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brett kavanaugh nomination

There have been no political developments or hearings in Washington, DC that disturbed me more than did the testimony of Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate on September 27, 2018.

In Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, he disqualified himself as a candidate for the Supreme Court, quite apart from Dr. Ford’s or other’s allegations of misconduct. He let down his model citizen mask, and what he revealed, to the shock of many (on both sides of the aisle), was profound animus, deep partisan bias, and astounding condescension and disrespect towards the entire Senate Judiciary Committee, all the while displaying the antithesis of what judicial temperament and behavior should be. In fact, on that day, Judge Kavanaugh, currently a sitting judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (“the DC Circuit”), one of most prestigious courts in the United States, violated several provisions of the Code of Conduct for US Judges (“the Code”). In so doing, he dishonored himself and the court on which he now serves.

In Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, he disqualified himself as a candidate for the Supreme Court, quite apart from Dr. Ford’s or other’s allegations of misconduct.

Judge Kavanaugh’s statements were far outside the norm required of every federal judge, to ensure that our court system is truly independent, non-partisan, impartial, and fair to all. It’s vital not only for the proper functioning of our democracy; it’s essential for the people to have faith and confidence in this branch of government. Politics, even pitched partisan battle, is what the Executive and Legislative branches are made for. Partisanship, bias, venom, and unfounded accusations have no place in those who preside over our judiciary – whether they are sitting on the bench or in a public forum like the Senate hearings.

I have immense respect and affection for the Supreme Court and its vital importance to our democratic system of government. Constitutional Law is one of my special areas of interest. I am a member of the Supreme Court Bar. As a student, I was lucky enough to be able to study regularly at the Supreme Court’s Law Library. Like Judge Kavanaugh, I am a Catholic, and was educated in affluent private Catholic schools, two of which, like Georgetown Prep, were Jesuit institutions.

I disagree with Judge Kavanaugh on policy issues and on some of his interpretations of the Constitution, but understand that the President gets to pick his Supreme Court nominees and the Republicans control the Senate. It was also deeply ingrained in me, from a young age, at home and at school, to keep an open mind, listen openly to both sides of a story before making up one’s mind, and not accept blindly what others may believe about someone. Honesty and integrity were also a strong value. As a child, you would get in trouble for doing something wrong, but you would get in much more trouble for lying about it.

So, while Dr. Ford’s allegations are serious and her testimony appeared credible, I understand that it was 35-36 years ago. Even with the best intentions and the best efforts at recall, memory can be flawed. And in any event, it’s not clear in my mind that mistakes of one’s youth should be disqualifying for a lifetime, as long as that behavior, and the unspoken attitude underlying it (in this case, a degrading attitude towards women), did not continue into adulthood.

So I wanted to hear, and was fully open, to what Judge Kavanaugh had to say.

Based on the record, I believe that Judge Kavanaugh is fundamentally a good man – flawed as are we all – but fundamentally a good man. He has clearly studied and worked hard. The references of many who know him indicate that he has been a good boss, colleague, and friend; someone who gives back to his community; and to the extent we know (there is rightfully still some privacy left for public figures) a good husband and father. He is a good man, with some flaws. Unfortunately, the flaws involved here make him unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

When he started his statement, I was impressed. It was beautifully written, well delivered and came from the heart. It felt authentic. Initially, I thought he had successfully defended himself under very difficult circumstances – not an easy thing to achieve with testimony alone.

Then, his statement quickly took a surprising, very dark turn, revealing another, equally real side of who he is. Letting his mask down made him more authentic, but his authentic self was a very worrisome sight to see. It revealed, for all to see, that this seemingly low-key, prudent man has a very angry, aggressive, ugly side of his personality, a side that very well could come out when he drinks. Alcohol removes emotional and behavioral inhibitions. Some people say and do things they would not do when sober. Some who otherwise are calm and reasonable get aggressive and belligerent. Several of Kavanaugh’s acquaintances from high school and college have indicated that it did have that effect on him. The country got a peek at the aggressive, belligerent side of Kavanaugh that day.

