The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 57

However, it was never something that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s why the Democrats failed by highlighting these assaults. Lacking any concrete evidence, we were left with a he-said, she-said situation and a few calendars (which actually helped support the story of Dr. Ford.) We got great soundbites like “I like beer!,” but that’s hardly enough to keep someone off the court. A proper investigation or a fair hearing in the Senate could have proven the case, but with Republicans controlling the chamber that was never a possibility. So the witnesses and corroborators were completely ignored. The same can be said of the FBI investigation, which the White House had limited in scope and depth. Without the agency speaking to people who were there, we had no chance at proving that Kavanaugh was the monster these women claimed he was. Even though we knew they were telling the truth and that the investigations were a sham, without Democratic control in the Senate the Democrats were forced to sit there, angry and powerless to stop this man from tipping the balance of the court for a generation. But it didn’t have to be that way. Brett Kavanaugh perjured himself multiple times in front of the U.S. Senate in both 2004 and 2006. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy was absolutely obliterating Kavanaugh during his hearings on this issue, prior to the accusers coming forward. Had Democrats used the perjury issue as the initial attack and then dealt the fatal blow with the sexual assault allegations, Kavanaugh would likely be a private citizen today instead of a Supreme Court Justice. Here’s the perjury story: While working in the Bush administration, Brett Kavanaugh received stolen emails from Senate Democrats that laid out their talking points and lines of attacks for George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Kavanaugh helped to disseminate these talking points to the administration and to the nominees so that they could prepare a counter attack when they came before the Judiciary Committee for their hearings. The email hack was illegal, and Kavanaugh received these stolen emails and helped distribute them. One of the Democrats whose emails were hacked was Patrick Leahy, and he was prepared to take Kavanaugh down over the issue in the 2018 hearings. When Bush first nominated Kavanaugh for a lifetime judicial appointment in 2004, he lied about receiving these stolen emails, even though emails showed that he had them and that he dispersed them. Kavanaugh was busted cold and his nomination was withdrawn. In 2006, Kavanaugh was nominated again, asked about the emails, lied about it, but still managed to get an appointment. Again, the Democrats could have focused on the perjury, the stolen emails, and the general corrupt nature of Kavanaugh. They could have hammered him on the fact that he rules more than 85% of the time on the side of corporations instead of people, showing that he has a clear bias towards corporate interests and cannot possibly be an impartial judge. Instead, they went with the assault issue which was impossible to prove. It was certainly the most important story, but when you lack solid, concrete evidence, you go with the smaller issues that can be proven from the outset. With Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court, the balance of power tips towards conservatives (corporations) and we’re now stuck with that for years to come. And with the Democrats losing more seats in the Senate in the midterms, they have even less bargaining power to stop the onslaught of lower court judges that keep coming from this administration. The Lower Court Takeover As mentioned above, Donald Trump inherited more than 100 judicial vacancies from the Obama administration, and that doesn’t include the Supreme Court justices that he has appointed. And he and the Republicans in the Senate have wasted no time in packing as many corporate-friendly judges as they can onto the lower courts. The biggest problem, aside from the corporate takeover of the judiciary, is that the public doesn’t pay attention to the lower courts. These are the courts where most cases are decided, yet the public only pays attention when the Supreme Court is on the line. The public was glued to their televisions during the Kavanaugh hearings, while most of them aren’t aware that more than 70 corporate conservative judges had been given lifetime appointments before the end of 2018, on top of nearly 50 judges in 2017. Thanks to this rapid-fire nomination and confirmation process, 15% of the judges on federal Circuit Courts are now Trump appointees. To add insult to injury, Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer in the Senate, have helped Republicans pack the courts. Prior to the midterms, Schumer cut a deal with Mitch McConnell on two separate occasions to fast-track Trump’s judicial appointments in exchange for an early recess. In September, Schumer cut a deal to leave early so Democrats could go home and campaign in exchange for a rubber stamp approval on 11 Republican judges. In October, he made the same deal in exchange for 15 Republican judges. Those stories weren’t even a blip on the media’s or the public’s radars, but they accounted for 26 corporate-friendly judges who are reshaping the legal landscape in a way that will screw over consumers for a generation. Supreme Court seats are the bonus round — The real victories happen for Republicans at the circuit and appellate levels, and that’s where the real damage is being done. This was always the plan for the Party, and that is why Republicans have changed their tune about Trump. In the early days of this administration, there were plenty of Republicans willing to speak out publicly about how much they dislike Trump (even though they almost always voted for his policies and nominees) but the chorus of anti-Trumpers in the Republican Party has grown smaller and quieter in the last few months. The reason that they are closing their mouths and extending their arms to Trump is because he’s accomplishing their goals — and the goals of their corporate donors — by packing the courts with judges who have no intention of ever siding with consumers. In the end, George Conway is correct about today’s Republican Party: They have sold their souls for judges. The Trial Lawyer x 55