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Judge Kavanaugh's hearing must be delayed

The ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump's conduct in the 2016 election is not just an inquiry ...

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 2:58 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 2:58 PM

The ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump's conduct in the 2016 election is not just an inquiry into whether he or his associates committed crimes. It is a test of America's commitment to the basic principle that our justice system should treat every citizen equally.

If the US Senate is serious about upholding that principle, it will delay Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing until special counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation. If it does not, it risks tarnishing the Supreme Court and undermining the rule of law -- blows from which our nation will not easily recover.

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Trump has repeatedly denounced the special counsel's investigation as a partisan "witch hunt." But the investigation's findings so far suggest otherwise. Two of Trump's former campaign aides and his first national security adviser have all pleaded guilty to federal crimes. The President's former campaign manager has been convicted of financial fraud. And federal prosecutors recently secured a guilty plea from Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said he made illegal campaign finance payments at the direction of then-candidate Trump.

To be sure, we don't yet know whether the President himself committed any crimes. But until the investigation is finished -- and it must be allowed to finish -- there exists a real possibility that some related issue, such as the President's obligation to obey a subpoena, will find its way before the nation's highest court. If that happens, the American people must be able to trust that each justice will vote according to the dictates of the law and the demands of the Constitution, not out of loyalty to Trump.

The only way to ensure that trust is to refuse to consider any Supreme Court nominee put forth by this administration until the investigation is complete. Ordinary citizens don't get to appoint the judges that will hear their cases. The President should be treated no differently.

Despite the cloud of legal uncertainty shadowing the President, Senate Republicans are determined to proceed with Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. And they are doing so in the most irresponsible way, scrambling to complete the hearings before the National Archives can release even a small fraction of Kavanaugh's papers. To date, Kavanagh's opinions from the DC Circuit, all public, have been released, but the White House has withheld 100,000 pages of his record working in George W. Bush's White House.

Contrary to Republicans' objections, these documents are extremely relevant, detailing his years of service in Bush's White House, years which Kavanaugh himself called the "the most interesting and formative" of his pre-judicial career. By rushing confirmation hearings before Kavanaugh's full record can be thoroughly examined, the Senate leadership is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a nominee who will shape American jurisprudence for a generation.

Not all of Kavanaugh's record remains hidden from sight, of course. My colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund have spent months scrutinizing Kavanaugh's judicial opinions, writings and public statements, and they have documented their findings in an exhaustive report. What emerges is an intellectual portrait of a jurist committed to an ultra-conservative philosophy, one that grants the executive extraordinary power and threatens longstanding laws and precedents that protect civil rights in the United States.

These are alarming beliefs, especially now. Kavanaugh has suggested that the President has unlimited power to remove executive branch officers, questioned the 1974 Supreme Court decision that forced Richard Nixon to release the Watergate tapes, and argued that a sitting president should be able to defer civil suits and criminal prosecutions until after he or she leaves office. These are troubling views from a judge who may well be called upon to decide whether a president (the President who appointed him, no less) can withhold evidence or fire a special counsel investigating his conduct.

Kavanaugh seems just as unlikely to stand up to this administration's tireless assault on civil rights and racial justice. He has promoted the idea that the Constitution is colorblind, thus rejecting decades of Supreme Court precedent that helped to end legalized discrimination in the United States. He also upheld a voter ID law that the Justice Department deemed a threat to the votes of tens of thousands of minority citizens.

Trump has refused to condemn violent white supremacists, and he has repeatedly made false allegations of widespread voter fraud, perpetuating a myth used to disenfranchise Americans of color. Placing Kavanaugh on the bench would lend judicial cover to the Trump administration's efforts to roll back a half-century of progress and hollow out the Fourteenth Amendment.

The nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court represents a momentous juncture in our history. With his confirmation in the balance, the Senate has a chance to place country before party, to reaffirm certain principles in these uncertain times: that the public and their representatives have a right to carefully evaluate its judges; that all Americans deserve equal justice; that the United States is a nation of laws, not of men.

These principles will be jeopardized if Kavanaugh is placed on the Supreme Court. That is a steep price, one that will be paid not only by us, but by generations to come. He should not get a hearing, and he should not be confirmed.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 872918

Reported Deaths: 10856
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102616707
Cuyahoga868931154
Hamilton65148455
Montgomery43662420
Summit35411766
Lucas31794634
Butler31451232
Stark26247445
Warren19939144
Lorain19378229
Mahoning17561339
Lake16350161
Clermont16235113
Delaware1463881
Licking13453142
Fairfield1301782
Trumbull12980317
Greene12226144
Medina11798169
Clark11094266
Wood10507158
Allen10031128
Portage9514111
Richland9275134
Miami927273
Marion7512113
Tuscarawas7455186
Columbiana7433124
Pickaway735250
Muskingum714042
Wayne7140172
Erie6253130
Ross5589100
Hancock556292
Scioto545365
Geauga518955
Darke474395
Lawrence464658
Union459130
Ashtabula457973
Sandusky440462
Huron435541
Mercer435590
Seneca435366
Auglaize425166
Belmont423948
Jefferson423969
Shelby422923
Washington396340
Athens38619
Putnam379276
Madison359930
Knox358423
Ashland349638
Fulton341744
Defiance336188
Crawford327274
Preble323637
Brown318821
Logan314835
Ottawa297443
Clinton293944
Highland282219
Williams282267
Jackson266145
Guernsey259326
Champaign254628
Fayette241030
Morrow23594
Perry235518
Holmes227274
Henry222954
Hardin217033
Coshocton208023
Van Wert204445
Gallia200126
Wyandot198151
Pike180918
Adams179815
Hocking174024
Carroll158216
Paulding145521
Noble121040
Meigs110324
Monroe103433
Harrison89821
Morgan84531
Vinton71714
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