Ellen Weintraub is so smart. Brett Kavanaugh is so…not

I’ve been sort of following Ellen Weintraub for a while. Whenever she appears on TV, I stop what I’m doing and listen.

Today, in a Times op — with what I see is her characteristic good cheer with a dash of sarcasm — she analyzes a recent Kavanaugh SCOTUS decision and points out why this decision is so damn broad it can be used effectively by intelligent lawyers in Congress to write laws that will not benefit Kavanaugh’s patrons.

It’s one way for a majority Democratic Congress to address a regressive SCOTUS: find the gaps in their proud pronouncements and use it against them. And there will always be gaps because Trump’s and McConnell’s justices are not that smart.

I, for one, do not fall for the constant application of the word “brilliant” to describe right-wing justices and nominees. Why not? Because I’ve read some of those decisions. These are not “brilliant” legal minds. They are bound hand and foot to a simplistic dogma, “originalism,” which skimcoats the ragged reality: life is profoundly complex.

So let’s make a pact, you and I. Let’s not tell Brett and his pals that dogma either chains up someone’s intelligence or attracts someone because he’s not that intelligent to begin with.



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