Higher Learning for the Conservative Mind


The Tragedy of The Hearing System


HEWITT: Morning glory and bonjour. Hi, America. I'm Hugh Hewitt in the ReliefFactor.com studio back in the Beltway. And I am so glad that I am closing this last radio hour of a very important week with Dr. Larry Arnn my friend, the President of Hillsdale College, and a wise guy. And I don't mean just a wise guy with me. He's just a wise man. He's prudent. Dr. Arnn, I
have played a lot of the tape from yesterday. Let me get from you how much of it did you get to watch?
ARNN: Almost none. I've been reading about it, but I have a job.
HEWITT: I was flying, so I was able to see 80% of it. I thought that might have been the case, and therefore I want to play for you the three key moments that set the historical context. First of all, this is John Cornyn speaking to Brett Kavanaugh towards the conclusion today, cut number 34.
CORNYN: Judge, I can't think of a more embarrassing scandal for the United States Senate since the McCarthy hearings. When the comment was about the cruelty of the process toward the people involved and the question was asked, have you no sense of decency? And I'm afraid we've lost that, at least for the time being. Do you understand you've been accused of multiple crimes?
KAVANAUGH: I'm painfully aware for my family and me to read about this breathless reporting.
CORNYN: Of course, the sexual assault that Dr. Ford claims that you denied and the claims of Ms. Ramirez that not even the New York Times would report because it couldn't corroborate it, and then Stormy Daniels's lawyer released
a bombshell, accusing you of gang rape. All of those are crimes, are they're not?
KAVANAUGH: They are, and I'm never going to get my reputation back. My life is totally and permanently altered.
CORNYN: But Judge, don't give up.
KAVANAUGH: I'm not giving up.
CORNYN: The American people are listening to this, and they will make their decision, and I think you'll come out on the right side of that decision.
KAVANAUGH: Well, I will always be a good person and try to be a good judge, whatever happens.
CORNYN: But this is not a job interview. You've been accused of a crime. If you have lied to the committee and the investigators, that is a crime in and of self, correct?
KAVANAUGH: That is correct.
HEWITT: Larry Arnn, your reaction to that exchange, saying that we've come to McCarthyism. We have come to the low point of a despicable process.
ARNN: So a general point about this, first of all, what does it take to have a constitutional government? Among the things is, the people who operate in that government, have to have respect for the system in which they operate. Let me give you a counterexample first.
In 1945, the socialists got their first majority against Winston Churchill. And he had warned all his life that if you went that way, you'd end up with the gestapo, with some kind of totalitarian government, in the '45 election, he said a gestapo. So then, there arose immediately in his caucus -- he was the leader now of the opposition -- the outcry that they got 48% of the popular vote these socialists, but they got more than 60% of the seats. And Churchill said, we're not going to complain about that. This is the constitutional system that we have. And so we will get a chance to take their place under this system. And so to assail the system that elected them is to undercut everything. So that's the spirit. That's how you go about it. Now the trouble with this thing is, some people in the Senate knew about this thing for a long time, and they brought it up very late -- they say unwillingly, but never mind. And the point is, there isn't any way to verify this thing fully. First of all, if you had a year or 10 years, and you had prosecutors all over it, how would you reconstruct these facts from high school?
HEWITT: From 37 years ago!
ARNN: That's right. And you know, that's more than half these people's lives. And so the point would be, wouldn't you draw back from this on the ground that this -- just because somebody said something, which is all you're ever going to know, is not the way -- and especially, the other thing was, if you've got something in the hopper, then get it investigated. Because whether you're on the left or the right, if you're an elected officer under the Constitution of the United States,
you've taken an oath to uphold the processes of the Constitution and everything else about it. So that part of it is just astonishing to me, and it's a sort of pitiful replay of what happened to Clarence Thomas.
HEWITT: Oh, let me play Orrin Hatch, cut number 31.
