While the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the 114th Supreme Court justice, with 49 Republican senators voting yes and a lone Democrat joining them, the aftermath is grim for both parties, although the Democrats are chiefly responsible for the mess.
The U.S. Senate is supposed to be a body of elder statesmen—well-informed and full of wisdom. Senators are allegedly all-in-all experienced enough to give advice and consent to the president, to affirm appointments and treaties, to originate legislation, and to approve or disapprove spending bills originating from the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Senate derives its name from one of the oldest and most venerated political bodies in history: the old Roman Senate, which, at one time, ruled the Mediterranean world.
The Senate today hasn’t lived up to its namesake.
Lacking in Virtues
There is, in the U.S. Senate, a deficit of three cardinal virtues—justice, prudence, and courage.
First, we saw a process in which a venerated federal judge was publicly humiliated and defamed on account of a series of inappropriate Senate decisions. The Senate inquiry into the sexual-assault allegations brought by Christine Blasey Ford should have been handled quietly, without dragging Kavanaugh’s name through the mud.
It was a flawed and inappropriate process, which fed into an irrational lynch-mob hysteria. The press fanned that hysteria and bears a degree of blame, but the Senate facilitated the situation, fueled it and took no preventative measures.
The Senate made a spectacle where none was needed, bringing discredit on itself and the U.S. political system.
Secondly, with regard to the virtue of prudence, some senators affirmed that Ford was a “credible” witness.
On what grounds? Did they know her character? No. Did they know her background? No. What they learned during the hearing was that her testimony was uncorroborated. She accused Kavanaugh of a crime. However, she couldn’t say when or where the alleged crime took place.
No character witnesses were heard on her behalf. In essence, her credibility wasn’t verified, yet the senators affirmed—against the dictates of prudence—that her testimony was “credible.” This, in itself, is disgraceful.
What fool goes through life giving trust and credit to persons of unknown quality?
One Credible Witness
If we are to give a true account, Kavanaugh alone was the credible witness at the hearing. He was and is a respected federal judge, whose reputation has been tested, whose character has been repeatedly investigated and approved.
Besides this, the Senate hearing room was filled with Kavanaugh’s colleagues and friends. Each was ready to bear witness to his good character. Some, in fact, gave their testimony before openly hostile television “journalists.”
On the other side, which of Ford’s friends appeared on television? What supportive relatives were present at the hearings attesting to Ford’s veracity?
One cannot safely live in a world like ours while so frivolously assigning credibility. There is no prudence in affirming a witness whose testimony is uncorroborated and whose story has inexplicably changed in its details. Prudence dictates that persons of unknown quality be treated with reserve.
Third, with regard to the virtue of courage: There is reason to suspect that many senators affirmed Ford’s credibility out of cowardice. Instead of speaking in favor of Kavanaugh, they spoke in favor of someone they didn’t know. They did this out of fear, in an atmosphere reminiscent of a witch hunt, with rising threats of violence, irrational public outbursts and other behaviors that senatorial gravitas should have disdained.
The senators (with a few noteworthy exceptions) bent the knee to something sinister. They feared the irrational moment. They feared a backlash from women, as if an honest assessment required adherence to feminist slogans. Obedience to such slogans is spineless and shameful.
The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings revealed a serious problem with the Senate. The Senate has shown itself subservient to an irresponsible media outcry and a fabricated public opinion. Senators should be exemplars of justice, prudence, and courage.
It is disappointing when they facilitate defamation and hysteria fed by the worst journalism this country has ever seen. Kavanaugh himself scolded the Senate with the following words: “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.” He later added, “You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”
Statesmanship is required to sustain a republic. With a few noteworthy exceptions, we find a Senate of partisans, fools, and utter cowards. Otherwise, we couldn’t have seen what we have witnessed. If the Senate had the virtue of justice, Ford’s allegations would have been investigated quietly.
If the Senate had the virtue of prudence, Ford’s testimony would not have been judged “credible.” If the Senate majority had the virtue of courage, they wouldn’t have given such leeway to the country’s enemies.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.