Wednesday, September 26, 2018

HAIL TO THE HYPOCRITES



©Wendell Griffen, 2018
Justice Is A Verb!
September 26, 2018

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:  justice and mercy and faith… You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!  Matthew 23:23-24 (New Revised Standard Version)

Those prophetic words by Jesus concerned moral and political leaders in Palestine during his lifetime.  They also apply, sadly, to evangelical religious conservatives and national political leaders regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). 

The Constitution of the United States vests authority in the President of the United States (POTUS) to nominate “Judges of the supreme court” (Article II, Section 2.2) “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.”  President Trump is the only person authorized to nominate Judge Kavanaugh to become Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  He is also the only person authorized to request an investigative report, in writing, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Justice Department concerning Judge Kavanaugh’s background for honesty, integrity, legal competence, and moral and ethical fitness. 

President Trump is the only person who can authorize the FBI to investigate the allegation by Dr. Christine Blassy Ford that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Ford when they were teenagers.

President Trump is the only person who can authorize the FBI to investigate the allegation by Deborah Ramirez that Judge Kavanaugh sexually exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale University. 

President Trump is the only person who can authorize the FBI to investigate reports by Judge Kavanaugh’s former schoolmates that Judge Kavanaugh engaged in boorish and offensive conduct during bouts of drinking when they attended high school, college, and law school. 

President Trump is the only person who can authorize the FBI to investigate whether Judge Kavanaugh's denials about the allegations are true.  He knows this.  Judge Kavanaugh knows this.  The members of the United States Senate know this.

Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the U.S. Senate are the people can request that President Trump direct the FBI to investigate the allegations that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, sexually exposed himself to Ms. Ramirez, and engaged in drunken and boorish conduct during his years in high school, college, and law school.  They refuse to do so. And they also refuse to subpoena people with knowledge about Judge Kavanaugh's background concerning the sexual assault, sexual exhibitionism, and intemperate drinking allegations.

President Trump despises the FBI and its investigative role because he despises the rule of law. Mr. Trump fired James Comey as Director of the FBI after Comey refused to declare personal allegiance to Trump.  President Trump regularly criticizes the FBI for investigating allegations about corrupt practices, dishonesty, and other misbehavior by Trump administration officials, by Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016), Trump’s personal attorney, and people involved in Trump’s business practices. 

President Trump is a notorious misogynist and self-admitted sexual predator.  He once described his daughter as “a fine piece of ass.”   He once bragged that his maleness, celebrity, and wealth enable him to forcibly grab women by their genitalia. 

Majority Leader McConnell and Chairman Grassley know these things about President Trump.  Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee know these things about President Trump.  They and other Republican members of the Senate are not requesting President Trump to authorize the FBI to investigate serious allegations of sexual assault, sexual exhibitionism, and intemperate drinking by Judge Kavanaugh.  

Those leaders know that President Trump despises the FBI. And they know the FBI is routinely trusted to conduct non-partisan investigations concerning the backgrounds of all federal judges.  Each member of the Senate could properly refuse to vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination unless and until the Senate Judiciary Committee has received an FBI report and had the opportunity to conduct proceedings concerning the allegations against him based on that report.  Any member of the Senate could publicly announce that he or she will not vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh unless and until the FBI has investigated the allegations, issued a report concerning them to the Office of the President and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Judiciary Committee members have included the report and any questions they have regarding it in confirmation hearings.  

It is telling that no Senator has announced that he or she will take that principled stance.  Their refusal to do so makes each Senator complicit with President Trump’s gross disregard for the rule of law.

Judge Kavanaugh denies the allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, exposed himself to Ms. Ramirez, and engaged in intemperate drinking.  However, because President Trump refuses to authorize the FBI to investigate those allegations, Judge Kavanaugh knows the allegations will not be investigated by the only non-partisan investigative agency authorized to question him and anyone else about them.  

Make no mistake, Judge Kavanaugh doesn't want an FBI investigation into those allegations.  Otherwise, Judge Kavanaugh would have issued a statement along the following lines:  "In the interest of transparency, the integrity of the confirmation process and the integrity of the Supreme Court, and justice, I ask President Trump to authorize the FBI to investigate the sexual assault, sexual exhibitionism, and drunken misconduct allegations that have been asserted against me.  For the same reasons, I also ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to suspend further consideration of my nomination until the FBI has conducted that investigation and issued a written report concerning the investigation to the Office of the President and to members of the Judiciary Committee.  I pledge to cooperate with FBI investigators and look forward to speaking with them concerning the allegations." 

Judge Kavanaugh has the power to issue that statement.  One word - hypocrisy - explains why he has not done so and will not do so.   

Wealthy donors to Republican politicians and self-proclaimed evangelical religious conservatives are determined to get Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court at all costs.  They want Judge Kavanaugh to overturn SCOTUS rulings that uphold reproductive freedom for women and girls.  They want Judge Kavanaugh to limit the power of federal agencies to protect people, animals, the air, soil, and water from health risks posed by corporate polluters.  They want Judge Kavanaugh to limit access to voting by people who have been historically disenfranchised.  They want Judge Kavanaugh to vote against protections for workers. 

Hail to the hypocrites!  One longs to see people who believe in justice, mercy, and faith denounce them the way Jesus did. 

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you ...have neglected… justice and mercy and faith… You blind guides!  You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! 


4 comments:

  1. THANK YOU JUDGE GRIFFEN FOR YOUR ENLIGHTENING ME TO THIS PROCESS AND YOUR WORDS OF WISDOM. AFTER READING I CAN CONCLUDE BY SAYING: "TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE HATE TO PEOPLE WHO HATE THE TRUTH".

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  2. Word, Ruby! Thanks for saying that. Stay real, Sister!

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  3. Keep on speaking truth to power. Be strong and courageous.

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