America faces yet another challenge ahead of the swiftly approaching presidential election, and it will thrust a major player, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), back into the spotlight after weeks of largely avoiding it.
Allies and critics alike have noticed Harris’s unusual absence from the spotlight — particularly striking, given her role as Joe Biden’s (D) running mate. While she has lodged attacks at Trump, she has largely conducted herself in the same manner as Biden, remaining relatively publicly subdued and reserving her sharpest attacks for Twitter rather than during in-person campaign events, of which there have been few. While the exact reasons remain uncertain, it is possible that Democrats fear her more radical views — and history — could turn away more moderate voters, especially given the widespread belief that Biden’s running mate will assume office within his first term.
However, with Trump officially announcing his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday and Senate GOP leaders, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), announcing their intention to move forward in the confirmation process prior to the election, Harris will be forced to take the spotlight — a spotlight she boldly embraced during the contentious hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Throughout the process, Harris maintained a bullish tone, effectively embracing the deteriorating state of proper decorum in the upper chamber. Her actions made it all too clear: No good faith existed between progressives and conservatives in the SCOTUS battle — a battle that did not even occur during a contentious presidential election year. In 2018, Democrats remained steadfast in their objective to crush and smear Trump’s second Supreme Court choice, and Harris helped lead the charge.
From sharing deceptively edited videos, to making it seem as though Kavanaugh opposed birth control, to championing the unsubstantiated claims of his accuser, Harris stole the spotlight in 2018 and made her radical positions known:
Here is Kavanaugh’s full answer. There’s no question that he uncritically used the term “abortion-inducing drugs,” which is a dog whistle term used by extreme anti-choice groups to describe birth control. pic.twitter.com/PMbZzu8DqD
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 8, 2018
During the battle, Harris presented a letter signed by “Jane Doe,” who alleged that Kavanaugh and his friend raped her “several times” following a party.
“They forced me to go into the backseat and took 2 turns raping me several times each. They dropped me off 3 two blocks from my home,” the anonymous accuser wrote.
“A group of white men, powerful senators who won’t believe me, will come after me,” the sender declared.
Kavanaugh forcefully denied the accusations to lawmakers, calling it a “crock, farce, wrong, didn’t happen, not anything close.”
During one of her lines of questioning, she asked Kavanaugh if he had spoken to someone at a Trump-linked law firm regarding former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, bizarrely dragging what critics dubbed the Trump-Russia collusion “witch hunt” into the confirmation hearing.
“Have you discussed [Robert S.] Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?” she asked, warning the then-nominee to “be sure” about his answer, hinting that she had evidence to back up the question. But, she did not, only stating that she had “a good reason to believe there was a conversation.”
“Kavanaugh seemed not to know what she was talking about, and Harris hinted that she may have had evidence to back up her line of questioning. But in the end, the former California Attorney General came up with absolutely nothing,” as Breitbart News detailed:
Harris’s failed gambit was a companion, perhaps, to the hoax that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) had pulled earlier in the day, when he claimed to have released confidential documents about Kavaunagh’s position on racial profiling. The documents, it turned out, had already been cleared for release — and they showed Kavanaugh opposing racial profile in airport security.
Harris had several other moments that made headlines, dismissively calling Kavanaugh’s pocket Constitution “that book you carry” as she asked the nominee which unenumerated rights he would do away with:
What we are talking about is the right to vote, that’s an unenumerated right, the right to have children. The right to have control over the upbringing of your children. The right to refuse medical care. The right to love the partner of your choice, the right to marry, and the right to have an abortion. Now, putting those unenumerated rights in the context of the statement that you made, which was to praise the stemming of the general tide of free-wheeling creation of unenumerated rights, which means you were, the interpretation there is you were praising the quest to end those unenumerated rights. My question to you is which of the rights that I just mentioned do you want to an end to or rollback?
“Three points I believe, senator, first the constitution, it is in the book that I carry. The constitution protects unenumerated rights. That’s what the Supreme Court has said,” Kavanaugh responded:
Prior to the Senate panel vote on Kavanaugh, Harris lamented the “tyranny of the majority” and proclaimed that there had not been a fair process throughout. Harris stated:
You know, we have a democracy. There should not be tyranny of the majority. We have a democracy, and there has not been a fair process in place from the beginning on this. It should not be about raw power influencing the outcome of a decision about that is about not only a statement about what we hold as being precious and important about our system of justice, but who will sit for a lifetime on the United States Supreme Court.
Kamala Harris: “This should not be tyranny of the majority. There has not been a fair process in place from the beginning on this. It should not be about raw power influencing the outcome of a decision about who will sit for a lifetime on the U.S. Supreme Court” #tictocnews pic.twitter.com/zhrOnIIobO
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 28, 2018
The day prior, Harris cast away any potential doubt, stating clearly that she believed Blasey Ford:
Dr. Ford is not on trial. She is sitting here because she has the courage to come forward and because it was her “civic duty.” I believe her.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 27, 2018
Days later, she referred to Ford as “a profile in courage”:
Dr. Ford is a profile in courage. She knew what she was up against when she came forward but spoke out because she felt it was her civic duty. She deserves better.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 3, 2018
Despite the massive discrepancies in Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, Harris determined that Kavanaugh “lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people” and has since called for his impeachment on more than one occasion.
“I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached,” she said as Democrats geared up to begin the impeachment process on President Trump last September:
I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice.
He must be impeached.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 15, 2019
The call for impeachment followed another claim of alleged misconduct from Kavanaugh’s college years, but Harris “did not mention, or did not know, that the authors’ own book refutes the allegation, which the alleged victim reportedly does not recall,” as Breitbart News reported at the time.
In 2019, Blasey Ford made Time Magazine’s annual “100 Most Influential People” list, and Harris penned the profile, praising the Kavanaugh accuser for making an “unfathomable sacrifice.”
“Her story, spoken while holding back tears, shook Washington and the country. Her courage, in the face of those who wished to silence her, galvanized Americans. And her unfathomable sacrifice, out of a sense of civic duty, shined a spotlight on the way we treat survivors of sexual violence,” Harris, who failed to prosecute priest sex abuse cases during her time as a prosecutor, wrote.
Following Biden’s formal announcement of Harris as his running mate, President Trump said, “She was extraordinarily nasty to Kavanaugh, Judge Kavanaugh, now Justice Kavanaugh.”
“She was nasty to a level that was just a horrible thing the way she was, the way she treated now-Justice Kavanaugh,” he added. “And I won’t forget that soon.”
While Harris has established the lengths she will go to sink Trump’s judicial nominee, it remains unclear if she will assume the role again or shirk her senatorial duties, as the election clock ticks down. Earlier this month, Harris skipped a vote on a Republican proposal that would have provided coronavirus aid to Americans. Her Democrat colleagues ultimately blocked the measure, yet Harris has continued to call for Congress to act, despite failing to vote on the coronavirus relief measure herself.