I have tremendous sympathy for the pain that the sexual assault allegations and their aftermath caused Judge Kavanaugh and his family. It is normal that he would be upset and angry. Unlike some, I do not begrudge him the emotion and tearfulness that welled up in him at times. It was understandable and authentic, and added to the sympathy and empathy that many of us have for him and his lovely family.However, his anger and behavior went far beyond righteous indignation. The accusations spewed were broad-brushed, spurious, not based in fact, the very antithesis of the way any judge should think or behave.

Out of him came deep-seeded venom, contempt and partisan hatred – of Democrats, “liberals” – that went way beyond the allegations raised. His statement reflected animus that started long before he was nominated, and will continue until and unless he recognizes it in himself, and does the deep work needed to uproot the deeply held prejudice and resentment.

He also showed total disrespect for the Senate, the Judiciary Committee, and every one of the Democratic Senators who sit on that Committee. In his statement, he talked down to the full Judiciary Committee, condescendingly lecturing them on what they had done wrong. He then took aim at all the Democratic Senators on the Committee, noting that their “performance” in his original nomination was “disgraceful”, when in fact, they had asked him entirely fair questions, responsibly performing their duties. Yet, Judge Kavanaugh is not now, nor will he ever be, their superior. It is he who needs their approval, not vice versa. Even if he gains enough votes to be appointed, the Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of government, not superior to any of the other branches. Judge Kavanaugh was never elected – never went through the humbling and grounding process of connecting with constituents and getting elected – doesn’t directly represent the people, the ultimate source of all power in this country. Every one of those Senators has.

He accused the Democrats of causing all the problems and pain that he is experiencing, outlining what, in his mind, is some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy. Yet, no conspiracy brought these allegations out. With no prompting from any Democrat, Dr. Ford came forward on her own, before the White House had made its final decision on whom to appointment to the vacant Supreme Court seat. She did this in the hope that the White House would select a different nominee. She initially asked that her name be kept confidential, which the Democrats honored, until she changed her mind, because the press had found her.

Judge Kavanaugh also falsely accused the Democrats of causing Dr. Ford pain by not keeping her letter confidential. Republicans falsely accused Senator Feinstein of leaking it to the press. In fact, Dr. Ford testified under oath that, at the same time she initially notified her Congresswoman (Congresswoman Eshoo) in July, she also made an anonymous tip to the Washington Post. It was the Washington Post tracking down that anonymous tip that lead the Post to Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford has not complained at all about the treatment she got from her Democratic Congresswoman and Senator.

If the allegations that have emerged against Judge Kavanaugh were mere fabrication, generated by Democrats out to get him, then similar problems would have arisen with Trump’s last conservative nominee to the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch. But they did not. Justice Gorsuch hung out with a different crowd at Georgetown Prep, and had a very different reputation.

After getting the facts wrong, Kavanaugh then proceeded to make wild, erroneous accusations about the Democrats’ motivation for bringing the information out.

After getting the facts wrong, Kavanaugh then proceeded to make wild, erroneous accusations about the Democrats’ motivation for bringing the information out. He alleged that the Democrats did this to him “because of apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

Such wild, unfounded, conspiracy-theory rants are very “Trumpian”, and may have pleased the President, but they are intensely inappropriate and stunning coming out of the mouth of a high level federal judge and Supreme Court nominee.

This partisan venom was not necessary for him to defend his honor. To the contrary, his rants besmirched his own honor, and revealed that after 12 years on the federal circuit court, he remains first and foremost a political operative – and an aggressive one at that.

Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for US Judges (the “Code”) states:

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should maintain and enforce high standards of conductand should personally observe those standards, so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.

The commentary to Canon 1 notes:

Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges.

Canon 2 of the Code states:

Canon 2: A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all Activities

  • Respect for Law. A judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

The commentary to Canon 2 provides in relevant part:

An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude thatthe judge’shonesty, integrity,impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serveas a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen.

