On Thursday, July 11, 2019, Hillsdale College in D.C. hosted the premier book launch event for Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court – the first book on the controversial Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which is currently the No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon.
Authors Mollie Hemingway – the Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and Senior Editor at The Federalist, and Carrie Severino – Chief Counsel and Policy Director for the Judicial Crisis Network, joined Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College, Dr. Matthew Spalding on stage to discuss their new book in front of a sold out audience.
“Most political books aren’t very good… This is not one of those books,” Dr. Spalding said to start off the evening. “It is a wonderful book, a compelling narrative, and a great story.”
Justice on Trial is a thoroughly researched behind the scenes look at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing and the political events leading up to it. It covers the recent history of judicial nominations, President Donald Trump’s precedent breaking creation of a judicial nominee list, and every twist and turn of Kavanaugh’s path to the Supreme Court.
“We wrote this book because…it wasn’t just Brett Kavanaugh who was on trial, it was really justice itself on trial, in the attacks we saw on due process [and] in the attacks we saw on the presumption of innocence,” Severino said.
Dr. Spalding observed that while one side was fighting via legal channels, the other was fighting in a post-legal, post-constitutional manner. The attack on due process and justice itself was terrifying, Hemingway commented.
Severino also shared she did not want to allow the narrative of Kavanaugh’s judicial legacy to be permanently set by those who opposed him, as had happened in the case of Justice Clarence Thomas.
The Democrats’ big strategy was “just about delaying and obstructing the nomination process,” Hemingway said. One way they sought to do this was by fighting about paperwork. “If you’re interested in paperwork and documents, there’s a chapter in there for you,” Hemingway quipped as the audience laughed.
One new revelation the book brings out is that the White House and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee had quite a bit of unflattering information about Christine Blasey-Ford’s past, but they made the strategic decision not to bring it up in the hearings, Severino shared. Further, several of Ford’s Facebook friends said her profile was very political, even “crazy political,” but right before the nomination was announced “it all got scrubbed,” Hemingway said.
One audience member asked if the authors thought people would remember how certain Senators on the judicial committee, who are now running for President of the United States, acted during the hearings. Hemingway responded that “there also should be political accountability for really bad reckless behavior…its incumbent upon voters to ultimately hold people accountable for failing to uphold decorum…and the rule of law.”
Lastly, Severino offered advice to future administrations about upcoming nominations for the Supreme Court. She said the old advice often given to administrations was to keep your head down, but Trump ignored this advice and instead chose judges that were known for making bold and influential decisions.
Grace Edwards, a recent graduate of Baylor University and an attendee of the event said, “I thought that the event was wonderful and a breath of fresh air. I bought the book right after hearing the authors talk about it, because I wanted to read a non-political, factual account of the events.”
If you missed the event- don’t worry you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/345717542/63e7852c23