Joe Biden has nominated Jennifer Sung to be a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Sung was previously a labor attorney and an SEIU union organizer, so you can tell from that how liberal she’s likely to be. She has no prior judicial experience apart from being a law clerk previously for an appellate judge for a year. She’s also been on the Oregon Employment Relations Board since 2017.
But what was getting her into trouble during her nomination hearing was what she had previously said about Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Back during the fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Sung signed onto a letter from Yale Law School students and alumni, attacking Kavanaugh, falsely calling him “intellectually and morally bankrupt.” Anyone who signed it and said such a thing was clearly showing how political he/she is and that he/she doesn’t have the temperament to be an appellate judge, that she doesn’t understand the seriousness of such actions.
The letter also claimed that “people will die” if Justice Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked Sung if anyone has died as a result and she responded that it was just “rhetorical advocacy.”
Sung claimed during questioning from Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) that she didn’t know how the letter was going to be used and that it was “several years ago.”
“Several years ago, as an alum, addressing my law school alma mater, I did sign a letter that I believed was addressed only to my law school administration,” Sung said. “I did not understand that it would be used as a public advocacy piece….I signed it, Senator, at the time, because I felt that it was an appropriate statement to make to my law school administration, notwithstanding the overheated rhetoric.”
Now, if she really didn’t understand how it was going to be used, she’s too stupid to be a judge. If she’s lying, that’s worse. So either way, she wasn’t helping herself. Then, she was claiming it was “several years ago” when it was three years ago in 2018. So that, in itself, shows that she’s shading the truth. Not a good look.
When she was questioned by Sen. Ted Cruz ((R-TX), he busted her on the timing of it and asked her point-blank if she thought Kavanaugh was “intellectually and morally bankrupt.” Sung refused to be straight with him and directly respond to the question, again a very bad look for a nominee.
“Ms. Sung, do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is intellectually and morally bankrupt?” Cruz inquired. Sung tried to put him off saying that she would follow Supreme Court precedent. Cruz would not be put off. “You’re an experienced lawyer,” Cruz declared. “You know when someone’s not answering a question. My question was simple and straightforward. Do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is, quote, intellectually and morally bankrupt?” “As I stated earlier, I recognize that statement was overheated rhetoric and that’s all that it was,” she claimed. “I’m going to try one more time because you signed your name to it and it wasn’t decades ago,” Cruz said, pointing out her false attempt to deflect it as “several years ago.” “It was very recent. You signed your name to this statement. I’m asking simply today, do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is, quote, intellectually and morally bankrupt? She refused to give a direct answer, “As I stated, that was rhetorical advocacy only that I signed strictly in my personal capacity as a private citizen addressing my alma mater. And throughout my legal career, as a litigator, as an adjudicator, I have followed all of the courts’ precedents and I have respected every-” Cruz said, “It is disappointing that you refuse to answer that question.”
Is “rhetorical advocacy” another way of saying “it’s cool if I lie and say despicable things about other judicial nominees?” Because that’s surely what it sounds like here. What also needs to be said is that kind of “rhetorical advocacy” whipped up threats against Justice Kavanaugh and his family and the Court and Republican senators in general during that period. You still have Democrats trying to push unhinged attacks on Kavanaugh, seeking to get him removed. So just passing it off as rhetorical advocacy isn’t being honest about it in context. And as Cruz showed, she refuses, even now, to be honest about those comments, wanting to play both sides against the middle and still appeal to the left. Cruz, Cotton, and Kennedy wouldn’t let her get away with it. She should never be confirmed.