I have been watching and listening to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings for the past three days. Here is, approximately, how they have gone. I have skipped large sections for no clear reason, just as we have done with Kavanaugh’s papers.
Democratic Senator: First, I object to this hearing happening at all, on the grounds that there are still thousands, if not millions of pages of documents that we have not been able to see. I would like to see them! I object!
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): Well, I . . . don’t object.
Democratic Senator: BY GOD, SIR, BY GOD, IF THERE IS NOTHING TO HIDE, WHY THE RUSH? WHERE, AT THE END, IS YOUR DECENCY? I AM RAISING A CORRECT POINT, BUT I AM ALSO A LITTLE OVER THE TOP, WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE CASE FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS.
Grassley: Let’s hear from people who support you, Judge.
Female Lawyer: I am a liberal Democrat, and a woman. I would have voted for Barack Obama three times if I could have! That wasn’t a reference to “Get Out,” at least not on purpose. I would just like to testify that Judge Kavanaugh is a very, very qualified judge and really, what more could we hope for? Go RBG! I wish she were all nine of the judges. The future is female. The present is Brett Kavanaugh. I have a pink hat at home!
Kavanaugh Acquaintance: No one should worry that Judge Kavanaugh lacks the capacity to understand their experiences. Not only does he do frequent volunteer work, but has been a fierce advocate for the most downtrodden members of our carpool.
Republican Senator: Judge Kavanaugh, would you describe yourself as God’s gift to the court, or as God’s gift to all mankind? Why is your handwriting so terrific and your hair so sumptuous? Is it true that you have never really been wrong? Is there anything you would like to add?
Kavanaugh: (gravely) 9/11.
Democratic Senator: Do you believe Roe v. Wade was correctly decided?
Kavanaugh: I believe that Roe v. Wade was decided in the past.
Democratic Senator: Correctly?
Kavanaugh: I coach a girls’ basketball team.
Democratic Senator: You’ve said Brown v. Board was a great decision. Do you believe that Obergefell v. Hodges was a great decision?
Kavanaugh: I believe that Obergefell was written by Justice Kennedy.
Democratic Senator: Do you agree with it?
Kavanaugh: I can quote it!
Democratic Senator: What is your view of whether the president is subject to law?
Kavanaugh: I believe that U.S. v. Nixon is one of the most correctly decided cases in the history of the Supreme Court.
Democratic Senator: *sigh of relief*
Kavanaugh: …in the year 1974 by Justice Burger about Richard Nixon.
Democratic Senator: Can we conclude anything from this?
Kavanaugh: I coach a girls’ basketball team.
Democratic Senator: Judge Kavanaugh, have you ever known hardship?
Kavanaugh: My father sent me to hardship camp for many summers. I grew up on the mean streets of Bethesda, where you couldn’t walk outside without the risk of being hit in the head by a stray lacrosse ball. I do not live in a bubble.
Republican Senator: How much do you respect women?
Kavanaugh: Look, I’ve hired many women, which, well, it’s not nothing. My daughters, both women. My wife, a woman. My mother, a woman. Most of the people protesting my confirmation in Handmaid’s Tale outfits seem to be women. So I think as far as women go, I’m good.
Democratic Senator: What about your dissent in the case of a 17-year-old immigrant in custody who was seeking an abortion before a state-imposed deadline?
Kavanaugh: Look, that was not my opinion. I, personally, have no opinions. That was just an opinion that I wrote. I did not think that was what should happen. I am a judge. I judged that that was what should happen.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): Did you talk to anyone at the president’s law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, about the special counsel?
Kavanaugh: Kasow? Ka- you made a sound, but I’m not familiar. Ka, like a crow? Sow, like a needle pulling thread? Wits, like more than one wit?
Harris: Wow, I did not actually have anything on you, but now I think maybe I do have something on you after all.
Kavanaugh: What do you know?
Harris: Um, please, tell me!
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.): As Spartacus so famously said, “This is my Spartacus Moment.” I am not Spartacus, though, just a guy who is boldly releasing some emails that may or may not have already been cleared for release. It’s a gesture. It’s important to make gestures! Why were these confidential, again? I also have some good questions for you about voting rights and discrimination protections for LGBT people.
Kavanaugh: I cannot venture an opinion on any of this, but I assure you that I have some thoughts about it.
Booker: Any hints of how you will rule on anything?
Kavanaugh: As Ruth Bader Ginsburg wisely said, no.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): Before we continue, I am just appalled that your children cannot watch this confirmation hearing. I cannot believe that these protesters have singlehandedly lowered the tone of debate in America, more than anyone ever has. Do not tell me who is the president, I do not want to know. This is the greatest tragedy facing this country today. Imagine, someone’s children being separated from their parent for a period of hours while he goes before the Senate. Anyway, do you think that it will be good when judges can finally get rid of made-up, imaginary rights from cases like Roe and Obergefell?
Kavanaugh: I do not think that monks should have to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. I hope that is what birth control is, or there will really be egg on my face! Does anyone know what “birth control” is, though? I do know one thing: you can’t spell “prophylaxis” without “Axis,” which is what we fought against in World War II. If I do not appear knowledgeable on this subject, do not worry; it will probably only affect you if you have a womb, which is, I think, like six people? I want to say six. I coach a girls’ basketball team.
Democratic Senator: Can you please just promise that you think the president is subject to the law?
Kavanaugh: What an outlandish hypothetical question! I could not possibly answer.
Democratic Senator: Some say you are being selected explicitly because you will stop special counsel Mueller and you wrote that presidents should not be distracted by investigations.
Kavanaugh: Even assuming that an investigation headed by a man named Mueller did exist — what an imagination you have! — I of course cannot speak to hypothetical cases.
[Merrick Garland’s ghost rattles all the papers in the room (not very many papers). Everyone feels a slight chill. They pretend not to notice.]