Lessons learned from Kavanaugh confirmation
I have a few questions for the newly minted Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh.
What did you learn through this process?
You will be judging legal cases from people from all walks of life, working together with the eight other Supreme Court justices to decide on cases that will determine the law of the land for everyone.
What’s it like to be the accused? In some cases, the accused will be as angry and defensive and frustrated as you were. How will you understand the legal issues of their cases? How will you consider the legal questions and how will you consider the implications for them?
Will you understand the fury some people might feel through the legal process? Will you appreciate their position, even as you use the law to guide your decision-making process?
Maybe not because you, after all, didn’t go through a trial. Well, you certainly didn’t go through a judicial trial. You endured an ordeal, you experienced a political maelstrom and you became a divisive figure, suffering through accusations you found abhorrent.
People prejudged you because of the claims women made about your behavior from years ago.
Will you be able to appreciate the implications of your decisions on the people awaiting them?
Will a process that you found impossibly difficult make you better at your job? Will you grow from this experience, the way people who take an impossible organic chemistry class where they have to memorize and learn structures, concepts and stoichiometry become better students?
People rarely ask for the suffering and hardship that comes during any process. It’s what makes movies about road trips so compelling: People have to overcome or surmount obstacles along the way to get closer to the destination — or the truth.
Will you learn about yourself and gain a new perspective on the country and all of its citizens now that you’ve made that trip?
In many jobs, we ask people to go beyond what might be their natural responses to people or circumstances. Firefighters race toward a burning building when they may want to run toward safety. The same holds true with the police, who enter unknown and potentially dangerous circumstances.
Doctors can’t look at a wound and screech, “Yuck, that’s so disgusting, get that away from me.”
In many jobs, we need to overcome our visceral responses, doing what’s asked and ignoring other parts of our experience because that’s what’s required.
In your case, the country asks you to make the best judgment for everyone, even the Democrats or those who might accuse others of sexual assault.
Will you be able to step out of a reflexive response that’s all too human to make decisions that affect the lives of everyone?
Taking a step away from Judge Kavanaugh, what have we all learned? We know the country is divided and we know people are prepared to find evidence to support whatever conclusions they have already drawn.
Can we become more judicial instead of prejudicial? Can we act the way we all hope Judge Kavanaugh will behave?
The downside of the instantaneous world in which we live is that we expect instant results. We want food as soon as we order it and we want to speak with everyone and anyone whenever we feel the urge, even if we’re driving, standing in a line or watching a movie.
Maybe what we’ll learn is that the judicial process requires time, effort and consideration. Perhaps we can be thankful that the fact-finding, questions and appeals process that accompanies trials will bring out enough information to render a verdict consistent with the law — not a political or any other personal belief.