Behold, Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Thanks to VOX’s Dylan Matthews for citing this passage in Ken Gormley’s 2010 The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, whose lurid title masks an otherwise exhausting account of the Hunting of Bill Clinton. I bought the book at the turn of the decade, my first acquaintance with such delicious characters as James Conway, husband of Kellyanne, and a Federalist Society favorite named Brett Kavanaugh, whom Dick Durbin once called the Zelig or Forrest Gump of American judicial politics for showing up at the right place and time for conservative crisis points:

In a memo to “Judge Starr” (with a copy to “All Attorneys”), dated just two days before the grand jury showdown, Kavanaugh disclosed a stark division within [the Office of the Independent Counsel] over how to handle this slippery president. He wrote:

After reflecting this evening, I am strongly opposed to giving the President any “break” … unless before his questioning on Monday, he either i) resigns or ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to you. I have tried hard to bend over backwards and to be fair to him. … In the end, I am convinced that there really are [no reasonable defenses]. The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me…

[T]he President has disgraced his Office, the legal system, and the American people by having sex with a 22-year-old intern and turning her life into a shambles — callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle. He has committed perjury (at least) in the [Paula] Jones case. … He has tried to disgrace [Ken Starr] and this Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.

Kavanaugh listed ten sample questions, however explicit and unsavory, that he believed Starr and his questioners should ask. They included the following:

…If Monica Lewinsky says that you ejaculated into her mouth on two occasions in the Oval Office area, would she be lying?

If Monica Lewinsky says that on several occasions you had her give [you] oral sex, made her stop, and then ejaculated into the sink in the bathroom off the Oval Office, would she be lying?

If Monica Lewinsky says that you masturbated into a trashcan in your secretary’s office, would she [be] lying?

Although he objected to the prurience of the final version of the Starr Report, few conservatives will find anything that would give them pause. The Federalist Society knows its job. Besides, Zombie Ed Meese sat in the front row tonight when Donald J. Trump introduced Kavanaugh. If he’s good enough for Ronald Reagan’s legal bodyguard/conflict of interest expert, then he’s good enough for Mitch McConnell.

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