HATCH: -- from Arizona emphasized yesterday that we have before us today two human beings -- Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. They deserve, each of you deserves, to be treated fairly and respectfully. We tried to do that with Dr. Ford earlier, and I think we succeeded. It's important that we treat Judge Kavanaugh fairly now. And it remains to be seen how that's going to work out. Judge Kavanaugh has been a federal judge for 12 years. And he's been a great federal judge on the second highest court in the nation. He's earned a reputation for fairness and decency. His clerks love him. His students -- he teaches in Law school as well. His students love him. His colleagues love him. This man is not a monster, nor is he what has been represented here in these hearings. We're talking today about Judge Kavanaugh's conduct in high school. And even then, and as a freshman in college, I guess as well, serious allegations have been raised. If Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assault, he should not serve on the Supreme Court. I think we'd all agree with that. But the circus atmosphere that has been created since my Democratic colleagues first leaked Dr. Ford's allegations to the media two weeks ago -- after sitting on them for six weeks, I might add -- has brought us the worst in our politics. It certainly has brought us no closer to the truth. Anonymous letters with no name and no return address are now being treated as national news. Porn star lawyers with facially implausible claims are driving the news cycle. I hate to say this, but this is worse than Robert Bork, and I didn't think it could get any worse than that. This is worse than Clarence Thomas. I didn't think it could get any worse than that. This is a national disgrace, the way you're being treated.
HEWITT: So Larry Arnn, you just heard the context, he's a gentleman. He's retiring with great honor, and dignity, and the respect of everyone, making an appeal for decency and citing the two occasions, Bork and Thomas, when it was most absent from the chamber. Does it have a prayer of being resurrected?
ARNN: That's right. And see, the larger point here is, as has happened in the past in the worst crises in American history, I heard a really good talk from Charles Kessler last night here at Hillsdale College. He's editor of the Claremont Review of Books. And he made the point that we're in a cold civil war, because we're not willing to subordinate our positions to the
requirements of functioning under the Constitution, whatever you think, right? I mean, first of all, what I've learned about Judge Kavanaugh in this last episode is, this guy's got a lot of spit and fire in him, you know? You didn't see that before. He's a very careful man. He's a very methodical man. A little boring, you know? And it turns out, he's not like that at all. He's indignant about this thing, and he's good at saying so. So he rose in my estimation. And the point about the charges is, if the charges are true, they are terrible, although mitigated by the usefulness of the person that committed it. That would be taken into account. He's a minor. But on the other hand, the point is, the charges cannot be corroborated in this time frame after this much time has passed.
HEWITT: If I believed for a moment they were true, I would vote against him, and I would urge everyone to do so. I don't believe them, and I believe the righteous indignation, the outrage voiced by the judge is the best evidence that whatever happened to Dr. Ford -- and she is clearly traumatized by something, though it took 30 years for it to surface, and in those 30 years stuff happens to memory, as you and I both know -- I just don't believe any decent person can say that they will not vote for him on the basis of that. It's a manipulation of the process.
ARNN: There's a big constitutional reason, in my estimation, not to cooperate with this. But what you're saying is, there's also a party reason not to cooperate with this. The American people have given the majority to the party of the President who nominated this man. They were all inclined to vote for him before this thing happened. And if they can be stopped by this, what good are they?