“America Magazine” (a Jesuit publication that tends to favor conservative judges, and the leading Catholic journal of opinion in the US) also withdrew their recommendation of him, and called for him to withdraw. After receiving challenging emails from its readers, “America” stood by, and further explained its position, on Oct. 2, 2018.

Between his arrogant, disrespectful behavior towards the Senate and Senators; his lies and evasiveness on issues he was not ethically barred from answering; the deep-seeded partisan hatred expressed; and anger so vicious that it unnerved millions of people for days thereafter, it is hard to imagine a judge doing a better job than Judge Kavanaugh did on September 27 to undermine public confidence in his truthfulness and impartiality. It erodes confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the court he now sits, and will erode public confidence and trust in the Supreme Court if he is nominated.

After his testimony, the President of the ABA, which has given Kavanaugh their highest ratings, issued a letter indicating that his nomination should be delayed to allow for an FBI an investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations. He said, “Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” Carlson said in that letter. “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.” (The ABA later noted that this did not change their rating.) The Dean of the Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh’s Alma Mater, called for the same.

The views he expressed are the epitome of what should not be there in a judge, especially a Supreme Court Justice. The essence of a judge is that he or she should be non-partisan – should be able to check any passions, personal political views and biases at the door – not just to hide them from the world, but to prevent them from infecting a judge’s thinking or view of a case. It takes a certain personality type combined with self-awareness; a limber, open mind; and a particular type of mental and personal discipline. On Sept. 27, 2018, Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he does not possess these qualities.

Supreme Court justices cannot be so angrily partisan that it will impair their ability to fairly decide between litigants and issues. The Supreme Court is a judicial body, not a political one. The Justices must genuinely rise above politics. Even if Kavanaugh could do this, his impartiality will forever be in question. It will cast a pall over any decision in which he is involved. Worse than that, his appointment, after such testimony, will damage the confidence of the people in the fairness of the Supreme Court and its decisions. It would be fair for any Democratic lawyer, or organization that is viewed as “liberal”, such as the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, to believe that it would be impossible for this judge to be impartial vis-à-vis their issue.

But Judge Kavanaugh’s troubling performance did not stop with the partisan venom or inappropriate condescension. It got worse as the Sept. 27 hearing went on. His answers throughout the afternoon cast ever greater doubt on his credibility, until by day’s end, it was left in tatters – not by the allegations levied against him, but by his own testimony and behavior.

Before the hearing on Dr. Ford’s allegation began, Judge Kavanaugh’s veracity was already in question.

Documents released to the Senate Judiciary Committee this year revealed that Kavanaugh had lied under oath to the Senate in 2004 and 2006, when seeking Senate approval for his current seat on the DC Circuit. In sum, among other things, the documents showed that Kavanaugh had

  • lied in 2004 and 2006, when he repeatedly denied receiving or seeing confidential Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee staff documents that had been stolen by a GOP Senate Aide (See the transcripts of the 2004, 2006 and 2018 confirmation hearings);
  • lied about his White House involvement with the appointment of Judge Charles W. Pickering, a controversial nominee from Mississippi, and
  • was at least misleading about his involvement with the George W. Bush Administration’s post 9/11 terrorism policies, including policies on torture.
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Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

It’s hard to make documents released in 2018 match up to lies told in 2006.

The fact that a nominee to the Supreme Court had lied under oath to the Senate was shocking, and in less partisan times, would have ended Kavanaugh’s nomination right there. Lying under oath to the Congress is perjury, a federal crime. It is serious, all the more so for a federal judge. Lawyers and judges are held to a higher standard of conduct than the average citizen. They are all officers of the court in which they practice. A court’s job is to find the truth, and apply the law to the facts. So, honoring the processes of that court, above all telling the truth, is imperative.

Some Republican Committee members expressed their serious concern about the perjury, but the Republican leadership insisted on pushing the nomination forward. However, once it’s clear that someone is willing to lie under oath to the Senate, it calls into question their veracity in general.

Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh’s propensity to lie and prevaricate became even more evident during the Sept. 27, 2018 hearing on Dr. Ford’s allegations. Previous fears and concerns about his honesty were confirmed in living color.

