Dianne Feinstein's Mind-Boggling Decision

During a recent television interview on MSNBC, Elie Mystal opined that "if Kavanaugh succeeds, it is a moral failing of the process."  Mystal is right in one respect: there was a moral failure.  However, it has nothing to do with Judge Kavanaugh or the Republicans.  Rather, the "moral" failure is solely attributable to Dianne Feinstein.

During Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, some Senate Democrats complained that they were not given numerous documents regarding Judge Kavanaugh (i.e., the entire record).  They asked to delay the hearing until such time as the records were produced.  However, at the same time that they were crying foul, Dianne Feinstein secretly withheld a document she allegedly received in July and did not disclose until after the hearing was over.

This "gotcha" eleventh-hour disclosure is yet another chapter in the interminable and embarrassing confirmation process.  The fact that it was first disclosed after the hearing and before the vote (although Feinstein knew about it in July) renders the timing and the motivation behind the disclosure suspicious.  Further fueling this feeling of skepticism is the Democrats' stated desire to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation and the fact that some Democrats have refused to objectively consider any of President Trump's nominees.  ("Some Democrats said they don't have to wait for President Trump to pick a Supreme Court nominee – they're voting 'no' regardless of who [sic] he names.")

While Mystal asserts that Kavanaugh's success would signify a moral failing, his objectivity is a bit elusive, given some of his recent comments.  In a recent article, Mystal stated: "Process is missing because Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by Donald Trump: one of the laziest men in the entire country, and almost certainly the laziest man to ever inhabit the office of the President of the United States.  Kavanaugh was not carefully 'vetted' by an executive operation that cares about the integrity of the third branch of government.  Trump and his dysfunctional White House are incapable of such tasks."

Mystal further stated that "Kavanaugh was vetted by the Republicans in the United States Senate.  That body is also not concerned about the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court ... one might argue that the Senate should be.  But this is the same group of people who refused to meet with a qualified nominee based on allegations that he was nominated by Barack Obama.  The Senate wouldn't recognize integrity if it set itself on fire on the Senate floor."

While Mystal is entitled to his opinions about the president and Republicans, this is not a question about vetting.  Dianne Feinstein had this information for months and did not disclose it.  Kavanaugh went through days of intense questioning by Republican and Democratic senators.  During that time period, not one senator asked about this alleged incident.  While some senators might claim they did not know about it, Feinstein did, and she did not think it was important enough to raise or to share with her colleagues.  According to an article in The New Yorker:

For several days, Feinstein declined requests from other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to share the woman's letter and other relevant communications.  A source familiar with the committee's activities said that Feinstein's staff initially conveyed to other Democratic members' offices that the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion, and that Feinstein had "taken care of it."

There is no conceivable reason why Feinstein did not ask Kavanaugh about this alleged incident before, or during, the confirmation hearing.  If she was concerned about Kavanaugh's character, she had an obligation to ask him about this alleged incident.  If she was worried about the individual's privacy, she could have simply redacted the person's name.  Members of the Judiciary Committee should be furious with her decision to withhold the information.

Sources who worked for other members of the Judiciary Committee said that they respected the need to protect the woman's privacy, but that they didn't understand why Feinstein had resisted answering legitimate questions about the allegation.  "We couldn't understand what their rationale is for not briefing members on this.  This is all very weird," one of the congressional sources said.  Another added, "She's had the letter since late July.  And we all just found out about it."

Dianne Feinstein's decision to withhold this information from the committee was significant.  The senators should have had the opportunity to thoroughly question Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearing.  His possible life appointment to the bench and the cases he will be deciding call for a judge of the highest ethical and moral standards.  By failing to disclose this information early on, Feinstein did a disservice to herself, her colleagues, and the American public.

Mr. Hakim is a writer and a lawyer.  His articles have been published in The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, World Net Daily, and other online publications.


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