The Collins Crisis

4 mins read
John Frary

It was easy to identify the low point in the Judiciary Committee’s Kavanaugh nomination deliberations.

I refer, of course, to Sen. Cory Booker’s stump-speech histrionics. Lacking H.L. Mencken’s talent, I will swipe his reaction to Warren Harding’s oratory and apply it to the Newark Spartacus’ blather. It fits nicely.

“It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup; of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights … It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and dumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.”

Is this an exaggeration? I look forward to a defense of this driveler. Hopefully the Bulldog’s editors will provide space, if space is needed.

For me, Lance Harvell, and others of our kind, the high point of this depressing conflict was provided by Senator Collins’ speech explaining her intention to support the nomination. I provide a link for those interested enough the form an independent opinion on its substance.

Seth Lipski, editor of the New York Sun summarizes the speech’s merits in an Oct. 6 editorial.

Here’s the part of the speech that especially interested me: “To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article III of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent “is not just a judicial policy … it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent.”

This is the first time I’ve heard this argument as well. Whether valid or not it should have been part of this nomination debate. Apart from our senator’s reference it was never heard. More, almost nothing was said about conflicting methods of Constitutional interpretation. Arguments on and off the committee concentrated on the results they expected or desired not the means by which Justices arrive at their decisions. A debate which should have concerned itself about an “originalist” ended up being about a “rapist.”

Oh well, never mind all that stuff. Now that Justice Kavanaugh is seated on the bench, the fury has shifted to Senator Collins.

Here’s a message just received by my new friend, Katie Mae Simpson, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party: “John — Susan Collins turned her back on women when she cast her vote for Brett Kavanaugh. We’re holding her accountable, starting NOW … Mainers have had enough of Susan Collins.”

She boasts of support from Democracy for America, a part of the extra-terrestrial wing of the Democratic Party.
They want donations. The Democrats have a healthy head-start. According to Rolling Stone, a Maine People’s Alliance Crowdpac raised $2 million to support a still unknown opponent if Collins supported Kavanaugh. The Washington Post reported that it had raised $3 million by Saturday morning.

This is a huge sum to have on hand two years before the election process even starts. But Paul LePage told me last Wednesday that he had already called Collins and told her that he planned to turn his coat, register as a Democrat, scoop up the Crowdpac treasure, and spend the whole sum on the primary election.

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