All afternoon long, Judge Kavanaugh dishonestly answered by either outright lying under oath to the Senate; being evasive and misleading; stubbornly refusing to answer some questions (when Senators would not accept evasion); or angrily snapping back when cornered.

Most obviously, Judge Kavanaugh outright lied about the meaning of some of the entries in his high school yearbook. Even giving Judge Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt, some of his answers defied all credulity. The real meaning of the idioms he used in his year book could easily be checked out online. His sanitized explanations have since been further undermined by a letter he wrote – in his own handwriting – to his buddies about an apartment they rented for a “beach week” in Ocean City, MD in June 1983. (Here's a copy of the letter written by Kavanaugh, in his own handwriting.) His entries in the yearbook clearly alluded to debauched drinking and sexual practices, not as he claimed, flatulence and drinking games. And he knew that well, when he bald-faced lied to the Senate. While these were seemingly minor facts, they remain perjury. Moreover, why did he go to such great lengths to hide such trivial facts from his youth? It is the behavior of someone who is guilty and is trying to hide the truth.

There is a classic saying, going back to Roman times: “False in one thing, false in everything.” It comes from the Roman legal principle that a witness who willfully falsifies one matter is not credible on any matter. It remains a valid jury instruction today because it tends to be true in human experience.

When Judge Kavanaugh didn’t outright lie, he non-answered many questions that he was not ethically barred from answering, and that he could have and should have answered candidly.

He was consistently, deeply uncomfortable and defensive when asked about his high school and college drinking habits. Each time he was asked, he squirmed, repeatedly said that he liked beer, and used a variety of evasion techniques to try not to answer. When asked a direct question, he generally answered with irrelevant babble, often reciting accomplishments on his resume which were already well known. When that didn’t work, he resorted to throwing aggressive questions back at the Senators rather than answering the question.

For example, when Senator Amy Klobuchar asked him if he had ever drunk to the point where he couldn’t remember events, Judge Kavanaugh replied, “You’re asking about blackout. I don’t know, have you?” When Senator Sheldon Whitehouse questioned Judge Kavanaugh about whether the reference to the "Ralph Club" in his high school yearbook was related to alcohol consumption, Kavanaugh avoided answering with the astonishing reply, “I like beer. Do you like beer, Senator, or not? What do you like to drink? When Whitehouse attempted to move on to another question, Kavanaugh repeated, “Senator, what do you like to drink?”

When neither of those tactics worked, he just went quiet, refused to answer. Senator Grassley swooped in to save him at the most awkward moment of silence.

His non-answers and behavior were nothing short of bizarre, mind-bogglingly inappropriate, defensive, and strongly suggested that he was not being candid - that in fact, he had frequently drunk to excess in high school, at times to the point of blacking out. Since the hearing, several of his high school and college friends (not enemies, his friends) have spoken out about Kavanaugh’s excessive drinking and the culture of heavy drinking that was prevalent in his social circle. He could have admitted it, explained that it was youthful excess, that the pattern didn’t continue. The fact that he worked so hard to hide it suggests that the other, more serious allegations may be true as well.

The unusual way he responded to questions about his youthful drinking habits also raises the question of whether he may, in fact, have some form of drinking problem to this day. If he has a problem with alcohol that is unacknowledged and untreated, it will only grow worse over time. Supreme Court justices are lifetime appointments.

Ironically, Judge Kavanaugh’s consistent evasiveness, lies and squirmishness, were in stark contrast to Dr. Ford’s testimony. She answered all questions calmly, directly, clearly, and carefully. She did not claim to recall more than she did. His performance made her look all the more credible.

The nomination, as well as Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, was also rife with other irony.

Judge Kavanaugh said that the Senate’s roll of “advice and consent” has been replaced with “search and destroy”. He railed against what has become the politics of personal destruction that has been used against him.

He warned that:

“You sowed the wind for decades to come. I fear the whole country will reap the whirlwinds . . . . The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country. And as we all know in the United States political system of the early 200o’s, what goes around, comes around.”

