"We wonder, what's wrong with him? How does he feel about women? Is he anti-social, homosexual, misogynistic, immature or just plain dweeby?" asked the Orlando Sentinel in a 1990 editorial about Supreme Court nominee, Judge and later Justice David Souter.
When President George H. W. Bush nominated confirmed bachelor, Judge David Souter to the Supreme Court in 1990, there were dueling sets of hostile rumors and innuendos flying all over Washington, intended to derail his nomination.
Protesters, primarily women, wore buttons that if Souter was confirmed, "Women Will Die," in reference to beliefs that Souter was pro-life and would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Instead, in 1992, and the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Souter wrote Roe v. Wade should not be overturned because it would be a "surrender to political pressure"... In Souter’s opinion, to overrule under fire in the absence of the most compelling reason to re-examine a watershed decision would subvert the Court's legitimacy beyond any serious question.
The case was decided by a vote of 5-4, and was a divided and plurality opinion, with Justices Souter, Kennedy and O'Connor (all three appointed by Republican presidents) writing the opinion upholding the precedential weight of Roe v. Wade. Other parts of the decision did strike down several more restrictive statutes by the state of Pennsylvania but did uphold state's rights to place 'reasonable' restrictions on access to abortion, such as spousal notification, parental notification for minors, etc...
President Dwight Eisenhower appointed five judges to the Supreme Court during his eight years, including a hand-picked conservative in Justice Earl Warren, to lead the court in a directional shift from the 20 plus years of the New Deal and federal government expansion under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. A bit of Googling will show you that appointment did not quite work out as planned. In the wake of Watergate, President Gerald Ford appointed Justice John Paul Stevens, a former Republican, who became among the most consistently liberal voices on the court until his retirement in 2010.
I'm clear that there are larger and unsettled issues framing the Kavanaugh nomination and confirmation hearings, but regardless of whom you believe, is it really fair to hold Justice Brett Kavanaugh literally accountable for all the sins of man over decades and generations? Does it make sense for a body as flawed as the United State Senate and Congress, with members admittedly currently 'guilty' of many of the wrongs being charged against Kavanaugh decades ago, in any position to judge and hold up to scrutiny, without first looking in a mirror?
This nation survived a break with its founders (the United Kingdom), the Civil War, the civil unrest on numerous fronts of the 1960s and later the domestic attacks on three different fronts on 9/11, ending the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. Yes we are a divided nation, but staying that way is an individual choice, not just a political tactic of our leadership. Let's see how Justice Brett Kavanaugh decides and behaves as a jurist on that bench.
Let's perhaps start asking those who are selected to lead not to treat every policy or issue difference like the brinksmenship of a nuclear war, even using terminology like "the nuclear option," to reconstruct the confirmation process fueling this division. And let's ask our news media and members of the fourth and fifth estates to consider not pouring gasoline on that fire with headlines like "Kavanaugh War to Continue." This isn't a war. There have so far been no fatalities or casualties. It is a significant difference of opinion, priorities and assessment of whose truth can be better documented. But this is not the first time nor will it be the last that undisputed facts are murky and very few and far between.
We will pass through this valley as American always has. Let's hope it does not require a natural or man-made disaster such as 9/11 to bring us back together. Start by appealing to your own best instincts. Reach out to a neighbor, colleague or family member with whom you have recently argued or disagreed and simply state the obvious...our relationship, family bond, friendship or work relationship means more to me than our differences of opinion. I apologize for over-reacting. The last time I checked you did not have a vote, one way or the other, in the Kavanaugh hearings. Let's all take a deep breath, spend a day taking the high road, and move on.