HEWITT: That's it. That's it. That is also a political issue. I'm actually hoping some Democrats step up and say I will not be complicit with this Darkness at Noon moment. By the way, a book cited by our friend Tom Cotton online yesterday. I'll be right back. America. Dr Larry Arnn. All things Hillsdale at Hillsdale.edu. Welcome back, America. It's Hugh Hewitt with Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of Hillsdale College. And boy, do you ever need to repair to Hillsdale.edu and watch the courses on the Constitution. All of our dialogue dating back many years are collected at HughforHillsdale.com. I will play for you after the break in the longer segment, Dr. Arnn, Lindsey Graham's now famous fusillade at the Democrats on his committee. And included in it, and Kimberley Strassel quotes this this morning, Senator Lindsey Graham said, quote, "If you vote no, you are legitimizing the most despicable thing I've seen in my time in politics." Kim Strassel writes, "The stakes go beyond Judge Kavanaugh. A no vote now equals a public approval of every underhanded tactic deployed by the Left in recent weeks. It's a green light to send coat hangers and rape threats to Susan Collins and her staff. It's a sanction to the mob that drove Senator Ted Cruz and his wife out of a restaurant. It is an endorsement of Senator Dianne Feinstein, who kept that charge secret for weeks until she could use it to ambush the nominee with last - minute, unverified claims. It's approval of the release of confidential material-- "hello, Spartacus-- "the overthrow of regular Senate order and Twitter rule. Its authorization for a now thoroughly unprofessional press corps to continue crafting stories that rest on anonymous accusers and that twist innuendo into gang rapes. A vote against Brett Kavanaugh is a vote for Michael Avenatti. And no senator can hide from this reality. There is no muddy middle." Kim Strassel is right, Larry. That which gets rewarded gets repeated. I don't know how we could fall off this floor, but they'll find a way.
ARNN: Yeah, they might. Kimberley is very clear, isn't she?
ARNN: You know, because we're in this mess -- I mean, this is a symptom of a chronic mess. There's kind of a breakdown in our ability to govern by the rules. We have the best rules, the most abiding rules of governing in history. Longest written constitution ever. And the fact that we can't agree to live under those rules, but instead use them constantly as a weapon, this part of it seems one-sided to me. I mean, I don't know a case where the Republicans have done this to an appointee. They didn't do it to any of Obama's appointees. They didn't do it to Clinton's appointees. So I tremble about this. I think this is a grave sign, and there are many about us today.
HEWITT: I think that one of the key things might be that we have to go back to what the Framers had in mind. They did not have judiciary committees. They had the Senate. And it is my opinion that this charade that we went through for eight weeks of hearings, and documents. It's all a charade to draw out the moment when the torpedo was launched, and it gives the light of the good faith of the left. There isn't any. And so why not move a nomination from the president immediately to the floor, allow a couple of weeks for people to research documents and get the FBI report, and then just have a debate? Because this committee process is a sham!
ARNN: Yep. It is. So Dianne Feinstein -- she's up, right? So she's winning in headlines to the left, and she's been a moderate and good senator on many occasions that I know of. And so I think that they are being driven by the violence of their supporters.
HEWITT: Do you know that yesterday afternoon, someone on the hill, a congressional staffer, doxed -- meaning posted the documents -- the online addresses and phone numbers of Republican senators? And this is within a year of a nut going with a semiautomatic weapon to kill the Republicans in the House playing softball. Genuinely, it's a cold civil war, but we're kind of into bushwhacking territory.
ARNN: Aren't we, though? Well, in the cold civil war that led to the hot civil war, things like
this happened a lot -- people harmed, senator was beaten nearly to death on the floor of the Senate by another Senator. But you said something earlier I want to draw out because it's important. I think that the people who are in a sublime position to ease this and return some order, and rationality, and civility to politics are some Democrats. It would be good if some of them would vote for this guy. And it would be important, in my opinion, for the Republicans to vote for him, but it would be good if some Democrats voted for him.
HEWITT: It would be the beginning of a salvaging and a rejection of this process. Chris Coons and I had talked about how it has to be overhauled, and then they just dug the hole deeper. I'll be right back, Dr. Larry Arnn, and we'll listen to Lindsey Graham's memorable, memorable exchange yesterday. Stay tuned. It's the Hugh Hewitt show. Welcome back, America, it's Hugh Hewett in the ReliefFactor.com studio. All right, I want to go back to serious stuff. There are two more things have to play so that it goes on the archives. We keep every Hillsdale dialogue forever. Two more pieces of dialogue I want you to hear. This is Lindsey Graham talking both to Judge Kavanaugh and to his Democratic colleagues by turn. You have to listen carefully when he turns his gaze-- cut number 29.