That is not a statement of what is to come. It describes where we are now and how we got there. Those seeds were sown decades ago, and ironically, Judge Kavanaugh played a significant role in planting those seeds. As a young lawyer, Judge Kavanaugh made a name for himself in conservative political circles by his enthusiastic participation in the Independent Counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton under Kenneth Starr (“the Starr Investigation”). That investigation launched the current era of the Politics of Personal Destruction, the consequences of which have continued on to this day. So ironically, in this case, what goes around, has come around. Or as St. Paul said in Galatians VI, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

first amendment kavanugh

What Judge Kavanaugh has experienced in this process is not “revenge” as he would like to think. It is simply part of the political landscape he helped to create. President Trump and some Republicans may harbor long-term grudges, and have difficulty letting go of the past, but the Democrats have moved on. As everyone knows, they are looking to the future, and right now, the upcoming midterm elections.

Once successfully launched by the Starr Investigation, the current partisan political landscape was cultivated for decades by certain elements within the Republican party with efforts to fuel culture wars and assassinate the character of opponents. The Starr Investigation itself was fueled by Republican rancor and many false accusations, including the totally unfounded claims that Vincent Foster was murdered, when in fact, it was clear from the outset that it was a tragic suicide. Think of the pain that that totally unnecessary investigation caused Foster’s grieving family.

More recently, Republican allegations that the Obama Administration was trying to cover up what happened in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi were ludicrous. Millions of dollars of taxpayer money and countless hours of government employees’ time was wasted on Congress’ political witch hunt on that. How many committees looked into Benghazi? How many hearings were held? And how long did it go on? They of course found nothing because they were chasing phantoms. In the end, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accidentally admitted that the Benghazi investigation was pursued – and pursued – and pursued - to politically damage Hillary Clinton, whom they considered a strong Presidential contender. Facts were not what fueled that investigation. It was pure partisan politics, and truth was no object. Imagine the pain that it caused, not only to government employees falsely accused, but to the families that had lost loved ones there.

Today, the politics of personal destruction has been brought to new lows – hopefully has reached its nadir - by the current President, the one who nominated Judge Kavanaugh, the one to which Kavanaugh is so grateful. Trump is the epitome of the politician who thrives on character assassination, with no regard for the truth. His trademark is belittling, naming, bullying, and making false allegations against his opponents. Now that he is President, Trump abuses his Presidential power by trying to instigate criminal investigations against his opponents based on his lies. He has had people fired who don’t go along with his lies, or who won’t compromise the integrity of law enforcement agencies to do his corrupt bidding. Moreover, the lynch-mob mantra “Lock Her Up”, that his campaign started, and that he irresponsibly continues to fuel for purely political purposes, is absolutely immoral. Can you imagine anything that would do more to promote death threats or attempts on someone’s life than the President fomenting hatred and a lynch mob mentality against an individual? The former First Lady, and all the people who have been subject to such treatment, have had to live with that for a lot longer than 10 days about which Judge Kavanaugh so vocally complained.

Judge Kavanaugh has not yet realized that he is just another pawn in Trump’s game – and like so many of Trump’s pawns, they get burned. The divisiveness of this nomination has everything to do with Trump – whom Trump picked, and how Trump is handling it – pressuring the Senate to railroad it through – and not choosing another candidate when ample reason has come out that a different pick would be better. Indeed, the rancor that this nomination has generated, and that Kavanaugh readily participated in (with his bare-knuckled speech), feeds Trump’s strategy of fueling culture wars (men vs women, conservatives vs. liberals), which Trump thinks will help in the midterms. Mitch McConnell knew that Kavanaugh would be a tough nominee to get approved, advised Trump against choosing Kavanaugh for that reason. Trump ignored the advice of his Senate Majority Leader, because Trump felt he needed Kavanaugh.

Ironically, Trump doesn’t drink, has strongly admonished his children not to drink, because he saw the destructive influence that alcohol had on Trump’s brother, Fred, Jr. If Trump did not feel he needed Kavanaugh on the Court so badly, the evidence that is established already would have been enough for Trump not to choose Kavanaugh as his nominee.

