The Kavanaugh nomination has put both these powerful subtexts from 2016 back in play. The Democrats have managed to shift the midterm elections away from Mr. Trump’s personality and make it about the Supreme Court, the status of the law in the U.S. and the nature of Democratic rule.
The sincerity of Ms. Ford’s testimony notwithstanding, this phase of the confirmation began with no corroborative evidence against Judge Kavanaugh and is ending with no evidence. The acceptance of this no-evidence standard, not just by the Judiciary Committee Democrats but by nearly all Democrats and most of the media, is something people have noticed.
A Whiff of Anti-Catholicism
The coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s past has also put a whiff of anti-Catholicism in the air, with the constant invocations of “Georgetown Prep,” suggesting not subtly that this all-boys school, founded by Jesuits in 1789, was an abusers’ breeding ground. To invoke a legal term, this is a slander, and many at this point resent it.
Despite a modern world created by precise algorithmic proofs, we may be entering a time driven more by inner mental states. Some are calling it an era of post-truth. For the law, I would call it an era of jury nullification. Chuck Schumer wants results without votes.
Democrats are hoping the #MeToo card will help them retake Congress, an editorial in today’s WSJ points out.
In this sense too, Mr. Trump is the left’s foil, though the Kavanaugh fight has usefully exposed the dishonesty of the loud worries about Mr. Trump’s threat to “democratic norms.”
Today’s Democratic Norms
Democrats were so worried about Senate norms that they hid Ms. Ford’s name from Republicans for six weeks, found her a lawyer, midwifed a lie detector test whose results they still haven’t fully disclosed, and then orchestrated the rollout of her accusations.
Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is too often divisive and dissembling, but no action in his Presidency comes close to matching the partisan viciousness of the Senate ambush of Brett Kavanaugh. These are today’s Democratic norms.