My late father had an expression which in retrospect turned out to be at least interesting if not downright prophetic. He had a lifelong antipathy to “flacks, frauds and phonies.” Add “professional Catholics”, guys who were always front and centre as proud RCs He famously nailed one in our parish in the 50s, caught the guy stealing at the annual Fall Fair. 30 years later, the same guy well known as a “professional Catholic” got caught stealing big dough from the chancery to fund his gambling addiction.
I thought about “professional Catholics” when i saw Donald J Trump wheel out Brett Kavanaugh as his supreme court nominee, My internal flags went up when the humble Judge Kavanaugh talked about his coaching his daughters basketball at Blessed Sacrament school. “Oh, oh another professional Catholic, “I thought. Only RCs had Blessed Sacrament churches. Look out for this guy. Simply being nominated by Trump one knew there was a huge back story to uncover.
Well the the newspapers, the good ones like the Washington Post started digging around.Paul Schwartzman and Michelle Boorstein in the Washington Post described the Judge in the following terms:
Kavanaugh is that rare high-profile appointee who is pure Washington, a product of its most prestigious addresses: the all-boys Georgetown Preparatory School, where he was taught by Jesuits before attending Yale; the White House, where he was deputy counsel to President George W. Bush; and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Roman Catholic parish just off Chevy Chase Circle, where he and his family attend services.
Georgetown Prep–tuition $37,000 a year.
Then I read in the NYT about Kavanaugh’s parents—more bells went off. His father whose work ethic he praised-was a shill for the cosmetics industry. a lobbyist on Capitol Hill whose final payout was $13 million. His mom a judge, His wife private secretary to George W Bush, the worst president of the 20th century.
Kavanaugh was a pure Republican like the other 4 RCs on the Supreme Court. Obviously a decent guy according to locals, (loves Springsteen and baseball, is a lector at mass) but what kind of a Catholic can you be in turbocapitalist America? I saw him and his wife dishing out hash at the local parish. Most of these types are long on charity but very poor on justice. They are not evil just part of what Dorothy Day called “the dirty rotten system” one that has rewarded them and Trump very well.You simply will never find people like the Kavanaughs in the forefront of justice coalitions— marching, vigilling, protesting against any social evil as they build their resumés. It’s like Cheney said about why he had 5 deferments in the Vietnam years–I had better things to do. Let poor whites, blacks and chicanos go and kill the yellow man as Springsteen wrote in Born in the USA.
It’s just the air that you breathe in corporate America and as far as the gospel which privileges the poor and the marginalized, it is bad air, air that chokes the life out of Jesus call to the kingdom. You simply can not serve 2 masters. Kavanaugh chose corporate America,
Since as a Canadian with no hand in the fire but interested in American politics I simply waited for the great US “masters of suspicion” who would get behind the cheery Kavanaugh facade.
Where would one go to find The judge’s judicial record? Who does he privilege? Who does he ignore? What’s his track record.?T he other 4 RCs on the court gave the USA the stunning Citizens United decision based on Alice in Wonderland logic: Corporate spending is speech; restricting speech is censorship; therefore, restricting corporate spending to influence elections is censorship and is banned by the First Amendment. This catastrophic decision was stunningly obtuse about the role of money in US politics. Read Dark Money and Plutocrats United if this interests you.
MMM I wondered, who might have a handle on Kavanaugh. Ralph Nader, that’s who—the ultimate incorruptible public servant.Here’s his opening paragraph on the humble judge.
Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.
With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.
Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless.
More next time