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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/2/18

What the Kavanaugh Episode Tells Us.

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Harold Novikoff
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While we are awaiting the FBI investigation and the final vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the spectacle we witnessed in the Senate committee hearing this past week tells us a lot we should already know about how our country works.

First of all, it points out the untrustworthy methods for appointing candidates to high-level government positions. In the professional world, advancement to positions of high responsibility is normally subject to rigorous evaluation of ability, experience, and character, and to competition with other candidates. Supreme Court judgeships represent the highest level of responsibility in government policy, being the guardians at the top of a supposedly independent branch of government. The qualifications of the candidates for this life-time job should meet the most rigorous standards. Instead, initial selection of candidates is given to the president, subject to his private or party motives. The candidate is then subjected to a senate confirmation hearing which, as in the Kavanaugh case, can be something like a kangaroo court - an attempt to rubber-stamp the party nominee. There is nothing here that resembles high professional level procedures.

The senate confirmation hearing, and the subsequent senate vote, exposes us to a fundamental defect in the workings of our government: party control over individual decision making. If the individual senator is locked in to voting with his party every time, why bother to elect an individual senator? Why not just elect the party and let it select the senators? They must have something like that in the Russian parliament and in other authoritarian states.

This process is like our presidential election system whereby the individual's vote is not directly counted but goes to an intermediate electoral college that can elect a president with a minority of the general votes. What other country uses this method?

The question is: do senators vote as a block because they independently think alike, or is it because they are dependent upon the party for re-election in their careers? If they vote as a block, why bother with the theater of the preliminary committee hearing?

We see the same defect in electing senators, congressmen, and presidents as in the selection of Supreme Court judges. We need candidates who are carefully and publicly screened according to professional standards and commitment to our basic democratic principles, before they are put up for vote by the public. We need people capable of voting independently according to their best knowledge and high personal integrity, rather than by conformance to the party line. Instead, we have candidates who are promoted by mass media persuasion and backroom party scheming,

The election system we have now defeats the purposes of the constitution. By voting party line, senators are placing party loyalty above their oath to support and defend the constitution. Party politics are the domineering religions of our times. We need more separation of religion and state.

Protesters against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court . | Flickr1024 Ã-- 683 - 207k - jpg
Protesters against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court . | Flickr1024 Ã-- 683 - 207k - jpg
(Image by flickr.com)
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Veteran, retired from several occupations (school teacher, technical writer, energy conservation business, etc.) long-time Sierra Club member

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