Al Franken’s 25 questions for checkmating Brett Kavanaugh

Washington Post / YouTube Sen Al Franken is still seriously...
Washington Post / YouTube

Donald Trump has a weird effect on people. He’s a totally binary human being (things are either the best of the best or the worst of the worst), and despite having the wit and charm of a syphilitic fruit bat, he somehow Svengalis people into embracing that same weird penchant for hyperbole, particularly when it comes to praising Donald Trump. (See Ronny Jackson, et al.)

The most recent stooge to play this game is Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who said the following of Trump (whom you’ll recall plays golf about a third of the time and spends another third watching Fox News atop a giant eagle’s aerie made of molted hair weave, discarded chicken skin, and dog-eared Penthouse Forums):

“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

That sounded, well, very Trumpian, and one has to wonder whether making a ridiculous, provably false assertion during his first press conference was a prerequisite for getting the job — sort of like how some gangs force you to beat the shit out of a wheelchair-bound granny before you can join.

Well, former Sen. Al Franken has a blueprint for cornering Kavanaugh on his lie, and it’s pretty shrewd.

Here are 25 questions Franken would like to ask Kavanaugh, if he could. They’re taken from a Facebook post the ex-senator made earlier today:

1. Judge Kavanaugh, welcome. I’d like to start with a series of yes or no questions. The first one is a gimme. Do you think it’s proper for judges to make determinations based on their ideological preconceptions or their personal biases?

He’ll say no, of course.

2. Good. Would you agree that judges should make determinations based on their understanding of the facts?

3. And would you agree that it’s important for a judge to obtain a full and fair understanding of the facts before making a determination?

This is all pretty standard stuff. Then, however, I’d turn to an issue that’s received a bit of attention—but not nearly enough.

4. When you were introduced by President Trump, you spoke to the American people for the very first time as a nominee for the Supreme Court. That is a very important moment in this process, wouldn’t you agree?

5. And one of the very first things that came out of your mouth as a nominee for the Supreme Court was the following assertion: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” Did I quote you correctly?

This claim, of course, was not just false, but ridiculous. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake (a Minnesota native) called it “a thoroughly inauspicious way to begin your application to the nation’s highest court, where you will be deciding the merits of the country’s most important legal and factual claims.”

It would be only fair to give Kavanaugh a chance to retract that weirdly specific bit of bullshit.

6. Do you stand by those words today? Yes or no?

If he says that he doesn’t, I’d skip down to Question 22. But, if he won’t take it back, I’d want to pin him down.

7. I just want to be clear. You are under oath today, correct?

8. So, today, you are telling the American people—under oath—that it is your determination that “[n]o president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

9. And that determination—it wouldn’t be based on your ideological preconceptions, would it?

10. And it’s not based on any personal bias, is it?

11. No, of course not. That would be improper. Instead, it is based on your understanding of the facts, right?

12. Was it a “full and fair” understanding of the facts?

Again, if he decided here to fold his hand and admit that he was full of it, I’d skip down to Question 22. But if not, I’d continue with…

13. Great. Judge Kavanaugh, are you aware that there have been 162 nominations to the Supreme Court over the past 229 years?

14. And do you have a full and fair understanding of the circumstances surrounding each nomination?

Of course he doesn’t.

15. Of course you don’t. So, in actuality, your statement at that press conference did not reflect a full and fair understanding of the facts—isn’t that right?

16. This was one of the very first public statements you made to the American people as a nominee for the Supreme Court. A factual assertion you have repeated here under oath. And it did not meet your standard for how a judge should make determinations about issues of national importance.

17. Let me ask you about some widely-reported facts. Are you aware of the widely-reported fact that President Trump selected you from a list of 25 jurists provided by the conservative Federalist Society?

18. Are you aware of any other case in which a President has selected a nominee from a list provided to him by a partisan advocacy group?

19. Are you aware of the widely-reported fact that President Trump spent just two weeks mulling over his selection—whereas, for example, President Obama spent roughly a month before making each of his two Supreme Court nominations?

20. Let me ask you this. Are you aware of any facts that support your assertion that—and I’ll quote it again—“No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination”?

21. And yet, you still believe that your assertion was based on a full and fair understanding of the facts?

Then I’d try to sum it up.

22. Judge Kavanaugh, do you believe that intellectual honesty and a scrupulous adherence to the facts are important characteristics in a Supreme Court Justice?

23: And would you say that you displayed those characteristics to your own satisfaction when you made in your very first public remarks (and reiterated here today under oath) your assertion that, “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination”?

By the way: Once I had him pinned down on his ridiculous lie, I’d ask where it came from.

24: Let me ask you about something else. Did President Trump, or anyone in his administration, have any input on your remarks at that press conference?

25: Did President Trump, or anyone in his administration, instruct, ask, or suggest that you make that assertion?

Now, I’m not naive enough to think these questions would actually derail Kavanaugh’s nomination, but I’d sure like to see a sitting senator have the balls to ask them.

And maybe — just maybe — they’d reveal a level of mendacity that would energize Democrats just a wee bit more come November.

One can only hope for something positive to come out of this farce.

By the way, here’s a link to Franken’s full Facebook post. It’s definitely worth a read.

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Dave
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Dave

Sadly there are no Democratic leaders currently with the courage to do this.