Wherein Fr. Z channels his inner nerd – POLL


I am watching the third day of hearings for SCOTUS nominee Judge Kavanaugh.  Today there are panels, with members pro and con his approval by the Senate.  I thought that the previous two days were going to have a lot of pyrotechnics.  They were relatively calm.  I didn’t expect much to happen today, but I turned to CSPAN anyway.  I had some ironing to do.  I hate ironing.  Which, as Preserved Killick would assert, CSPAN and ironing somehow go together, like blue pill and black draught.

Today I have seen examples of pure ideological fanaticism from Dems, who are savaging Kavanaugh on the issue of abortion (Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services figures in this).   The people whom the Dems chose to savage Kavanaugh are quite capable, well-rehearsed and entirely committed to the culture of death

Listening to dialogues between Senators Harris (D-CA – nasty), Booker (D-NJ – ambitious self-promoter), Blumenthal (D-CT – how is it that he gets elected?), Hirono (D-HI – eye-roll) with the likes of very smart and practiced Prof. Melissia Murray of NYU … it’s chilling.

It’s like a trip into bearded-Spock universe.

It’s fascinating and horrifying that there are people who hold with such fanatical commitment certain positions.

Anyone else have the same reaction?

There was one moment that stood out.  Abortion fanatic Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) with that deceptively calm demeanor, had made a claim about the number of deaths of women from illegal abortions.  She had said that in the 50s and 60s there were from 200,000 to 1,200,000 deaths per year.  She corrected her erroneous statement saying that those figures were for estimate of illegal abortions per year: “I said ‘deaths’ – That is not correct.”

Except, Senator, that each of those abortions do, in fact, represent deaths, if not of the women, of the babies who were aborted.

I remain amazed at the systems and structures we have developed wherein difficult issues can be debated and determinations can be made.


I’ve now watched the Dems weaponize children and bring in convicted felon, and apparently memory challenged, John Dean.  How desperate are these Dem-agogues?   Dean, the disbarred convicted felon, even impugned Justices Rehnquist and Thomas as liars (the implication being that so is Kavanaugh?).

Originally Published on: Sep 6, 2018

I admit it.  I am a nerd.

I’ve been watching the Kavanaugh hearings. I wanted to go into law, but I was thwarted.   Really.  Canon Law, but I was talked into Patristics.  Also, did GREs but I didn’t have the money.  But my interest continues. I am such a nerd that I tend to read SCOTUS opinions.

Here are some of the opinions I should (and have in the last few days started) to review:

Marbury v Madison
Morrison v Olson
Plessy v Ferguson
Roe v Wade
Planned Parenthood v Casey
Brown v Board
US v Nixon
Chevron v NRDC
Obergefell v Hodges
Washington v Glucksberg
Hamdan v Rumsfeld
Humphrey’s Executor v US
Chevron v NRDC
District of Columbia v. Heller
McDonald v. City of Chicago

These are cases that came up again and again because of the burning issues today.  It is good to a) review or b) learn what they say.

For example, Kavanaugh and J. Kagan say that the late (O please come back) J. Scalia’s dissent on Morrison v. Olson was amazing.  I read it.  AMAZING.

The proceedings also got me to go look at the descriptions of various SCOTUS Justices, such as Harlan 2nd.

BTW… I also, in watching the hearings, come to loathe newly or to renew loathing of some Senators.  I really mean loathe.

Have any of you been watching the hearings?

Fully?  On and off? Only news accounts?

CSPAN has everything.    Boring?  Not so much.

You can comment and I hope you will if you are registered.

The 2018 SCOTUS Kavanaugh Hearings

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, POLLS, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. benedetta says:

    One of my favorite justices of all time, after Scalia, is Whizzer White.

  2. robtbrown says:

    I’ve watched very little. It seems mainly a fund raising event for the democrats.

  3. philosophicallyfrank says:

    Why waste my time; when I knew what was going to occur. The more conservative the nominee would be; the more the Democrats would disrupt. It started in the 1980s when they successfully destroyed Judge Bork. The only way that one could gain any benefit from watching it; would be to offer it up as penance and then die and be able to go straight to Heaven with a clean soul.

