1,000 Words: The handshake that wasn’t

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jamie, died in the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, wanted to make a point when the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took a break.

Mission accomplished.

He stuck out his hand…

  • Gary F

    That disqualifies him. Enough said.

    • Sonny T

      This was not an acceptable part of the process.

    • lindblomeagles

      To be fair to everyone, Kavanaugh’s nomination is tainted, and IT IS NOT his fault. The Republican Party started the tainting when they refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland. The excuse in 2016 was the Democrats didn’t hold a hearing for Bork in the early 1980s. The real reason Republicans stone-walled his nomination is they continued to rebel against President Obama (by pledging not to work with him on any legislation after he passed the ACA without them). Trump further tainted Kavanaugh’s nomination by being the divisive lightning rod he enjoys being in addition to having “legal” positions the majority of the country, according to polls, does not share with him (the key ones being on immigration and on Mueller’s investigation) or the Catholic Church (notably abortion and GLBT rights, which, ironically, the Supreme Court passed and reaffirmed during Obama’s second term and with only 1 lifetime Obama appointment, Sotomayor). The atmosphere is tense because Trump keeps talking about stopping the Mueller investigation, and Kavanaugh’s record on abortion is not clean. There’s reason for both sides to be polarized. If we were all truly American, not just one party or the other, Trump and Congress would probably pick a centrist judge for the position. But there lies the problem. We’re not really nice to one another, and we suspect some Americans won’t vote the way we want them too, so Congress, and the President will further divide us by placing a candidate on the Court who has really too right or too left to be of any long term value to us as a nation and a country. As much as I hate to admit it, Bob is right. Real Law is not about black and white. It’s about a lot of gray, and the cases that come before the Supreme Court typically are the grayest.

  • Judge Kavanaugh seems like a pleasant chap.


  • Jeff

    Looks like to me he’s not paying attention, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      I’ll admit he looks dazed and confused, but he turned around when tapped on the arm, seemed to acknowledge Mr. Guttenberg and the turned away as his security team came to escort him to lunch. If he had wanted to he could have interacted with Guttenberg.

      I’ll admit I’d look a little dazed and confused considering what has been described as a raucous atmosphere dominated the early going this morning.

      • Jeff

        I’d prefer to demonize him for his role in torture or something more substantial.

  • AmiSchwab

    my dislike of the man has been confirmed

  • lusophone

    What you see in the video is not what you see in the video.

  • MrE85

    A play within a play. But we all know how this ends. No snubbed handshake, ejected protester or Hart Building handmaids will change that.

    • Just the exercise itself, though is illuminating. That average people can still walk into the Capitol and sit quietly (mostly) and speak a truth to a power that will have a lifetime job insulated from them forever soon… is pretty spectacular.

      • Tyler

        FYI, Guttenburg was a guest of honor of Senator Feinstein.

    • lindblomeagles

      Yep. Cavanaugh will be confirmed. Heck, the Republican Party isn’t even trying to hide it. I mean, did you listen to any of it on MPR today? Just about every Republican gave a near congratulatory speech to Cavanaugh instead of actually vetting him. But, we are prisoners of an innocence that, as I’ve mentioned before, has never really existed in American History. Southern States used to pack the Supreme Court with justices that would uphold slavery before the Civil War broke out. And after Reconstruction, they tried to pack the court with “separate but equal” supporters.

  • Jeff C.

    This brought tears to my eyes. How can come people be so cold? Inhuman? Inhumane? How can someone walk away from another person who just told you that their daughter was murdered? How could they not say, “I’m sorry.”? How could they not give him a hug? Showing compassion, empathy, is not a sign of weakness or a desire to weaken or strengthen gun control laws. It is a sign that you are a caring person who has a heart.

    • lindblomeagles

      Ah, but, according to Trump, hearts are of no use (see immigrant children detained at border crossings separated from their parents).

  • Gary F

    That will fuel the outrage machine for a few days.

    • RBHolb

      Sometimes, outrage is justified.

  • Mike Worcester

    I find it a little disconcerting that considering the charged atmosphere of the hearing that someone in the audience was able to get that close to the judge. Granted those rooms are quite cozy (as shown by the image of all the photographers crowded between the nominee at the desk and the senators) but I wonder how someone from the audience was so easily able to get right up to the nominee.

    Not saying the public should be kept out in the hall but again, this was a very tense day.

    • Once he gets through this week, he’ll never have to be near a member of the public again.

      • Mike Worcester

        And if he does, it will be an audience of his own choosing. (Wonder if he will forbid cameras and recording devices like Justice Scalia did for so many of his appearances?)

      • crystals

        I was at a small wedding with one of the Supremes a few years back. It was…jarring, is maybe the best word? To be up close and personal in such a different context. The secret service members stayed well hidden, and the Supreme was exceedingly kind to us plebes. It’s made me think about them more generously, even on the frequent occasions in which we are on different sides of an issue.