GRAHAM: Are you aware that, at 9:23 on the night of July the 9th, the day you were nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump, Senator Schumer said, 23 minutes after your nomination, I'll oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same. The stakes are simply too high for anything less. Well, if you weren't aware of it, you are now. Did you meet with Senator Dianne Feinstein on August 20th?
KAVANAUGH: I did meet with Senator Feinstein.
GRAHAM: Did you know that her staff had already recommended a lawyer to Dr. Ford?
KAVANAUGH: I did not know that.
GRAHAM: Did you know that her and her staff had these allegations for over 20 days?
KAVANAUGH: I did not know that at the time.
GRAHAM: If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could've come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020! You said that, not me! You've got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan tell him that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy. 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. Are you a gang rapist?
GRAHAM: I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through. Boy, y'all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham-- that you knew about it, and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She's as much of a victim as you are. God, I hate to say it, 'cause these have been my friends. Well, let me tell you, when it comes to this, you're looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. Do you consider this a job interview?
KAVANAUGH: The advice and consent role is like a job interview.
GRAHAM: Do you consider that you've been through a job interview?
KAVANAUGH: I've been through a process of advice and consent under the Constitution--
GRAHAM: Would you say you've been through hell?
KAVANAUGH: I've been through hell and then some.
GRAHAM: This is not a job interview.
GRAHAM: This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap! Your high school yearbook -- you have interacted with professional women all your life, not one accusation. You're supposed to be Bill Cosby when you're a junior and senior in high school. And all of a sudden, you got over it? It's been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don't stop. Here's my understanding. If you've lived a good life, people would recognize it -- like the American Bar Association has, the gold standard. "His integrity is absolutely unquestioned. He has been very circumspect in his personal conduct, harbors no biases or prejudices. He's entirely ethical, is a really decent person, he is warm, friendly, unassuming. He's the nicest person--" the ABA. One thing I can tell you, you should be proud of. Ashley, you should be proud of this -- that you raised a daughter who had the good character to pray for Dr. Ford. To my Republican colleagues, if you vote, no, you're legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics. You want this seat? I hope you never get it. I hope you're on the Supreme Court. That's exactly where you should be. And I hope that the American people will see through this charade. And I wish you well. And I intend to vote for you, and I hope everybody who is fair-minded will.
HEWITT: That was Senator Lindsey Graham. Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, how do you react to that?
ARNN: Well, I remember that kind of Lindsey Graham from long ago. I think he was angry and righteously indignant. And so that's why it was powerful. And I think he makes good points there.
HEWITT: He said, "God, I hate to say this because these have been my friends." There's a past tense. There's an invocation of the creator. There is agony that he has to call out people that he knows. It's just so authentic and true. But he knows it was a charade. That's what's getting at him. Eight weeks of this was all a setup, and that's why I think the committee process is broken, though Chairman Grassley did a fine and fair job and the investigators have been fair. It's all been fair, but it didn't matter to any of them. It was never about Kavanaugh.
ARNN: Yeah, Lindsey Graham is a great negotiator by reputation. I don't know him very well, although I know him. And what one hears about him is that he's very good at figuring out how to put a combination together that reaches across party lines, which is, of course, an important thing for a legislator to be able to do. And he's been particularly keen on that. He mentioned once to me -- in this sort of mode of John McCain. And if that's been his mode -- and it's a good mode for a senator -- to put that in the past tense and raise the prospect of burning those bridges, that meant he meant something there.
HEWITT: Yes. And here is the last exchange. This is Senator John Kennedy who has distinguished himself from Louisiana in this process. I don't know him. He's turned out to be a man of extraordinary common sense and good grace. Talking with Judge Kavanaugh at almost the end of the eight-hour agony. On the rack, cut number 39.
KENNEDY: I'm sorry, Judge, for what you and your family have been through. And I'm sorry for what Dr. Ford and her family have been through. It could have been avoided. Do you believe in God?
KENNEDY: I'm going to give you a last opportunity -- right here, right in front of God and country. I want you to look me in the eye. Are Dr. Ford's allegations true?