  4. John Grammaticus says:

    perspective from the UK (someone watching a fair bit live via youtube)

    In the West Wing episode “Bartlet for America” Cliff Calley says to a republican congressmen on the governmental oversight committee that “this is bush league stuff” and “this is why good people hate us”. I could say the same thing about the Democrats, from the protesters being disruptive (who knows what they wish to achieve) to the democratic members of the committee posturing for goodness knows how long about not having EVERYTHING that crossed the Kavanaugh’s desk from his time in W’s Administration.

    Another thing that annoys me is the fact that they keep returning to points where he’s already given a clear answer, please stop grandstanding, you’ve all said that you wouldn’t vote for him if your life depended on it. Keeping the poor man in the chair for 12 hours plus just to demonstrate how ‘woke’ you are is tiresome, this idiocy day after day is how we got trump (not a big fan).

  5. frjimt says:

    I watch & pray… God bless judge k & have mercy on those who appeal to him about their children, grandchildren, constituents & never a word about children murdered in the womb… Pharisees..

  6. clare joseph says:

    Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been a particular prayer petition of mine. I went straight to the Virgin with this one. I’ve been confident from the outset that he would be confirmed. I also wrote to Senator McConnell about it (“do everything you can to assure that he will be confirmed as quickly as possible”).
    I don’t use cable TV – I watch so little TV, it isn’t worth my while to have cable. I mean, I own a TV, but I don’t remember the last time I turned it on. (Alas, can’t watch the US Open on CBS any more.) I get a lot of my political news from conservative radio talk shows. I also subscribe to the M-F daily news email, “1600 Daily”, that comes straight from the White House, so I can know what the President and VP are doing (as MSM will not inform me).
    The first day of the hearings I made a point of listening to the radio in the evening to get the lowdown on the day’s proceedings. You know what I was met with. Even with all the left-wing shenanigans of the last couple of years, I was still shocked at the idiocy, and was frankly embarrassed by it. I was embarrassed that Judge Kavanaugh had to endure that. Also saddened that he has to endure the ways his integrity is questioned. I decided after hearing the audio of the first day’s disruptions not to follow the news about this closely, but just to pray and wait for the good news of his confirmation.

  7. Charivari Rob says:

    Haven’t been able to watch. Would really like to see some of it first hand, simply because most coverage is ridiculously biased one direction or the other depending on the slant of the network/source, and I really need some of my own observation as a control.
    Pathetic that it’s so difficult to get fact-based reporting. I went to read reports after somesegment of the hearing today – all I could get was spin headlines: “Kavanagh flummoxed by Senator X’s questions!” and “Watch as Kavanagh destroys Senator X’s line of questioning!”

  8. Bos Mutissimus says:

    Don’t forget Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965). Maybe not germane to Kavanaugh, but certainly influential on subsequent decisions.

    Also, for a really good Scalia dissent, read Stenberg v. Carhart 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

  9. Shonkin says:

    I watched Diane Feinstein questioning Kavanaugh the other day. Along with other Democrats, she hammered away at whether Judge Kavanaugh thinks stare decisis is an unshakable, absolute principle. (Of course she made it clear that she had Row vs. Wade in mind.)
    I’d have loved to see him answer that, if it were an absolute, then Brown vs. Board of Education could never have overthrown Plessy vs. Ferguson. But that would have been impolitic.

  10. Diane says:

    Sorry Father, I have been unable to watch it. I know it would just make me angry seeing the dems do their dog and pony show. I’m out here in the hinterlands just praying for Kavanaugh to get confirmed and soon. My husband watches it all though. He has a tougher stomach than I do.

  11. Spinmamma says:

    I propose another category for your poll. “I was very interested but was so sickened to see the Democrats’ utter lack of respect, integrity, and dignity in the first hour that I could no longer bear to watch and just followed it on trusted news or blog sites.”

  12. GregB says:

    The Kelo case covering eminent domain might be a good case to add to your list.

  13. thomistking says:

    Politics is so toxic these days that I can’t bring myself to be interested in it. Kavanaugh seems solid on most things and I hope he is confirmed, but I just can’t subject myself to this never ending circus (I will vote, however).

