when Kavanaugh was in high school and college. Multiple women were brought in to publicly accuse him of vile behavior. Some accusations were hurled so quickly, it was hard to follow them in the news cycle.
The Left’s decision to use smears aroused more than one person to fight. Their attacks were so vile, almost everyone to the right of Diane Feinstein came to his defense. Mainline conservatives and libertarians, some of whom have serious questions about Kavanaugh’s ability to serve the Constitution, ended defending him if only because the Left was so evil.
The strongest defender, however, may have been Kavanaugh himself. During a dramatic hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh fought back with intelligence, fire and tears. In a speech which made heads explode, he accused Democratic Senators of playing politics with the highest court in the land.
After further drama and delay by some Democrats, the smear campaign ultimately failed. Brett Kavanuagh was confirmed and sworn in as the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Why Some Fear Kavanaugh
Why did so many people try to utterly destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s public image and career? Because Kavanaugh represents to the Left something they fear: loss of political control.
The Supreme Court, for many years, was controlled by progressive jurists. This control granted the Left the ability to achieve things it could not achieve through the ballot box. For example, when Californians passed Proposition 8 and banned gay marriage, the Supreme Court struck it down. Eventually, all debate over marriage and the legality of “gay marriage” was ended by Obergefell v. Hodges.
But, like other American institutions, the Supreme Court has been corrupted by Leftist ideologies. Their beliefs are not like those of Burke, whose ideas helped shape America’s founding. Nor are they like Hayek, whose defense of classic liberalism still shapes government. These thinkers argued that individuals and groups should each pursue their own ends and interests under the general protection of the law. The common person should be able to live without interference from the state.
For the Left, such a benign vision of society is otiose. The Left adores unity, and wishes to unify all of us around their beliefs. Leftists know their ideas often won’t win if placed before the citizenry. Thus, the courts–and especially the Supreme Court–are often used as an end-run around normal politics. The Left can enforce its vision even when the people disagree.
Whose Vision Will Win
English philosopher Roger Scruton, in his book How to Be A Conservative, noted a perverse desire in the Left. This desire is to make everyone in society pursue the goals the Left sets. Everything must be bent so that what the Left values stands at the center of things. Without the power to bend institutions and individuals towards their goals, they believe these things to be evil, or at the very least lacking in an enlightened purpose.
This is the real philosophical basis for many on the Left opposing Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh sitting on the Court means that retrograde ideas are winning. So the Left’s mission to remake the Court in its image is halted, at least for now. That roadblock in the road to their ideal society goes against their vision of themselves as bringers of a new tomorrow.
Now, as if on cue, some on the Left are instead trying to destroy the Supreme Court.
Scruton has already explained this, too, when he wrote that the Left delegitimizes institutions by judging them by heightened standards. The Left applies a standard so high, no institution can hope to pass it. Institutions are only good when they are filled by Leftists and pursue Leftist goals. When an institution or public person isn’t to the Left of Maxine Waters, it is hopelessly devoid of goodness.
If this is what winning looks like, we should all hope for more. For the worse the Left behaves, the better we look.