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Top Catholic Magazine Revokes Kavanaugh Endorsement After ‘Illegitimate’ Hearing

OBSERVER logo OBSERVER 9/28/2018 John Bonazzo
a man wearing a suit and tie: Brett Kavanaugh no longer has the support of America magazine. © Provided by The New York Observer LLC Brett Kavanaugh no longer has the support of America magazine.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced a firestorm of criticism after his Senate testimony yesterday, with the American Bar Association urging Congress to delay a vote on his Supreme Court seat until an FBI investigation is conducted.

Now, Kavanaugh is getting pushback from a more godly authority.

The leading Catholic magazine America, which has been published since 1909, revoked its endorsement of Kavanaugh after yesterday’s hearing. The editorial board said the sexual assault allegations brought against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford and others should be investigated further, and urged the president to put forward another judge without such baggage.

“This nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country,” the board wrote. “There is no presumption of confirmability.”

James Keane, a senior editor at America Media (the magazine’s parent company), said the board began discussing the revocation as soon as Ford’s allegations became public.

“We began to recognize that Kavanaugh’s nomination was counterproductive,” Keane told Observer. “The court would be hobbled by the ugliness of this process and the unresolved questions about what actually occurred.”

Yesterday’s testimony from both Ford and Kavanaugh was the final deciding factor for revocation.

“Kavanaugh is no longer the best candidate for the court, and he is being pushed forward in an illegitimate process,” Keane said. “If some senators are going to disregard questions about his legitimacy and integrity, the country would benefit from a different candidate.”

America endorsed Kavanaugh in the first place because he’s a textualist, who believes that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was originally written, with no regard for changing times. As part of this philosophy, Kavanaugh believes Roe v. Wade should be repealed and abortion policy should be decided by states alone. This originally appealed to America‘s editorial board, which is made up of both priests and lay people.

“The magazine has a strongly pro-life position, so we thought he would have reasonable positions on these issues,” Keane said.

But in light of the new allegations and the #MeToo movement, America reversed its decision. Keane said the differing tones of Kavanaugh and Ford’s remarks also played a role.

“Anyone concerned with issues of justice has to keep in mind the different ways in which men’s testimony and women’s testimony has been treated,” Keane said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

Another area with a lot of work to do is the Catholic Church, which has recently been roiled by abuse crises. Keane connected the two controversies.

“The country has a lot going on right now in terms of trust in authorities, and there’s no question people look at these processes with a more critical eye than they used to,” he said.

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