Why Teenagers Are Not Supreme Court Justices

The current skirmish is between those who want to disqualify Brett Kavanaugh and those who want to confirm him to the Supreme Court bench. At issue is a claim by a woman that the nominee harassed her when both were teenagers. Presumably she will tell her story to the Senators and he will tell his, and unless something unforeseen is disclosed, the claim will end up being unprovable and undisprovable.

At that point we should remember why teenagers are not candidates for adult responsibilities. It is widely accepted that most of us at those ages have brains not fully developed, especially regarding morality. The inability to foresee consequences of risky behaviors is a classic adolescent failing. Every parent struggles with granting freedom to youngsters to take decisions and bear the consequences, all the while hoping they and others survive the mistakes and learn to be responsible adults. Are teenagers accountable for their actions? Absolutely, as we see reckless teenage drivers causing damage, injury and sometimes death, ruining their own and other lives.

In the current context, with an all-out, full-court press by desperate Democrats to prevent another originalist Justice, this accusation at this time has clear political motivations. That doesn’t say nothing happened between the two teenagers; her animus against him seems more than distaste for his legal position, though I could be mistaken about that. Teenagers are infamous for taking chances, pushing the envelope, testing the rules and advice provided by their elders. With the uncertainties about the recalled incident, when and where and who was present, there is no way for us to know what happened.

Martin Luther King said it well, and in fact there is progress unacknowledged by social justice warriors.  Today’s surveillance for racial bias is extremely sensitive, and yet the demand for such incidents far exceeds the supply.  In addition we now have conflicts over male and female sexual encounters, and some presume that women are always the victims and men the trespassers.  Case by case, it comes down to personal integrity and character of the individuals involved.

What we do know is that judges are qualified by the character they have displayed over a lifetime of service in their families, communities and in the courtroom. That character is only partly formed in adolescence, but can be examined and known by adult behaviors. What matters is not a single incident, but the pattern exhibited over decades. On this basis, Brett Kavanaugh is supremely qualified and his confirmation should not be derailed.


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