Following the emotionally charged Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, the editors of National Review published a strong endorsement for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — a confirmation they described as having taken on a larger significance to the country.
"The larger principle here is that it would be a disaster for American democracy — and American culture more generally — if mere charges were deemed sufficient to cast widely respected figures to the curb," the editors write.
National Review's call for the confirmation of Kavanaugh begins by underscoring that while the hearing Thursday was "at times compelling, at times emotional, and at times frustrating," at no point was it "transformational."
"When the day started, there was no corroborating evidence behind any of the charges leveled against Kavanaugh. That remains the case now," the editorial reads. Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, "acquitted herself well" and, as stressed by Kavanaugh himself, may well have experienced sexual assault by someone in the past, the editors state, but the fact remains that no evidence corroborates her claims against Kavanaugh:
Every single named witness has either rejected Ford’s story outright or testified that he or she has no memory of it. One of those witnesses, a lifetime friend of Ford’s, not only affirmed she had never attended a party with Kavanaugh — with or without Ford — but that she did not in fact know him at all. And, as Ford herself acknowledged, there are serious gaps in her account.
Like Ford's, Kavanaugh's testimony was compelling, they write, and his belief in his own innocence was clear:
That Kavanaugh believes himself to be wholly innocent was clear from his extraordinary opening statement. Rarely in American life has any figure pushed back so indignantly or professed his innocence with more vehemence. His reputation, Kavanaugh insisted, had been “totally and permanently destroyed,” his life made a living “hell.” Echoing Clarence Thomas in 1991, Kavanaugh described the last ten days as a “circus” and repeated on more than one occasion that he had wanted to appear at a hearing from the moment the charges had been presented. Frequently, he broke down into tears.
National Review highlights the "noticeably muted" response from Democrats to Kavanaugh's impassioned and powerful defense of his own innocence. "Perhaps the vagueness of the charges they had been asked to consider had made their jobs effectively impossible," they write. "Perhaps they had been shocked by the intensity of the accused’s protestations. Either way, the ten members of the minority descended swiftly into repetition — and, at times, into farce."
After noting some of the more absurd tactics of Democratic committee members, including "litigating his high-school yearbook" — which Kavanaugh refuted with equal passion and righteous indignation — the editors describe the larger implications of his confirmation:
Kavanaugh said repeatedly that his reputation and career must not be laid waste by an accusation that he denied and for which there is no independent evidence. The larger principle here is that it would be a disaster for American democracy — and American culture more generally — if mere charges were deemed sufficient to cast widely respected figures to the curb. At various points during this saga it has been suggested that, irrespective of their veracity, the allegations against Kavanaugh could “cast a shadow on the Court.” If permitted to stand, this view would bring untold peril to our public life. “I have accused you,” any opponent would be able to say, “and that fact renders you ineligible for this position.”
"In support of his innocence, Judge Kavanaugh has today’s testimony, and the reams of information provided over the last two weeks. In support of his suitability for the role for which he has been proposed, he has his life’s work," the National Review editors conclude. "The Senate should confirm him — and without delay."