Another response from Senator Toomey (or his office) - another opportunity to see if he actually answers a question of mine.
It doesn't look good.
This morning I realized that I should probably have been keeping tract of the postmark on any envelopes received (it's a SIGINT thing) rather than just the contents of the letter. I mail ALL of my letters to the Senator's Pittsburgh office (first when it was in Station Square and then when it moved to Grant Street). And so far I've received one-page and two-page letters through the US Postal service as well as a few responses via email. Now I am wondering if all of these letters come from the same place. Is there anyway to tell where each type of letter comes from - was it the Pittsburgh office? The DC office? Is there any difference between sort of letter that arrives in my yahoo inbox vs my gmail inbox?
I have no idea. I should probably keep track from now on.
I also realized that it's been a while since I received an email response from Toomey (or his office). I wonder why.
Anyway, onto the letter. It's a one pager, dated August 2 and it starts thusly:
Thank you for contacting me about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
Nice to know he still appreciates hearing from me. As long as that's the case, I'll keep up my weekly question-letters to him. However, his response opens up some interesting questions as to which letter he's "answering."
There is only one letter to Senator Toomey where I mention Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This one
, my seventy-second. It's dated only three days before the Senator's response.
That's an unusually quick turnaround. It means that I dropped the letter in the mail on Tuesday, the 31st of July, then USPS delivered it on August 1 and then it was answered on August 2. Either that or Toomey's office read the blog post sometime before the 2nd and answered it that day.
Either way, that's incredibly fast. His last response before this one was dated June 20
and was in response to a letter of mine dated June 12 - 8 days or so. His previous response was dated June 29
and was written in response to a letter of mine dated May 22 - 37 days or so.
So three days is certainly an outlier.
But that's not the biggest "huh?" of this whole thing. Let's go take a look at my seventy-second letter to Senator Toomey. It was a short(ish) letter wherein I gave him a choice of three questions to answer:
I can ask about how Michael Cohen is now claiming that Donald Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in which Russians were expected to deliver on some dirt on Hillary Clinton (and if that's the case that means that Trump has been lying to us about it for his entire presidency) or I can ask about how there are still hundreds of children separated from their parents by Trump's ICE (what sort of civilized society does this to children?) or I can ask about how Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was involved in the infamous "torture memos" used a decade and a half ago to justify torture (and torture is a war crime, Senator).
That's the only reference to Brett Kavanaugh in any of my letters to Pat Toomey.
And this is how he answered:
I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and senators should work across the aisle to fill the federal bench with highly qualified jurists. I worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Bob Casey and the Obama White House to fill 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. And, although I knew I would disagree with many of her decisions, I supported President Obama's nomination of then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. The test is not whether we agree with every decision a judicial nominee has rendered, but whether that nominee understands the proper role of a judge and has the character, intellect, and experience to merit confirmation.
I am applying this same test to the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh-whom I met on July 26 to discuss his nomination. Based on my review of his record and our conversation, it is clear to me that Judge Kavanaugh has the character, intellect, experience, and judicial philosophy to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice. He understands that the proper role of a judge is to apply neutrally the law, including the U.S. Constitution, as written, and not to decide cases based on personal or partisan policy preferences.
I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will give Judge Kavanaugh fair consideration so that Republicans and Democrats can work together to confirm this highly qualified jurist. I look forward to following Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing and I intend to support his nomination when it comes to the Senate floor.
I asked about Judge Kavanaugh's involvement with those "torture memos" (reminding the senator that torture is a war crime) and he answers that Brett Kavanaugh "has the character, intellect, experience, and judicial philosophy to be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice."
It's so nice to see that Toomey now hopes that his colleagues will give Kavanaugh "fair consideration" considering the fact that Toomey himself was part of the GOP voting block that successfully denied Judge Merrick Garland exactly that same consideration.
He's also on record saying that "proper role of a judge is to apply neutrally the law, including the U.S.
Constitution, as written, and not to decide cases based on personal or
partisan policy preferences" and yet when faced with a nominee from a President who was a democrat (Obama), we have something very different. Toomey outright rejected
any notion of "fair consideration" for a nominee to replace the very conservative Antonin Scalia as that nominee was not that conservative. Reason being that it would "affect the balance on the court for perhaps a generation."
That would be the court's conservative/liberal balance. Replacing the conservative Scalia with someone not conservative would adversely affect the court's political balance and therefore had to be rejected. So much for neutrally applying the law over deciding cases based on personal or partisan policy preferences, eh Senator Toomey?
And then there was an outright avoidance of any mention of torture.
All to force Kavanaugh's nomination through before the 2018 midterms, perhaps?