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    I have no need to watch demonstrations of pathological narcissism. The behavior of any obstreperous “adult” is, while blazingly revelatory of the secular materialist psyche and thus instructive, is always revolting. And in the end redundant. How many times do you have to see it demonstrated in Church, society – and in your family – before you have the picture?
    But I must admit Cory Broker was a new low yesterday. Spartacus my foot. It was a howler. They all think they are heroes in the civil sphere and martyred doctors of the Church in ecclesia.
    We inhabit a mad house at recreation hour.

  15. Cafea Fruor says:

    There’s an option missing from the poll: I haven’t seen a thing because of not being able to watch anything but wanted to watch some. Most of it’s on while I’m at work, and I can’t watch there, and I’ve had appointments every day this week.

  16. Cafea Fruor says:

    *every evening this week

  17. Legisperitus says:

    I’ve seen enough to tell that Kavanaugh is quite a constitutional scholar. For example, when asked about the theory sometimes called “coordinate review” (that the executive branch is free to disregard the Supreme Court’s constitutional judgments), he accurately located the origin of modern judicial supremacy in Cooper v. Aaron (1958) rather than in Marbury v. Madison.

  18. teomatteo says:

    i didnt watch for the same reason i dont watch sausage being made…

  19. Dismas says:

    Watching would be a near occasion of sin. I can suffer the ignorant, but suffering stupidity is nigh impossible for me.

  20. Ellen says:

    I don’t have cable but I watched a little bit on-line. The Handmaid’s Tale cosplayers look silly, the very idea of decorum has gone out the window and the Senators seem to have lost all their brains. I quit watching and said a prayer for my country.

  21. KateD says:

    I voted that I’m watching everything as it was the best fit, since there was no precedent that matched the exact situation at hand.

    We watch selected items on YouTube via phone as hotspot with uber slooooow inter-er-er-er-neeeeeeetaaahhhhh.

    So we basically watch in 30 second snippets spaced by three minute pauses…lol. It took from about 3am to 7pm to catch 4 hours of day 2 yesterday. So the hearings are running in the house all the time and are a constant subject of conversation around the house. We have tended to FF through the friendly questioner’s love fests and focused on listening to the hostiles where we can.

    Every time a protester screams my husband says, “Kids, that’s the voice of Satan right there. He’s throwing a temper tantrum, because he cannot stop this guy from getting on or the good he will do. That’s verification this guy is as good as he seems.”

  22. I have only watched the auctioneer do his thing. What an unforgettable moment. I don’t watch because like a lot of other people, it will only infuriate me. It is disheartening to see so many immature people in one room, who are a disgrace. I then remember what de Sales said, “Don’t pay attention to what your enemies have to say.” So, I just pray for God’s Will in the matter.

  23. Deo volente says:

    I was emotionally scarred by the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings which I watched in toto. The evil on display was absolutely chilling. I still muse what would have happened if Justice Bork was on the Court. I realize (as most who have answered) that the greatest thing that happened as a result of the last election was that a conservative Court might come to fruition. God willing, we may see that fulfilled. So, I watched a bit, but not as much as I wished.

  24. bobbird says:

    I echo the sentiments voiced here in many ways: Kelo, Marbury, Griswold. Oh, and don’t forget Doe v. Bolton, Roe’s seldom studied companion case; the stomach-turning circus events, from Soros-paid demonstrators, are best left to the hi-lite reels.

    If you saw Sen. Sasse of Nebraska’s opening comments, you would have a good start in proper constitutional understanding of the court. As such, dear readers, PLEASE, pretty please, wake up: waiting for SCOTUS to overturn Roe is stupid. It could have been done all along through executive refusal to enforce it, or Congressional interception in Art. III, Sec. 2. And that is just through FEDERAL power. The states could, even now, nullify it. See Dan Fisher of Oklahoma’s comments, which would mirror Ron Paul, Thomas Woods, or my own. I once again submit this via email to good Fr. Z, in hopes that he will post a brief essay.

    The Church is only starting its civil war, but so is the American Empire. Pat Buchanan would certainly agree that is what we have been all along. By accepting the presidency as an elected dictatorship, we make the presidency a desperate winner-take-all game. Generations of this has pushed us to the brink of intolerance towards those we disagree with. Much better to either 1) restore the proper federalism, or 2) “Erring Sisters, let’s depart in peace.” But that would entail recognizing that Father Abraham, deified beyond all reasonable understanding, was wrong in his subjugation of the Constitution.