Choosing someone else would have also saved Judge Kavanaugh all this pain, but Kavanaugh’s performance on September 27 suggests that, for all his wailing, he is a ready and willing participant. He remains, at his core, an aggressive political operative.

Choosing someone else would have also saved Judge Kavanaugh all this pain, but Kavanaugh’s performance on September 27 suggests that, for all his wailing, he is a ready and willing participant. He remains, at his core, an aggressive political operative.

Trump nominated and has championed Kavanaugh so strongly, over several other solid conservative candidates, for one reason. Trump likes the views that Kavanaugh expressed in a law review article in 2009 that sitting Presidents should have a “temporary deferral of civil suits and criminal prosecutions and investigations.” Trump is facing several civil law suits as well as the Mueller investigation. In addition, Trump is an un-named co-conspirator in the felony charges in the Southern District of New York, against his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The question of whether a current President can be criminally indicted and whether the President can be subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury are issues that could well come before the Supreme Court.

Trump wants Kavanaugh on the Court badly because he believes it is vital to save his political derriere.

Lastly, Kavanaugh scolded the Senators that “people will listen to your words”, while failing to realize that millions of people that day listened to his words as well. Judge Kavanaugh’s words were not one of leadership, or unification. Rather, his words were venomous, angry ones that profoundly upset millions of people to their core. It reminded me of the sage lyrics to the great Stephen Sondheim song,Children Will Listen”. I offer these wise lyrics to both Judge Kavanaugh and the Senate, because people are listening to what you say, and watching what you do. What message are you sending?

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see
And learn
Children may not obey
But children will listen
Children will look to you
For which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say
"Listen to me"
Children will listen.

Perhaps, Judge Kavanaugh has abided by the Code of Judicial Conduct on every other day of his tenure at the DC Circuit. I don’t know enough about the rest of his tenure on the DC Circuit to know. But at his confirmation hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court, he fell painfully short of living up to these basic standards of judicial conduct.

I can only hope that Judge Kavanaugh can and will put his reverence for the Supreme Court above his own personal ambitions of becoming a Supreme Court justice, and will withdraw his name for consideration, so as not to damage the institution.

And as a fellow Catholic, I also hope that Judge Kavanaugh will pray for and be granted the grace to

  • recognize the darkness that dwells deep within him, and that reared its ugly head at the hearing,
  • deeply examine that hatred and resentment, and root it out, so that he can free his brilliant mind, his heart and his soul of encrusted views that are wrong headed and wrong hearted.

Whether he continues as a judge, a justice or some other role entirely, he will have far greater contributions to make to his family and the country if he succeeds in doing so.

Whether Judge Kavanaugh is appointed to the Supreme Court or not, his nomination was both tragic and ironic. Tragic for all the pain it has caused people, both those at the center of the controversy, and every American who watched the September 27 hearing. Tragic for the damage it will do to the Supreme Court. Tragic for its role in continuing to divide the country. Ironic because it was the logical outgrowth, albeit perhaps an unintended consequence, of the seeds that that Judge Kavanaugh helped plant many years ago with the Starr Investigation.

Judge Kavanaugh could help end this era of intense partisanship, if he can rise to the occasion. That will require that he understand his own rage, take responsibility for mistakes of the past, both professional and personal. It’s ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are one way we learn. But one can only grow if one recognizes them and learns the right lessons from them. Anger and resentment will only keep you locked in the past.

jane albrecht

Jane Albrecht, J.D.

Jane Albrecht
is an attorney who did appellate litigation at the US International Trade Commission. She thereafter worked in the DC office of Verner, Liipfert (now DLA Piper), the DC Office of Dewey, Ballantine, and the Brussels office LeBoeuf, Lamb. She also worked overseas for the Motion Picture Association of America. She is a member of the Supreme Court Bar. In law school at Georgetown U. Law Center, she clerked for Abram Chayes, who at the time, was Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.