Musings: Congressional disgrace

Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties are showing themselves to be equally guilty of ignoring their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution. They’d both rather promote their own partisan political agenda than do what they’re required to do. But what else is new?

The latest evidence stems from the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning witnesses during the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings. They are showing their allegiance to pandering for votes, not the Constitution. The political theatre on display last Thursday and Friday makes that obvious, not for what was said and asked but, rather, what wasn’t discussed.

A brief recap: President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, a federal judge, to the Supreme Court. The Democrats don’t want him on the bench. Business as usual. But, in July, Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat from California, received a letter from a woman alleging Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers more than 30 years ago. She was 15 at the time, Kavanaugh was 17. Feinstein waited until September to reveal the information.

Republicans want Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court with the hope he will vote and opine on cases the way the GOP wants. And since the nominee was chosen by a Republican president, they get to kiss the ring.

If the allegations of sexual assault are true, Kavanaugh shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court — or maybe any other court, either. But the thing is, he shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court anyway because he doesn’t fully support the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment

Brett Kavanaugh helped write the Patriot Act, that piece of post 9/11 legislation that the federal government — and some state and local governments — has been using to violate the Fourth.

The amendment reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

This amendment acknowledges a person’s right to be left alone, the right to privacy. It says the government needs probable cause for a warrant, meaning that there's probable cause of a crime having been committed. But the Patriot Act allows federal agents to write their own warrants, no judge needed. Additionally, the person who’s served the search warrant isn’t allowed to tell anyone he or she was served. That’s a violation of the First Amendment.

The nominee is also on record as saying the warrantless metadata collection of all phone calls is consistent with the Fourth Amendment. Really, dude? Seriously?

If the president or his advisors cared about the Constitution (Remember that oath of office thing?), Brett Kavanaugh would never have been nominated, but they don’t care.

But neither do the Democrats. No, they’d rather go for the salacious, the allegations that a teenager might have sexually assaulted another teenager. They’d rather talk about sex, underage drinking, vomiting and flatulence than about whether a Supreme Court nominee actually understands the Constitution.

There was a time when Democrats wanted to talk about civil liberties and would challenge any Republican-sponsored piece of legislation they thought would violate due process. No more. Democrats never stood up to former President Barrack Obama when he ordered two American citizens killed without any level of due process. No charges, no trial, just a star chamber-like decision in a “kill meeting.”

The Republicans didn’t push back against that either. They didn’t care about due process in that matter, and the Democrats don’t care about constitutional guarantees when conducting hearings on a Supreme Court nomination.

So, this question comes to mind: Could it be they both like some violations of what is considered to be the law of the land? It appears the answer is yes.

We know the Democrats will be voting no on the appointment. But wouldn’t it be interesting if a number of Republican senators also voted no and said they did so because of the nominee’s position that the Patriot Act supersedes the constitutional guarantees? But I won’t hold my breath.

Again, if Brett Kavanaugh did assault the woman 36 years ago, he should not be on the Supreme Court. And even if he didn’t he shouldn’t be on the court because of his assault on constitutionally guaranteed liberties. Yet, neither of the two old, too old parties care about upholding the Constitution, and that’s disgraceful. But the majority of the voting public doesn’t care either. They’d rather wave their elephant and donkey flags and root for their team than make sure those they elected uphold their oath of office. That’s a disgrace, too.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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