KAVANAUGH: They are not accurate as to me. I have not questioned that she might have been sexually assaulted at some point in her life by someone, someplace, but as to me, I've never done this. Never done this to her or to anyone else. And I've talked to you about what I was doing that summer of 1982, but I'm telling you, I've never done this to anyone, including her.
KENNEDY: Are Ms Ramirez's allegations about you true?
KAVANAUGH: Those are not. None of the witnesses in the room support that. If that had happened, that would have been the talk of campus in our freshman dorm. The New York Times reported that, as recently as last week, she was calling other classmates seeking to -- well, I'm not going to characterize it, but calling classmates last week and just seemed very -- I'll just stop there. But it's not true. It's not true.
KENNEDY: Are Ms. Swetnick's allegations made by Mr. Avenatti about you true?
KAVANAUGH: Those are not true -- never met her, don't know who she is. There was a letter released within two hours of that breaking yesterday from 60 people who knew me in high school, men and women, who said it was, their words, "nonsense--" the whole thing, totally ridiculous.
KENNEDY: None of these allegations are true?
KENNEDY: No doubt in your mind?
KAVANAUGH: Zero. 100% certain.
KENNEDY: Not even a scintilla?
KAVANAUGH: Not a scintilla. 100% certain, Senator.
KENNEDY: You swear to God?
KAVANAUGH: I swear to God.
KENNEDY: That's all I have, Judge.
HEWITT: What did you make of that, Dr. Arnn?
ARNN: That was good. Yeah, and see, one of the things that happens -- one of the reasons we're in a dangerous time in America is that -- I think this is going to go on, by the way. I don't see exactly how it'll take a long time to work our way out of this. But one of the things that happens is, everyone's credibility is destroyed the minute they touch politics. There are two Americas, and one America believes in one side and the other America believes in the other side. And so it's very hard to break through and establish any reality. Now most Americans are actually in the middle, between the left and the right, and to the extent that they paid attention to this, they probably would have been persuaded by Lindsey Graham and by--
HEWITT: John Cornyn, Brett Kavanaugh, John Kennedy, yeah.
ARNN: Because I mean, you just have to sort of put yourself in his place. This guy is a successful man with a close family who is a regular attender of church. And so what is he if he answered all those questions falsely? And he's got to be a horrific man in that case. Whereas Dr. Ford does not have to be a horrific woman for her charges against him to be, as he put it, inaccurate.
HEWITT: Now I'm going to indulge or ask the indulgence of our sponsor ReliefFactor.com because I want to play for you one more quote. Normally, I tell people about the glories of ReliefFactor.com right now, but I think they will allow me this one indulgence, because this is such an important day. Here is Judge Kavanaugh, cut number 22.
KAVANAUGH: That's not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night, Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers. And little Liza, all of 10 years old -- said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman. That's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old.
HEWITT: Dr. Arnn, it is, and it reflects her parents.
ARNN: I think we ought to put that daughter on the Supreme Court.
HEWITT: We should all be so generous.
ARNN: Yeah, and that's the right attitude. So first of all, this is a political process. And one of the things, especially in the media age, is it's sort of opinion polling, right? That was what the Clarence Thomas thing was about. Now Justice Thomas was very strong with rebuttal of these things. And on examination, there were problems with the allegations -- the corroboration of the allegations. And so he was confirmed. Well, that's all legitimate. But this way, an ambush right at the end?
HEWITT: Yeah, that was awful. I'll be right back with Dr. Larry Arnn on Hillsdale Dialogue. Stay tuned. Welcome back, Americans. The conclusion of probably the most important week in American constitutional life in a long time. Dr. Larry Arnn is my guest. Dr. Arnn, in the aftermath of yesterday's hearing, critics of Kavanaugh's said he'd become too angry to be a judge. Charles CW Cook today said, "Put simply, if Kavanaugh believes he is innocent, and he does, there is no other proper way for him to act. What he did today is what I would have done if someone accused me of being a gang rapist, and a lecher, and a teenage sexual deviant. After 10 days of listening to this stuff and watching in horror as the spaghetti was thrown at the wall, I, too, would have done this, having suddenly realized I would never again regain my reputation full. I would have been livid, devastated, furious, and so, frankly, would anyone else in that position. "Sure, if I were guilty, I'd probably have crept away to lick my wounds, but if I were not, I'd put on my spurs and channel Anancourt.
