Sen. Gravel’s high bar for political courage: The Kavanaugh Hearing is about Political Posturing, Not Keeping a Political Hack Off the High Court

By Dave Lindorff

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska)

The politically ambitious mainstream Democratic Senator Cory Booker has been posing as a courageous man ready to put his seat in the Senate at risk by violating Senate rules and releasing “confidential” emails of Supreme Court nominee and current Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

The truth of course is that some of what Sen. Booker “released” had already been declassified, and that in any event, nothing was of a national security nature. Furthermore, as a senator from a very Democratic state — New Jersey — and one with a Democratic governor and legislature, Booker would not be in any real danger even of losing his seat. In the highly unlikely case that Senate Republicans might try to have him tossed out of the Senate for a rule violation — something that hasn’t happened since 1862 — the New Jersey governor would certainly respond by just using his authority to reappoint him to fill the unexpired term.

 

All good for Booker, right? Where’s the downside?

 

If you want to see a real hero, and an example of what the Democrats in this staged hearing for Kavanaugh should be doing, look back at what Mike Gravel did as a senator from Alaska back in 1971 when President Nixon was trying to block the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the politically explosive details about the origins of the Vietnam War revealed in the Pentagon Papers report stolen and turned over to those papers by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. At a time when federal courts, in a shocking case of prior restraint to prevent a newspaper from publishing, had issued injunctions blocking the Times and Post from continuing to publish the Pentagon Papers documents each had begun to print, and with the matter before the US Supreme Court as an urgent matter, freshman Sen. Gravel agreed to a request by Ellsberg to read the documents into the Congressional record at a hearing of the Buildings and Grounds subcommittee which he chaired. Reading for hours until he tearfully had to stop because of exhaustion, Sen. Gravel then had the committee place 4100 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, making them public and thus effectively circumventing the Nixon Administration’s attempt to keep them secret. The Supreme Court days later reversed the lower court injunctions allowing the two papers to continue publishing the documents — quite possibly because Sen. Gravel’s actions had mooted the case by already publishing them in the Congressional Record…

 

 

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3968

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