  25. TonyO says:

    I have not watched any of the hearings because I have watched such hearings before and it makes me ill. The grandstanding is appalling, the manipulation patent. Both sides tend to use the hearings for all sorts of purposes OTHER THAN learning something about the nominee that they didn’t already know, so the hearings themselves are mostly fraudulent and I don’t want to “participate” even to the extent of being a watcher. And I have too many other things to do.

    I have read many SCUTUS decisions with their opinions and the dissents. I particularly was struck by the dissents in Obergefell, in which Chief Justice Roberts (not especially outspoken like Scalia) declared the majority decision to be an act of will, not of judgment. This is, effectively, as close as a SC justice can come to saying “all you out there should consider not complying, because this is not true law” without actually saying it. Kim Davis had the right response.

    We need to invoke the equality of the 3 branches more, and more effectively. And we need to restore the balance of powers between the states and the federal union: the federal government is supposed to only have those governmental powers that it received from the states by the states’ grant of permission and authority, it has no INHERENT powers as such. The states need to re-establish their rights to act upon matters not ceded to the federal government.

  26. Facta Non Verba says:

    I enjoy these hearings, but I can only catch the CPAN summary in the evenings since I am at work during the day.

    If you are interested in important Supreme Court cases, I recommend Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), a case that should have been over ruled a long time ago.

  27. iamlucky13 says:

    Like others I have difficulty watching because such hearings are so immensely frustrating.

    Reading decisions, on the other hand, is much easier.

    I don’t read decisions often, but I have read significant parts of a few. Aside from understanding the basis of decisions and to determine whether I agree or need to give further consideration to my own position, there are sometimes interesting insights revealed about the justices writing the opinion. It can really drive home the curiosity of how Scalia and Ginsburg seemed to get along so well, despite being so different.

    I have not had time to read any Kavanaugh decisions yet, however. If it’s like the Gorsuch hearings, it will be very instructive to read some of the decisions he is criticized for, to note who those criticisms come from, and to contrast what is claimed about his decisions, versus what he actually wrote.

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    Haven’t seen any of the hearings except a few short clips online and an article or two. What a circus. Welcome to the US Congress in the Year of Our Lord 2018.

    So, Kavanaugh loves his wife, volunteers at a soup kitchen, coaches one of his daughter’s teams, says his other daughter gives the world’s greatest hugs, and takes a widow’s daughter to the Father-Daughter Dance. And he wants to uphold the Constitution. Clearly, a man such as this is a menace to society and should not be allowed to walk the earth.

    Therefore anyone who votes for Kavanaugh, according to one “Democrat” senator, is “complicit in evil.” Perhaps our Republic would be improved if “Democrat” Senate offices were equipped with Fainting Couches to reduce their Unbridled Rage to merely Erratic Anger.

    Anyway, the Hamdan v Rumsfeld mentioned above helped popularize “Lawfare.”

    Speaking of Preserved Killick, Stephen Maturin infiltrated the Senate Democrat chambers and made the following observation:

    “Most Democrat Senators spend their time scribbling infernal legislation, after which they wander the halls of Congress braying for tobacco and laudanum. At noon these slubberdegullions gather in a stately dining room to feast brutishly upon carrion and pudding.”

  29. tho says:

    I echo Deo volente in regards to Robert Bork. Here was a man that was intellectually superior to the whole judiciary committee combined. He was also graceful and courteous, and gave me the impression, that he was a well meaning man who had to reason with a bunch of unruly children. The biggest blowhard was the judiciary chairman, our former Vice President Joe Biden, who was aided and abetted by Senators Leahy, Durbin, along with that man without honor, Senator Kennedy.
    I have never been so embarrassed for our country, and could not fathom the mindset of anyone who voted for such morons. That whole group belonged in a sand box, with bucket and shovel.
    And yes I watch that hearing gavel to gavel.

