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The Brett Kavanaugh Snowflake ‘Emergency’

Akhil Reed Amar is a prominent professor at Yale Law School, and a noted liberal. He wrote a piece for the NYT yesterday in praise of Brett Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the US Supreme Court. [1] Excerpt:

The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice is President Trump’s finest hour, his classiest move. Last week the president promised to select “someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgment, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States.” In picking Judge Kavanaugh, he has done just that.

In 2016, I strongly supported Hillary Clinton for president as well as President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. But today, with the exception of the current justices and Judge Garland, it is hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as those of Judge Kavanaugh.

Prof. Amar is a traitor to his class, it appears. Look at this open letter [2] from some Yale Law School alumni, students, and teachers, addressed to the dean and faculty, regarding the school’s press release noting with pride that Judge Kavanaugh is a Yale Law graduate. Excerpts:

Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country. His nomination is not an interesting intellectual exercise to be debated amongst classmates and scholars in seminar. Support for Judge Kavanaugh is not apolitical. It is a political choice about the meaning of the constitution and our vision of democracy, a choice with real consequences for real people. Without a doubt, Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the most vulnerable. He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are.

They list some of Kavanaugh’s rulings to which they object. And then:

We see in these rulings an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue intent on rolling back our rights and the rights of our clients. Judge Kavanaugh’s resume is certainly marked by prestige, groomed for exactly this nomination. But degrees and clerkships should not be the only, or even the primary, credential for a Supreme Court appointment. A commitment to law and justice is.

Now is the time for moral courage — which for Yale Law School comes at so little cost. Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh’s ascendent power if you withhold your support. Perhaps Judge Kavanaugh will be less likely to hire your favorite students. But people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it. Please use your authority and platform to expose the stakes of this moment and the threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses.


It doesn’t bother me that liberals oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination. What makes me angry, though, are these supremely privileged twits declaring that the Kavanaugh nomination is an “emergency” and a threat to their “safety.” What they are declaring is that no matter how hard you work, and how much you achieve, if you don’t share their politics, your very existence is a cause for panic, and a justification for them to stop you by any means necessary. “People will die if he is confirmed.” Where do they think that kind of hysterical rhetoric is going to lead?

These signatories — who, note well, do not represent all of the Yale Law community — are among the most privileged people in the world, but they pose as victims. The ideology they live by is contemptible. How do they expect to live in the real world?

Prof. Amar points out in his piece that the hard truth is that Democrats control neither the presidency nor the Senate. In Amar’s view, Brett Kavanaugh, who was his student at Yale, is the best they can hope for from a Republican president. Perhaps the problem with the open letter’s signatories is not Kavanaugh per se, but that the existence of a supremely qualified Republican nominee is an “emergency” and a threat to their “safety.”

The GOP base doesn’t seem likely to be fired up by the Kavanaugh nomination, but you watch: liberals like this are going to have a napalm effect on conservatives. They can’t help themselves. They live in such a privileged bubble that they have no idea how they look and sound to those who aren’t so delicate.

153 Comments (Open | Close)

153 Comments To "The Brett Kavanaugh Snowflake ‘Emergency’"

#1 Comment By WAB On July 13, 2018 @ 9:29 am

Jrm says: “I frankly don’t give a s****. Two words “Merrick Garland.” Scorched earth from now on. We will wait until the next presidential election. That’s the rule, now.”

I’m there with you. And why wait for an opening on the SCOTUS? Nothing in the Constitution says we can’t add three more. Time to take the gloves off.

#2 Comment By Steven On July 13, 2018 @ 10:07 am

Tsk tsk, JonF, you assume too much and read things into my answer that simply aren’t there.

re:”Oh, a polite way of saying “I got mine! F*** the poor.” ”

I said no such thing, neither politely nor implicitly.

I said (perhaps with too much rhetorical meandering. and maybe too much pedantry) that the question you asked seemed an unanswerable platitude because it was so light on specifics.

For the record, I believe we should concern ourselves with the poor. But without identifying what “concern” means or how that concern should be expressed, or how much “more” concern we should express towards the poor than the non-poor…or even if we should express “more” concern at all towards one group over another, etc…all these things make for a VERY loaded statement.

Should we be more concerned for the sick than the healthy? Probably, in general. What if the sick are rich and the healthy are poor? Hoo boy, now we’ve got some interesting metrics on our hands…

…Or perhaps we just shouldn’t rely on the sentiment of platitudes to carry the heavy burden of making an argument.

…and, perhaps, we shouldn’t assume that the only motivation for drawing different conclusions to such vague and open-ended scenarios is selfishness and greed.

re:”No, it’s your ilk who wants to start tossing people off the lifeboat so you can have more room and comfort for yourselves. ”

You know very little about me, but because I dared take issue with your rhetorical question, I seem to have morphed into a cartoon robber baron throwing poor souls into the ocean depths solely because they had the audacity to exist in less fortunate circumstances than mine. Eff ’em! Eff ’em all, I say! Mwuahahaha!

I’m not quite sure how you jumped to this conclusion. The impression I get is that you have a major chip on your shoulder to be so uncharitable. (#LiberalEmpathy, indeed.)

To be fair: I think I have a chip of my own. With the recent immigration issues, in particular, I’ve seen a good many (primarily Liberal and often Christian, it seems) people tacitly sum up their argument as being an all-but-direct-quote from Jesus Christ, himself (er go: if you have a problem with it, take it up with him.)

This is all said with a bit of a shrug at the end to punctuate the sentiment: Well, it’s not my fault you hate goodness, Jesus, and Liberty and Justice for All. (Amen.)

As I said earlier (although I don’t think it was directed to you at the time): this type of self-proclaimed Liberal (and often Christian, no less!) Empathy ™ I keep hearing about is a tough pill to swallow when the people hawking it seem so quick to mis-characterize dissension in such a way.

(For the record and for clarity’s sake: I’m a Christian, as well.)

#3 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 13, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

There is a basic problem with either being “concerned for the poor” or (taking a more socialist position) organizing the poor AS the poor. Nobody wants to be poor. Nobody wants to identify as poor, except a mooch who is delivering a pitch, and then they want to pretend not to be poor as soon as they put a little money together.

You can organize underpaid, oppressed truck drivers, get them a good union contract, and they still proudly call themselves Teamsters. But if you organize a Poor People’s Campaign, either it will be an utter failure, or nobody will be left to fill the ranks once they are no longer poor. Like Rufus told the liberal Reverend at Walden Pond in the old Doonesbury cartoons, “This porridge sure is good. I don’t even mind the slightly patronizing flavor it has.”