Photo: Jacquelyn Martin (AP)

In a speech on the Senate floor just before Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said the following:

What is the appropriate response? Our country needs to have a reckoning on these issues, and there is only one remedy. Change must come from where change in America always begins: the ballot box.

So, to Americans, the so many millions who are outraged by what happened here, there’s one answer: Vote. If you believe Dr. Ford and other brave women who came forward, and you want to vindicate their sacrifice, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should uphold women’s rights, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court must protect healthcare and our pre-existing conditions that are protected now, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should defend workers, consumers, the environment, civil rights, native populations, vote. If you believe the Supreme Court should be a check on an overreaching president, vote.

One of the issues at stake in the upcoming midterm elections is Democrats regaining control of the House. If that happens, Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York likely would become the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. And while Nadler hasn’t said whether he would move to initiate impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh, he made it clear that an investigation of Kavanaugh’s nomination process is warranted.

With “the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions,” he told The New York Times.

According to that report:

[Nadler] said that if Democrats took power, he would expect the committee to immediately subpoena records from the White House and the F.B.I., which conducted an abbreviated supplemental background investigation into two of the misconduct claims. That document request would include communications between officials at both entities.

The committee would also seek to interview Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers and the dozens of potential witnesses they identified in recent days, most of whom were not contacted by the F.B.I. He said he would also call the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, to testify.

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In its superficial background investigation of Kavanaugh—which was tightly dictated by the Republican-controlled White House and Senate Judiciary Committee—the FBI interviewed only 10 witnesses, who didn’t include Kavanaugh and his first and third accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Julie Swetnik, respectively. Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, was interviewed by the FBI, but she says the agency did not follow up on any of the leads and potential witnesses she provided. Agents also did not interview several witnesses who knew Kavanaugh in both high school and college and cast doubt over his sworn testimony before the Senate.

If the Democrats take control of the House, it is likely that more will be revealed concerning the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct levied against Kavanaugh, who now is a sitting Supreme Court justice. They’ll also likely uncover evidence that Kavanaugh lied repeatedly while under oath.

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The logical next step for the House, should that happen, would be to initiate impeachment proceedings. That requires a majority vote. But then what?

As The Washington Post explains, the Senate would then hold a trial. But a conviction would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor, or 67 votes. The chances of Democrats gaining a so-called supermajority in the Senate are essentially zero. And as we have seen by Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings, Democrats probably can’t rely on any Republican senators to vote for impeachment. That raises the question of whether even President Donald Trump could be convicted by an impeachment process.

And only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached.

But there is at least some light in this sea of darkness. According to the Post:

The question of lying under oath is particularly important for someone who would be or is a member of the judiciary, according to [Slate columnist Lisa] Graves, the former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer who called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

A judge, she said, is a symbol of integrity and the law. To the extent that a judge’s integrity is tainted, it disables that person from being able to continue as a judge.

“Lawyers are officers of the court,” Graves told The Post. “Courts rule on matters and assess witness credibility all the time, so honesty, integrity and truthfulness are paramount qualities for a judge.”

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Nadler added, according to the Times, “We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash.”

All of this means that to get to the truth, the first step is to vote in November, and in every subsequent election for as long as you are able. Change may seem elusive, but this political fever has to break at some point.

PS: