You may recall that, in 2017, during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings into the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court seat for which Mitch McConnell had rifled through the pockets of democracy, one of Gorsuch’s opinions that led some people to believe a) that Gorsuch never had a real job in his life, and b) that he didn’t know anybody who had a real job in their lives, either, involved a truck driver whose vehicle broke down in the middle of snowstorm.
Rather than freeze to death by the side of the road, the driver, Alphonse Maddin unhitched his cab and drove off to some place where it was warm. This got Maddin fired. He sued and Gorsuch, in dissent, was the only judge to find the company’s action justified. This led to an amazing colloquy with then-Senator Al Franken:
(God, I’d almost forgotten what a smug, smirky one Gorsuch is.)
As you might imagine, since he and Gorsuch have been raised in essentially the same political terrarium almost literally since high school, Kavanaugh has an Alphonse Maddin in his record, too.
(You will note that SeaWorld was represented in this case by Eugene Scalia, son of then-Supreme Court Justice Antonin. It’s a small town out there among conservative lawyers.)
The whole opinion depends on Kavanaugh’s deliberate conflation of “sports and entertainment” by which he tells the principals in the case that there is no substantive difference between working with killer whales and driving a stock car. And here is where the kitty comes screeching out of the burlap.
Dawn Brancheau wasn’t “playing with” the orca, you dolt, not in the same way that, say, Tom Brady plays with Julian Edelman. She was doing her job in an unsafe working environment. (If the NFL insisted that Brady and Edelman play without helmets, Kavanaugh might have a point.) The fact is that Kavanaugh consistently has been as much of an anti-labor, anti-regulatory fanatic as Gorsuch is. Were it up to him, Alphonse Maddin would be a driversicle by the side of a highway, too.
And, it turns out, to the surprise of nobody, Kavanaugh also may have been a sieve when he worked for the notoriously leaky investigation run by Ken Starr. I swear, this confirmation hearing should last a decade.