My mother was an attorney, and I remember when I was in high school reading a book she had, My Life in Court, by Louis Nizer, one of the most famous trial attorneys of his day. In the introduction, he talked about the notion that trials were won by great speeches or razor sharp cross examination. No, he said, trials are won or lost before the attorneys ever set foot in the courtroom. Preparation, not histrionics wins the day, and there never was a better example of that than the one provided by former prosecutor Kamala Harris, in her comments to Rachel Mitchell, the woman who has spent thirty years in Maricopa County, Arizona, trying people arrested by Joe Arpaio. Let this be a lesson to Ms. Mitchell: a county prosecutor should be wary against going up against someone like Harris, the former attorney general of the nation's largest State.
Harris, apparently alone of all of her colleagues, thought to do a little research on Ms. Mitchell, and found online the official Maricopa County guidelines for handling sex crime accusations, which Ms. Mitchell had signed off on, and read some of them in the limited time she was given to speak. Virtually all of Mitchell's questioning, relating to irrelevant issues like Christine Blasey Ford's fear of flying, the timing of her making her complaint, who exactly had paid for her polygraph test (not a word about the fact that she passed the test,) and other issues, were far outside Ms. Mitchell's own guidelines for handling sex crime victims. Maybe eclipsed by the nauseating behavior of Judge Kavanaugh later in the day, but it was a master class in cross examination.
2. Lindsey Graham
I don't know what it is about this guy and the press. Graham has engaged, for decades, in one disgraceful display of partisan hackery after another, and every time, the press acts surprised and reports that he was always such a nice guy up until now, and then they give him a pass just this one time, because he was always a Southern gentleman before. Well, today, in the public tantrum that he threw in between the testimony of Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, and later in his sickening stroking of Kavanaugh's ego, rather than show one sign of caring about his duty in regard to a Supreme Court Nominee, Graham provided a lesson for the ages in how to act like a corrupt politician.
Here's a sample from Vox, although the excerpts are readily available many other places:
“To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) boomed during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary hearing Thursday.
It was one line in a shockingly fiery speech Graham delivered during the questioning of Kavanaugh about allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford more than 30 years ago. (He has denied the accusation.)
Graham didn’t really question Kavanaugh — instead he expounded on the Supreme Court nominee’s own defense, expressing remorse for the way Kavanaugh and his family have been treated and decrying the politics that put him in that situation.
“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy!” Graham said, his face contorted in anger."
The most despicable thing he has seen in politics...more despicable than the outrageous 25 year long campaign of smears and lies directed against the Clintons; more despicable than the lying swift boat campaign that sunk John Kerry in 2004, more despicable than perverting Congress in the endless Benghazi hate campaign and Hillary e-mail smears, both based on absolutely nothing, more despicable than the partisan hatchet job disguised as an impeachment hearing of Clinton, in which Judge Kavanaugh played a major role; more despicable than the murder of a million innocent Iraqi civilians by a Republican President, more despicable than Republican torture, more despicable than shoveling so much money into the pockets of sociopathic rich Republican backers that it caused the whole economy to collapse in 2008, and above all, more despicable than the treasonous collusion that put into office the Republican President who has chosen to try to force this right wing hatchet man with a long history of unethical political behavior onto the Supreme Court.
This is not the utterance of a decent human being taking his position as a Senator seriously, it is the speech of a vicious partisan hack, which is all Graham has ever been.
Graham is (to use his word) as despicable a character as can be found in the whole despicable Republican party, but if you expect the same mainstream press than hails Paul Ryan as a brilliant economist and hailed Antonin Scalia as a masterful legal scholar, to ever notice Graham's real nature, forget it.
3. Brett Kavanaugh
Before going further, I would like to display this photo from today's hearing:
I ask you to take a good look at the faces of the women sitting in the audience behind Kavanaugh, which in the end says all that needs to be said about this loathsome man.
So, this guy is a Federal appeals court judge. He has spent his entire career as a lawyer, allegedly graduating near the top of his class at Yale Law School. There is absolutely no way that he does not know what behavior is expected from a witness in a hearing like this. But what we got for him was lies and smears against Democrats, some who had exactly zero to do with this entire affair, like Bill and Hillary Clinton, who, in a display of nearly schizophrenic paranoia, he accused of carrying out a vendetta against him, displays of nearly uncontrolled rage, refusal to answer direct questions, filibustering on and on with irrelevant answers to questioning, and even stooping to effectively accusing one of his Senatorial questioners of being an out of control drunk. Neither Judge Kavanaugh, nor any other judge in this country would allow that behavior in his courtroom, but it was just fine with the eleven Senators who controlled this process.
If there had been absolutely no reason to oppose Kavanaugh's nomination before this afternoon, there would be a totally valid one now: that he is a man given to uncontrollable fits of anger and who will lie and distort the truth at will if it will serve his purpose. This is a very inferior human being, and the nation deserves better.