Former Sen. Al Franken wants his old job back so he can save the Supreme Court from “young, arch-conservative judge” Brett Kavanaugh.
Franken, despite resigning in disgrace over a series of sexual harassment claims, has not yet let go of his political aspirations. In a Facebook post on Friday night, Franken fantasized about being back in the Senate to question Kavanaugh, giving a list of 25 questions he would ask if he had his old seat back.
The pretend play-by-play exchange started off with simple questions of standard legal procedure like “do you think it’s proper for judges to make determinations based on their ideological preconceptions or their personal biases?” to “would you agree that it’s important for a judge to obtain a full and fair understanding of the facts before making a determination?”
However, the questions did not stay civil. Franken quickly turned to the combative style the former senator became known for in the early months of the Trump administration. At one point in the imaginary dialogue, Franken asked Kavanaugh to explain a “weirdly specific bit of bullshit.”
And one of the very first things that came out of your mouth as a nominee for the Supreme Court was the following assertion: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.” Did I quote you correctly?
This claim, of course, was not just false, but ridiculous. The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake (a Minnesota native) called it “a thoroughly inauspicious way to begin your application to the nation’s highest court, where you will be deciding the merits of the country’s most important legal and factual claims.”
It would be only fair to give Kavanaugh a chance to retract that weirdly specific bit of bullshit.
Franken proceeded to say that if Kavanaugh would not take that back, he would “want to pin him down.”
I just want to be clear. You are under oath today, correct?
So, today, you are telling the American people—under oath—that it is your determination that “[n]o president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”
And that determination—it wouldn’t be based on your ideological preconceptions, would it? And it’s not based on any personal bias, is it?
No, of course not. That would be improper. Instead, it is based on your understanding of the facts, right? Was it a “full and fair” understanding of the facts?
Franken defended his combative questioning, saying pinning Kavanaugh down on his claim is necessary because it is “exactly the kind of lie that has been plaguing our discourse for a generation.” According to Franken, conservatives have politicized the judicial system and Kavanaugh “is the very model of a young, arch-conservative judge who has been groomed for moments like this one.”
“Instead, we ought to be having a real conversation about what conservatives have done to the principle of judicial independence—and what progressives can do to correct it,” Franken wrote. “I can think of no better example of the problem than Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the bizarre lie he uttered moments after it was made official.”
“And I can think of no better opportunity to start turning the tide than Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing—even if it means going down a rabbit hole for a few uncomfortable minutes,” he added.
Read Franken’s full questioning below: