The Guardian view on the US supreme court: the wrongs required to move right

Brett Kavanaugh

The only issue in Washington over the last week has been the suitability of an individual for high office – but then that has been the issue ever since Donald Trump’s election. Bob Woodward’s new book and the anonymous op-ed by a senior official have merely confirmed, albeit in hair-raising new detail, the long obvious: Mr Trump is so blatantly unfit to be president that those who work for him ignore or thwart his orders.

His ability to maintain his position could yet depend on the other individual in the spotlight: Brett Kavanaugh. The supreme court nominee’s confirmation hearings did not offer quite the same drama as the White House circus, despite red-robed “Handmaids” highlighting the risk to reproductive rights, vocal protesters inside the room and devastating questioning by the California Democrat Kamala Harris. That was by design. Mr Kavanaugh went out of his way – more than “three zip codes”, in his terms – to say as little as possible. The administration withheld masses of documents on his record as an aide in the George W Bush White House.

What we did learn, despite a process legal scholars have described as unprecedented in its “hurried and defective” nature, came largely thanks to disclosures by the Democratic committee member Cory Booker and a leak to media. It was in essence confirmatory rather than revelatory. There is still every expectation that he will be confirmed by the judiciary committee and then the full Senate later this month. This is ultimately more consequential than the attention-grabbing accounts of “resistance” within the administration and may be a key part of Mr Trump’s legacy, however long…

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