I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Judge Brett Kavanaugh nomination for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. I watched as a man who has served in the courts for many years. I have a masters degree in court administration and have served as a regional court executive in the state of Maine, court executive officer of the Akron Municipal Court, assistant court administrator for the District Courts of Massachusetts, as well as positions with the Alaska State Courts and internships and advisory positions with the Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Juvenile Courts.
In those capacities have had the opportunity to watch judges in conference, in chambers and in courtrooms. I can categorically say that based upon my training and experience, Judge Kavanaugh’s performance demonstrated a remarkable deficiency in the judicial temperament and demeanor that I would expect and demand of a justice sitting on the highest court of the land.
In weighing the credibility of both combatants, I concluded that Christine Blasey Ford was far more credible in her testimony than was Kavanaugh. Ford’s testimony was controlled, detailed and convincing. Kavanaugh’s testimony was clearly intended to incite an emotional response at the expense of reason. The most telling was his obvious unwillingness to support a delay to permit the FBI to conduct an investigation of the claims of sexual improprieties leveled against him by at least three witnesses.
I was also unimpressed by the theatrics and histrionics of Sen. Lindsey Graham. He deliberately turned what, to that point, had been a dignified process into a degenerate shambles. It seemed to me that he was likely interviewing for a higher position with an audience of one. He should be ashamed of himself regardless of his motivation, and Republican committee members should be ashamed for buying it.
Senators, when it is all said and done, your loyalty is not to party nor to the president. Your loyalty must be to the people of Utah, to the American people and to the United States Constitution and to the Rule of Law. This is not just a legal obligation, though it is that, it is in the end, a moral obligation. In my judgement if you vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh without a full investigation by trained competent investigators, you will have failed in your duty, legally and morally.
As a sixth-generation Mormon, with ancestry going back to its earliest days, I will say that if Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee act hastily and wrongly, they will demonstrate a moral hypocrisy that will devolve on all Mormons. I was saddened when so many Mormons voted for the confessed serial sexual offender in the White House. I was more saddened when Mormon senators fell in line after Trump was nominated and elected.
Make no mistake, Judge Kavanaugh was not nominated for the Supreme Court simply because of his judicial experience and abilities. President Trump wants him on the court as a legal wall to protect him from the Mueller investigation.
Finally, consider this analysis from Stephen Collison on CNN: “Should Kavanaugh reach the court, millions of women and liberals will see him as the illegitimate product of an immoral confirmation process -- a reality that will impugn the integrity of one of the few bodies in American civic life that has retained some public trust.”
Robert M. Hodge, Cedar City, is a retired court administrator with a master of science in judicial administration from the University of Denver School of Law.