Kavanaugh’s confirmation a stain on history
I cannot disagree more with the letter to the editor “Kavanaugh had a witch trial” (October 5).
Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a terrible stain on American history. This wasn’t about whether there was proof to send the man to jail — the statute of limitations decided that long ago. This was about whether there was credible evidence to reject this man for a job of the utmost importance, and which requires him to establish himself as an impartial adjudicator. Unless there was proof that his accusers were Russian operatives or that Kavanaugh couldn’t possibly have been guilty (along the lines of hiking in Switzerland at the time in question), he simply shouldn’t have been confirmed.
The message sent to the citizens of this country was loud and clear: it doesn’t matter that you don’t trust this man. It doesn’t matter that you experienced sexual assault and harassment and confirmation of this man trivializes your pain and reinforces the view that entitled, rich men can get away with anything. Ultimately, the president and the senators who voted to confirm Kavanaugh, told you loud and clear: you simply don’t matter.
We need to respond by voting them out.
No, it was not a witch trial
Dr. Jerold Terdiman entirely mischaracterizes the constitutional scheme for appointing federal judges in his October 5 letter (“Kavanaugh had a witch trial”). The burden is not on senators or opposing witnesses to establish that an appointee is not qualified for office.
Rather, it is for the appointing authority (the president) and his supporters to establish a prospective appointee’s qualifications. The Constitution clearly states that it is the Senate’s role to “advise and consent.” It does not place the burden on the Senate to veto an appointment, nor does it give a presidential appointee the benefit of the doubt.
As we saw in the Merrick Garland situation, the Senate may simply respond to a proposed nomination with inaction. There is no due process consideration whatsoever in the constitutional scheme.
Furthermore, if the Senate is going to invent a due process scheme, “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” is a criminal standard of proof that is never used in a civil context where standards such as the “preponderance of the evidence” or “scintilla of evidence” are applied.
This is all immaterial. Each senator has the right to do as he or she sees fit with regard to an appointment to any federal office. Appointments high and low are rejected or ignored by the Senate year round among candidates for office in the executive and judicial branches and the military.
There is no standard for appointments in our history other than that applied subsequently by the electorate. Rest assured that the ultimate authority on Congressional conduct — the voters themselves — will have something to say about the Kavanaugh matter when casting their votes in the upcoming federal election.
Be sure to vote on November 6
This is not the America I grew up in. We have a president who is a pathological liar, who bullies people, who calls people ugly names. Donald Trump has divided our country. The president should speak to the whole country and not only to his base, at rallies.
The president disgusts me with his bigotry and hatred. I find his behavior appalling, when he mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony when he recently spoke at a rally in Mississippi. It is reprehensible when it is the president of the United States. How can anyone support this man? It boggles my mind!!
From my Torah reading, I learned that “From Judaism’s perspective, humiliating someone is among the most self-destructive acts in which a person can engage. As the Talmud teaches, ‘One who elevates himself at the expense of another’s degradation will have no share in the World-to-Come.’”
The president appointed Bret Kavanaugh only because the judge opposes any prosecution of a sitting president. Donald Trump never met the judge before nominating him or read anything about his past decisions (since he doesn’t read!).
When Dr. Ford alleged that Judge Kavanagh sexually assaulted her, it was time to do a full investigation by the FBI and not as dictated by the White House and given only four days and only three or four people to interview. How important it was for the truth to come out — but the Republican Senate Judiciary did not want to learn the truth.
After reading Kavanaugh’s testimony, I became deeply concerned about his being nominated. I can’t believe that the Republican senators weren’t able to see how important it is that we have a judge on the bench of integrity and not one that showed himself as a belligerent partisan, with a lack of temperament and more importantly someone who lied under oath. This should have disqualified him for the Supreme Court. Unfortunately we have a Senate that supports an unqualified president. Our democracy is being eroded. It is a sad commentary.
It is important that everyone vote Democratic in the mid-term election on November 6. The stakes are
A primer on the Zionist movement
Will the real Zionists please stand up.
I am a proud card-carrying Zionist. In my wallet, there is a card that shows that I am an officer of Mercaz USA, the Zionist branch of the Conservative movement. I also have documents that verify my attendance at the 37th World Zionist Congress in October 2015, held in Jerusalem.
My daughter has lived in Israel for 10 years. Her first visit was with our family in 2004. I have been to Israel many times since the 1970s, and before that, my family had been engaged since the late 50s.
OK, enough about my credentials.
In the October 5 Jewish Standard, Mark Gold explained the Meretz movement in his letter, responding to Dr. Lippe’s September 17 letter that criticized the viewpoints of Mr. Gold and Hiam Simon (“Cry the Beloved Country”). All of us are Zionists. But the debate in the Standard departs in one fundamental aspect from current formal Zionist organizations and their experience here in America.
In that environment, discussions may be tense, but they are mostly civil. We (the representatives of Zionist organizations in America) all realize the necessity of getting along with each other, as difficult as that may be at times. So now might be a good opportunity to review these formal organizations, for those who have forgotten, or might still be unaware of them.
The oldest part of the Zionist world is not the State of Israel, but rather the World Zionist Organization, founded by Theodore Herzl 121 years ago. Under the WZO, there exist a number of public national organizations that predate the State of Israel, such as the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.
WZO also encompasses 31 Zionist federations in the diaspora. Here in the U.S., our federation is known as the American Zionist Movement, or AZM. Under AZM there are 13 member organizations, including ARZA, Hadassah, Mercaz, Partners for Progressive Israel (aka Meretz) and ZOA. In addition to its members (which have voting rights), AZM also includes six affiliates and nine youth organizations.
The AZM world is incredibly diverse in viewpoints, ages, religious observance, gender, and language. And that covers only one of the 31 national federations, not to mention the WZO itself, which is headquartered in Jerusalem. All of us have one thing in common, and that is Ahavat Yisrael, love of Israel.
I urge all readers of the Standard to become members of one of the constituent AZM organizations. Pick whichever one feels closest to your own values. You can get the AZM list by going to its website (www.azm.org) or by calling its office in New York City (ask for Herbert Block). But above all else, recognize that all of us are Zionists, that we all love Israel and that we are all committed to its survival.
Without Israel, the soul of a Jew cannot be complete.
Am Yisrael chai.