In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Americans will long debate whether he was the first (or, arguably, the second) member of the nation’s highest court to have engaged in sexual misconduct. But what is indisputable is that Kavanaugh is the Supreme Court’s first Plumber.
By “Plumber,” I’m not referring to Mario or even Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher. Instead, think of Charles Colson, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt, and the other henchmen who ran a political dirty tricks operation out of the basement of the Nixon White House. For the architects and felons behind the Watergate break-in and the ransacking of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, the ends justified the means. As Colson famously put it, “I’d walk over my own grandmother to re-elect Richard Nixon.”
Simply put, Judge Kavanaugh owes his career on the federal bench to his many years of faithful service as a partisan Republican hatchet man. Prior to his installation on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006, the Renate Alumnius was a right-wing warrior who made his bones by doing the GOP’s dirty work across the better part of two decades. From the Ken Starr inquisition of Bill Clinton, to the 2000 Florida recount, to running the judicial selection for his boss George W. Bush, to illicit domestic surveillance, detainee torture, and other dubious dealings, Brett Kavanaugh’s fingerprints were on them all. And if his unseemly background and shockingly ill-temper weren’t sufficiently disqualifying, Judge Kavanaugh pretty much lied about it all.