To read the coverage of the latest Brett Kavanaugh story is not the same as reading the story itself which is, as a matter of evidence-based reporting, not overwhelming. I would encourage you to read John McCormack, David French, and Robby Soave.
And no, this story is not going to get Kavanaugh removed from the high court.
So why is the media fixated on the idea of Kavanaugh’s impeachment? Because the 2020 Democratic candidates are going to try to use it as a crowbar to pry Joe Biden from his perch atop the primary race.
The most important development in the story came on Sunday when the campaign’s three viable progressive candidates and Julian Castro called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment:
Last year the Kavanaugh nomination was rammed through the Senate without a thorough examination of the allegations against him. Confirmation is not exoneration, and these newest revelations are disturbing. Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 15, 2019
I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice.
He must be impeached.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2019
The revelations today confirm what we already knew: During his hearing, Kavanaugh faced credible accusations and likely lied to Congress. I support any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 15, 2019
It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached.
And Congress should review the failure of the Department of Justice to properly investigate the matter. https://t.co/Yg1eh0CkNl
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 15, 2019
Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached. It was in 1805, and Justice Samuel Chase was consequently acquitted by the Senate. So spoiler: Neither Brett Kavanaugh nor any other justice is going to be impeached and removed from office in the foreseeable future because we have a closely divided Senate that, for reasons of demography, is likely to stay closely divided.
So why would the 2020 progressives be rushing out front calling for an impeachment that’s never going to happen? Because they’re daring Joe Biden to follow them.
Biden’s whole pitch for his candidacy is a Return to Normal. (I’ve long maintained that his campaign slogan should be “Make America Great Again” and he should put it on a purple hat.) He’s telling voters that this moment of political poison and tribal warfare is unnatural and unhealthy and that you can be a partisan and push your agenda without getting, you know, crazy about it.
Demanding the impeachment of a Supreme Court justice based on no hard evidence is the exact opposite of what Biden is selling. It’s the type of thing he’s campaigning against.
So far it’s working. But the progressive theory of the race is that Biden is out of step with where Democratic primary viewers live today. Demanding the impeachment of Kavanaugh is easy—you just tweet “I demand Kavanaugh be impeached!”
By pushing that line out there, Warren, Bernie, Harris, and the rest are hoping to force Biden to either abandon his centrist argument, or be forced to explain why, exactly, a meaningless impeachment based on little evidence against a guy like Kavanaugh is a bad idea. Which would take at least a two or three paragraph Facebook post. It’s like trying to explain why the Constitution doesn’t let you outlaw guns by executive order or force Mexico to pay to build a continent-wide border wall. The killjoy saying, “Uh, no you can’t” doesn’t usually win the argument.
And even if the Kavanaugh gambit fizzles on still-closer inspection, obsessing about the subject is still a good play for the progressive Democrats because it opens a pathway to talking about Anita Hill—which, despite what you may imagine, is still something hippies over the age of 60 care very much about.
Brett Kavanaugh may be a lot of things: A family man, a scary conservative, a lax bro. (Obviously had he graduated from high school in the 2000s he would have played lacrosse and not football and basketball.)
But right now he’s also something else: A trap being laid for Joe Biden.