  30. Kathleen10 says:

    Schultz here.
    I have a sensitive nature, and can’t stand watching the disintegration of the culture. I am old enough to remember when actual grownups ran things, when men at places like NASA or Congress wore white shirts and ties and ladies dressed with decorum and people on opposite sides of the political fence still used the expected kind of verbal chivalry with each other that indicated we were a stable democratic republic. We did not always agree with others but we did not suspect they were Communists who had an animus toward our own nation.
    Now to see cheap carny barkers pass for statesmen, people who are obviously motivated by personal gain rather than any notions about our great nation, it hurts. These people would not have been worthy to valet the cars of the political leaders we once had, flawed they may have been but they were not the penny ante showboaters these people are. And then there’s the consideration that we have so many people who would actually vote for these types.
    Hopefully Americans realize what is at stake with the midterm elections, and not only vote but bring a friend who would not have voted. There is a lot at stake.

  31. kelleyb says:

    I did not watch any of the hearing. I prayed a 54 day Rosary Novena for Kavanaugh’s appointment. I leave his appointment in our Lady’s hands. I would be screaming and throwing things at the TV if I watched. I am unable, in this current climate, to suffer idiots silently. I am totally fed up this the obnoxious posturing and unending lies that spew out of the Democrats since November 2016. When the current state of the some of the Church’s Bishops and Cardinals is tossed in, I am ready to dig a hole and bury the TV.
    St Catherine of Siena pray for us

  32. kelleyb says:

    Father Z, you probably already read this http://www.scotusblog.com/ If not, I highly recommend this site on all things Supreme Court rulings et al.

  33. jerome623 says:

    Something the Democrats should’ve carefully pondered before they decided to go all-out against Kavanaugh: if the Dems manage to take out Kavanaugh, Trump will probably nominate Amy Barrett.

  34. pjthom81 says:

    I am an attorney who has my own practice..so I was able to let the hearings play off C-Span while I worked. I have some information that may be helpful to understanding this current situation. At the risk of oversimplifying there are four groups of justices. Originalists, minimalits (personally tend to be more liberal economically but not socially…they get their name since they tend to want to defer to the other branches or state governments), libertarians (the opposite…..they tend to be socially liberal but economically conservative…and tend to strike down a lot of laws. Think Justice Kennedy) and liberals.

    FDR and Truman tried to replace conservatives with minimalists (like Frankfurter) These minimalists were a restraining influence on the Court between 1937-56. Oddly enough this changed with Ike…who appointed 2 liberals (Warren and Brennan) and one judge with distinct social liberal tendencies in Stewart. In fact, I would argue that since Brennan’s appointment in 1956 the social liberals have had a majority. After Frankfurter retired in 1963 this social liberal element became more aggressive, and the result was the Warren Court. Nixon appointed several justices who were more libertarian in philosophy, but the two socially liberal factions joined together to give Roe v Wade the 7-2 majority they had. Reagan and Bush shifted the balance rightward, and that resulted in both the Bork incident over this same seat in 1987 and the narrower upholding of Roe in Casey (5-4). It has been a very close battle ever since 1987.

    Assuming Kavanaugh takes the seat there will be 4 originalists, 1 minimalist (in his hearings Chief Justice Roberts had mentioned minimalists like Frankfurter and White as inspirations), and 4 liberals. Of those 4 liberals, two are in their 80’s. Social liberals have had their majority since 1956…..a total of 62 years. They are therefore very concerned that they will have lost the SCOTUS for their lifetime.

  35. oledocfarmer says:

    Speaking of inner goobs, etc., this goob clearly has too much time on his hands, but check it out:

    The upcoming First Saturday, October 6, coincides with October 6, 1571, when the Council of War of the Holy League decided to give battle….the eve of Lepanto. A fitting date indeed for at the least the dawn of the Triumph of the Holy Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.

    I was watching my niece’s cat, Tucker, playing with a lil ole mouse before dispatching it the other day. Struck me that the cat-mouse interaction might be a figure of how the Holy Virgin “toys” with the devil

    In these Tyranny of Relativism times, seems as though nowadays, the Virgin is maybe teasing us by communicating to us in the most absolute, non-relative language out there: Mathematics. E.g., 13th day of month, five months, six months, first Sat., etc. Wayell….the First Saturday devotions were instituted of God on Dec 10, 1925. The # of days between. 12/10/1925 and 10/6/2018 is the strikingly Trinitarian number of 33,903. Interesting

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