Brett Kavanaugh has heard the complaints about his poor judicial temperament and on Thursday, the judge who last week said sexual-assault allegations against him were a conspiracy launched by Donald Trump’s enemies attempted a mea culpa.
“I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said,” he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday. He went on to say that his emotions were justified:
My hearing testimony was forceful and passionate. That is because I forcefully and passionately denied the allegation against me. At times, my testimony—both in my opening statement and in response to questions—reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused, without corroboration, of horrible conduct completely contrary to my record and character. My statement and answers also reflected my deep distress at the unfairness of how this allegation has been handled.
One problem with this argument: Kavanaugh’s opening statement was prepared beforehand, not spouted off in a moment of raw emotion. And it was in that opening statement that he blamed pro-Clinton partisans for carrying out an “orchestrated political hit” on him. Still, Kavanaugh promises in the op-ed, if confirmed to the Supreme Court he will “keep an open mind in every case and always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”
The op-ed comes after mounting criticism of Kavanaugh’s performance last Thursday. Nearly 1,000 law professors signed a letter this week that said he “displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.”
John Paul Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from 1975 until 2010, also criticized Kavanaugh’s performance. “I thought (Kavanaugh) had the qualifications for the Supreme Court and should he be selected,” Stevens said in Boca Raton, according to the Palm Beach Post. “I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability … I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”
If any senators who support Kavanaugh feel the same, they haven’t said so out loud. And with a confirmation vote coming as soon as this weekend, they’re running out of time to change their minds.