The US Supreme Court generally is regarded by lawyers around the world as the “top court”. Its decisions frequently deal with extremely important issues. Every young lawyer in the US would have dreamt of becoming a justice.
But no longer. The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing is rather a criminal trial based on evidence so flimsy that it could never sustain a decision to prosecute, let alone a conviction.
Yet it probably will be sufficient to have Kavanaugh rejected by the US Senate.
I can guarantee the reader that no lawyer would wish to suffer what has happened to Kavanaugh. Never.
From the safety of Australia, let us look at the consequences for the US.
Across time, of course, there will be other nominees from other presidents, Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. Neither party will ever forgive the other for what is happening these days. Future consensus over appointments will not occur and any confirmation hearing will be a protracted assassination attempt, whether the evidence produced is true or false. And in the US, false evidence is easy to find.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, then there will always be a small, dark place in his soul that will remember these events and he will pay the pain back, subtly, but in a way that hurts. Lawyers are good at this. And he will be in a position to do it for the rest of his life.
If Kavanaugh is refused confirmation, which I think is highly likely, the psychopath President Donald Trump will make another nomination, this time likely a female. Eventually a Trump nominee, whether the first or 21st attempt, will be appointed. The newly appointed justice will not forget what has happened.
The effect is simple: in the future, there will never be politically neutral justices and they ruthlessly will decide cases on party lines. Kavanaugh was the Democrats’ last, great chance of selecting a justice who would be even-handed.
The next appointments will be quietly but firmly partisan.
Roe v Wade (1973), the Democrats say, will be under threat if Kavanaugh is appointed. Not so. Kavanaugh is a traditionalist who would be extremely reluctant to overturn well-established precedent (as Roe v Wade is).
No more. As a result of these attacks, all Republican-appointed judges (whether on the bench now or to come) will look seriously at overturning Wade. There is no more morality, just politics. As the confirmation hearings go, so will the court. Wade will be overturned as a conservative act of bastardry and vandalism to punish the Left.
Once one of Trump’s choices is appointed, there is nothing short of violent revolution as the next step for the Democrats. They have unleashed dark forces. A terrible price will be paid.
Peter Faris QC is a retired criminal lawyer based in Melbourne.