On Sunday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared on Fox News Sunday and defended a recent controversial protest targeting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at a steakhouse. Buttigieg, one of Biden’s most prominent officials, argued that the protest was peaceful and that while all public officials have the right to not face violence, criticism and public harassment are part of being a public official.
Fair enough—but in justifying the protest, Buttigieg went on to falsely accuse Kavanaugh of a crime.
“[The right to privacy] has now been thrown out the window by justices, including Justice Kavanaugh, who as I recall, swore up and down in front of god and everyone, including the United States Congress, that they were going to leave settled case law alone,” Buttigieg said. “So, yes, people are upset.”
Lying under oath before Congress is a federal crime punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, so the accusation the secretary is lobbying around here is nothing to sneeze at. And, in this case, Buttigieg’s accusation has no basis in reality.
Despite the Democrats’ apparently mass false memory, Brett Kavanaugh never once during his confirmation process promised that he would not overturn Roe v. Wade. (If he had made such a promise, he would’ve lost many Republican votes and probably not have been confirmed!) He simply acknowledged Roe as an important precedent, an objective fact, and promised to show precedent respect—but that doesn’t mean never overturning it, something every sitting member of the Supreme Court has voted to do countless times.
Here’s what Kavanaugh actually specifically said under oath, according to that conservative rag NPR:
“‘It is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis,’ he said. ‘The Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. It has reaffirmed it many times.’
Additionally, Kavanaugh said it can be appropriate for the court to revisit prior decisions. ‘I listen to all arguments,’ he said. ‘You have an open mind. You get the briefs and arguments. And some arguments are better than others. Precedent is critically important. It is the foundation of our system. But you listen to all arguments.’”
Nowhere does Kavanaugh say “I will not overturn Roe v Wade.” Saying something is precedent and ‘entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis’ simply means you will weigh its importance as a precedent in any decision, not that you’ll never overturn it. Indeed, Kavanaugh went on to specifically leave the door open: “you listen to all arguments.”
You can certainly accuse Kavanaugh of being purposely vague and dodging the issues, but not of perjury!
So, one of Biden’s most prominent cabinet secretaries just went on television and casually—and completely falsely—accused a sitting Supreme Court justice of a crime. Even in our current toxic political climate, that should be an outrage.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that prominent Democrats have falsely accused Brett Kavanaugh of criminal activity. But while these tactics may no longer shock us after so much repetition, they’re still condemnable.