President Donald Trump offered some unsolicited legal advice to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Monday afternoon.
Amid the partisan rancor and message-disciplined cacophony of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, some GOP members of the lower chamber were apparently feeling a little left out. Enter: the House Judiciary Committee Republicans.
“Remember what they did to Brett Kavanaugh,” the official Twitter account for the small group of GOP congresspersons comprising the subcommittee recalled. “We don’t owe the Democrats anything.”
The brief missive ended with a hash-tagged call to “confirm” Barrett–the type of clarion call that would normally recede promptly into the ether. But the relatively innocuous tweet was, several hours later, bound for new life when the 45th president personally endorsed the sentiment and then some.
“He should sue the women, and all of those who illegally worked with them, for false and disgusting accusations!!!” the president advised. Trump clearly still remembered that his prior Supreme Court nominee was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez before Kavanaugh’s nomination ultimately prevailed on a mostly party-line vote with one Democratic Party defection as well as one defection from his own GOP.
The generation-defining contretemps between Senate Democrats and Republicans, which occurred at perhaps one of the highest-peaking crests of the #MeToo wave, lingered in the president’s mind on Barrett’s first day of hearings. The suggestion was quickly amplified by many of the president’s supporters and ridiculed by those more apprised of how the legal system actually deals with these sorts of (potential) situations.
Kavanaugh is highly unlikely to sue Ford or Ramirez; the lawyers who represented Ford and Ramirez did so legally and it is unclear what–if anything–Trump was talking about there. But, in the off-chance or version of earth where a sitting Supreme Court justice puts a bullseye on their own reputation and files a defamation lawsuit against women who accused him of sexual assault, the resulting legal fight likely wouldn’t inure much to said justice’s favor.
Melissa Schwartz is a member of the crisis public relations firm that helped manage media efforts for Ford during the Kavanaugh fight. In a tweet, she outlined the order of events that would follow the filing of any the aforementioned and theoretical lawsuit(s).
Sue the women…like the multiple credible women who came forward? And those of us who were proud to serve them pro bono? That means ACTUALLY investigating their claims and the dozens of witnesses ignored by the Committee. Let’s do it (cc: @kabarkoff @LisaBanksKMB @DebraKatzKMB) https://t.co/YcDxlxLBiG
— Melissa Schwartz (@MSchwartz3) October 12, 2020
In other words, were Kavanaugh to trust pretend lawyer President Trump, the right-of-center jurist would quickly be swept up under a far more exacting and likely embarrassing set of circumstances where evidence and candor would actually matter. Discovery alone would be messy and could lend additional credence to the sexual assault allegations against him (though that would not be true for two other claims). And, for what it’s worth, prevaricating or lying about what “Devil’s Triangle” means in front of another judge would be exceptionally ill-advised.
[image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]
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