To wonder why a man in Kavanaugh's position is angry is to betray either a disastrous lack of empathy or a telling lack of humanity. Of course he's angry, as opposed to what?" What do you make of that?
ARNN: Yeah, well, if we kick you and you stay down, you're too weak to be a judge. And if we kick you and you kick back, you're too strong.
HEWITT: It's the Left! And our friend Tom Cotton put up a picture of Darkness at Noon yesterday. What do you think he was communicating when he did that? You're teaching it right now.
ARNN: Yeah, it just so happens I'm teaching a class and we are having our first class today on Darkness at Noon. And yeah, it's a novel to explain the Moscow Show Trials. Because what happened was, in 1917, the Germans put a bunch
of Bolsheviks who had been hiding out in Switzerland back into Russia, and they took down Russia, and got Russia out of the war, and turned it into the Bolshevik thing. And so there's a picture of all the guys who were in that first
step in the revolution, and they all kept one on their walls. But by the time they were-- by 1939, every one of them who'd not died of natural causes, Stalin, who's one in the picture, a junior one, more junior one, had killed 'em all. And then, they did an amazing thing. They weren't guilty of the crimes of which they were accused, but they went to plead guilty and denounce themselves in public trials with the Western press, knowing that within a week, they were going to be shot in the dungeon without any ceremony. And the book is about, why did they do that? And we should talk about that book sometime, because it's really good. It's a very profound book. And it's one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, in my opinion. But it's like this in this respect. Stalin wanted the show. Even though it was widely disbelieved, he wanted the show. He wanted to put it on for the people to see. And this is the people he's governing with a secret police. And yet, he still cares what they think. And so this show is like that.
HEWITT: And I believe the result here is that that process is so inimical to the American spirit that decent people will confirm Judge Kavanaugh, because that is what we've had -- a show trial. And it was set up. It was so disingenuous, Larry. That's what people need to understand -- how absolutely disingenuous, how much of a lie the process was.
ARNN: Yeah, and see, the point that I want to make this morning more than any other, is it's important to have a Supreme Court that follows the rule of law and tries to accurately interpret the Constitution. Otherwise, we don't have a constitution, and then we're lawless. So I think that's important. And that's a kind of long-term importance. But this thing is about the functioning of the political branches and whether they will function together in a way. I mean, we're soon to publish the document volumes that covers Winston Churchill's only period in his life when he was leader of the opposition. W hen he agreed with the Labour Party, he supported them strongly, which he did in foreign policy. They were anti-communist, these socialists who took over Britain. And he made the point -- when they were good, he called them good. And when they were bad, he called them bad. But you know, he was so eloquent he didn't need to be uncivil. So the point is, we should get that back into our politics. And then, the Democrats will win sometimes, and the Republicans will win sometimes, and we'll be glad that neither one of them wins all the attacks.
HEWITT: Yes, yes, yes. And I am hoping that the decent people come forward and vote to confirm Kavanaugh with that in mind. Because if they don't, as Lindsey Graham said, they will be endorsing the opposite of that process. And Lindsey Graham said, you want power. You were my friends. But now, it is revealed to me you really just want power. That's why it was powerful. Dr. Larry Arnn, Hillsdale College, thank you my friend. We will be back on Monday to update everyone from the ReliefFactor.com studio in DC. I believe -- and by the way, the vote will be at 9:30 in the committee. It will be at noon tomorrow in the Senate on a motion to proceed. If they get 51 votes to proceed, he will be confirmed. It is that simple. If you see Jeff Flake, pray for him. Say a good word to him. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Chris Coon, Joe Manchin. This is an easy call, but it's a hard day.