This nation is suffering a significant breakdown of civility, bipartisanship and ethical behavior. For the Trump administration and the Republican leaders who enable it, truth is no longer a cherished value. To them, lying seems to be part of the strategy, a cynical weapon to be used against their opponents.
This week, we are witnessing the full depth of that cynicism, as the White House and its supporters smear a woman who makes credible, significant accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. At the same time, another fact has become clear: Kavanaugh himself has a casual relationship with the truth ― and in that, he fits right in with the way President Donald Trump and his party behave.Lying under oath cannot and must not be rewarded with a seat on the nation’s highest court.
At the White House event announcing Kavanaugh’s nomination, the appellate judge offered a remark that seemed odd. Praising Trump, he said, “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”
I personally found this hard to believe. How would Kavanaugh know that? Why would he be so sure and definitive about it? I did what we all do these days with the overwhelming list of lies coming out of this White House — I figured that Republicans were all “in on it,” that this comment would stand as just another obviously false spin in the process of getting another illegitimate seat on the Supreme Court for a conservative judge. But it turns out this was only a glimpse into the nominee’s disturbing willingness to avoid the truth.
In fact, there’s clear evidence showing that Kavanaugh lied under oath during the 2006 confirmation hearing for his spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I should know: I was one of the senators on the Judiciary Committee who questioned him.
I asked Kavanaugh about his involvement as White House staff secretary in the highly controversial 2001 nomination of Charles Pickering Sr. to the 5th Circuit. Many of us were concerned about a 1994 hate crimes case in whi