Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Fallout from the Kavanaugh Hearings: A Permanent Cloud?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Conventional wisdom suggests that, if confirmed, Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh forever will be “smeared” and stained by past frenzied unfounded allegations of sexual assault.

Yet the opposite just as well may be true. As a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh would have withstood every imaginable smear and slander and yet stayed defiant in defending his character and past, proof of both his determination and principles. His near-solitary rebuttal to his Senate accusers may suggest that Kavanaugh could prove to be among the most fearless justices on the Court.

Indeed, the only lasting effect, if any, of the serial smears lodged against him might be that in the future, as in the case of Justice Thomas, Kavanaugh would be essentially immune from progressive media attacks. What he went through likely has inoculated him from the Georgetown-party-circuit syndrome of conservative Supreme Court judges’ eventually becoming more liberal by the insidious socialization within the larger D.C. progressive media, political, and cultural landscape.

Incidentally, contrary to popular opinion, Clarence Thomas hardly remains under a permanent cloud after his ordeal. What stopped further Robert Borking for a while was the resistance and pushback of Clarence Thomas. Far from being ruined by unproven charges, he resisted the mob, got confirmed, and thereby established a precedent that innuendo, ipso facto, would not derail a nominee. For three decades, Thomas has not been regarded as suspect by most Americans but is seen as inspirational for his courage in facing down character assassination.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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