Nominee Mansplains to California Senator
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is refusing to say if he agrees the historic 2015 Obergefell Supreme Court ruling finding same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage was correctly decided. He also is refusing to say if he thinks the days of discriminating against LGBT people are over.
Late Thursday during his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing (video below) the Trump nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court faced one of his greatest opponents, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. Harris, her state's former Attorney General for six years, and the District Attorney of San Francisco for seven years prior, is possibly one of the most precise questioners any modern-day Supreme Court nominee has ever faced.
"My question is, was the Obergefell case correctly decided, in your opinion," Sen. Harris asked.
Judge Kavanaugh, clearly prepared for the question – and for ways to not answer it – found a multitude of ways around it. As several watching the hearing noted, he instead "mansplained" to the accomplished California Senator.
"Senator, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, in a series of five cases," Kavanaugh responded, then began to list all the cases in a clear attempt to use up as much time as possible.
"If we could just talk about Obergefell," Harris politely requested.
"I want to explain it," Kavanaugh said, apparently thinking a U.S. Senator sitting on the Judiciary Committee, herself an attorney, might not understand the Supreme Court case.
"I actually know the history leading up to Obergefell, so can you please just address your comments to Obergefell?" Harris was forced to ask again.
"I'd like to explain it if I can," Kavanaugh insisted. "He wrote the majority opinion in Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, Obergefell, and Masterpiece Cakeshop, concluding in Masterpiece Cakeshop, importantly, with a statement if I could just read this –"
Harris interjected, telling him, "No, don't because I actually have read it and I'm sure most have. My question is very specific: Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell was correctly decided? It's a yes or no, please," Harris urged.
"In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and this is I think relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justice Robert and Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch and Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan, 'the day of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans, or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth, are over."
"Are over," Harris said at the same time. "Do you agree with that statement?"
Kavanaugh began to launch into another speech. Harris again was forced to reel him in.
"Sir, I'm asking your opinion," Sen. Harris again reminded Kavanaugh. "You're the nominee right now so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land, so I'm asking you a very specific question. Either you're willing to answer it or you're not."
When all was said and done, Kavanaugh refused to answer.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 6, 2018
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