    • lindblomeagles

      I think everyone was a bit shocked the day was this tense Mike. It’s been awhile since a judicial nominee was this tense. Things will probably be much different the next time around.

      • It doesn’t help that President Obama’s pick for SCOTUS was stolen from him…

        • MarkUp

          I’m curious to compare Garland’s and Kavanaugh’s decisions on the Court of Appeals. Where did they agree? Where did they differ? Does anyone know a resource for this, other than digging into court records?

        • lindblomeagles

          And that’s going to be the challenge for all Americans moving forward. There are going to be some people who will not forgive Republicans for stealing Obama’s pick in 2016, just like there are Republicans who still can’t forgive Democrats for the ACA and minorities for electing an African American President (twice). This is going to linger for some time, particularly if Judge Kavanaugh supports limiting the right to vote, supports ending abortion, supports Trump’s immigration policy, supports not having an investigation into Trump’s Presidency, supports overturning GLBT Rights — the tense moment that we saw in that courtroom might be a precursor of what’s to come for our nation politically and socially for the next 10, 20, 50 years. Hardcore lefties and righties are predictable, and they typically try to get everything their bases want. But real democratic societies need calm, moderate leaders who broker deals that give both sides what they want. You already see the result of having a hard right leader in Trump. Hard lefties have won three electoral contests on the Democratic side of the ticket, in New York, in Massachusetts, in Florida.

        • Sonny T

          What’s your point? That the Democrats would have behaved differently?

          • >>What’s your point? That the Democrats would have behaved differently?<<

            We'll never know…

            And my *point was that fact Garland never even got to the confirmation process due to McConnell very much plays into what happened yesterday…but you knew that already.

          • Sonny T

            We know right now. The Dems are throwing the kitchen sink at the current nominee, and I don’t think anyone seriously thinks it’s for any reason other than to stall until the midterms are over.

          • Stalling 2.5 months is a little different than stalling for 18 months…plus Garland never even got this far.

          • Sonny T

            Not if it works 🙂

          • It probably won’t work. the Dems don’t have the votes.

            Plus, as stated before, Garland never even got a hearing.

            And, bonus, McConnell changed the Senate rules SPECIFICALLY for the purpose of getting “his man” on the SCOTUS.

          • Sonny T
          • Fake news.

            /Totally kidding
            //I hate that term.

          • Sonny T

            Yes they would love revenge, but they would love more to win. Let’s never think either party won’t play hardball given the chance.

  • Brian Ernste

    While I 100% support Mr. Guttenberg’s activism, should Mr. Kavanaugh recognize his face or name? For all he knew, he was just another person in the room. Or maybe we need to hold individuals looking to become SCOTUS members to just know all of that? I don’t know the answer, just making observations…

    • lindblomeagles

      I actually like the question, and don’t know the answer either. But, you might right here. That might be a better test than the confirmation hearings, which, from what I’ve been reading, are not necessary because the Republicans have already committed to a near unanimous confirmation anyway.

      • Sonny T

        Yes, barring something weird it’s a done deal. Endless grandstanding to the base, and detracting from the real show, which is the Midterms.

        • lindblomeagles

          Yep. The Republicans are worried turnout will be low for these midterms. Polls have shown they just might lose the House. So, this show is an attempt to let the base know, the Party is still out there fighting the good fight, and winning. It’s a shame too, because Kavanaugh really deserves to be vetted, for his sake and ours. This whole spectacle reminds me of the humorous B movie Mooseport, in which lame duck President Gene Hackman semi-retires to his home in Mooseport Maine because his ex-wife has taken everything else of his. He runs for Mayor to win the heart of a young veterinarian only to realize that a loss to “Joe the Plumber,” played by Ray Romano would be disastrous to his future legacy in book deals and royalty fees. His aide, played by “The Wonder Years” TV Star Fred Savage (Kevin) has a line in the movie that goes a little like this, “This is about using $1,000 dollars to protect $100,000,000 dollars.”

  • Brian Ernste

    Under his eye…

  • Erik Petersen

    This is a bunch of political theater provocation. Guy was trying to create a scene. One shouldn’t blame Kavanaugh one bit for backing away.

    • lindblomeagles

      The scene was Parkland, Florida. The guy knows once this judge is confirmed, there is nothing he, the State of Florida, or the rest of the United States can do about Kavanaugh’s beliefs. We don’t get a do-ever Erik. Cavanaugh won’t be on some ballot, 2, 3, or 4 years later. Cavanaugh, if confirmed, serves for life. The guy did try to make an impression. But, that’s literally all he can do.

      • Erik Petersen

        That’s not true at all, its an obtuse understanding and / or representation of whats gone on in 2A jurisprudence in the last ten years. Scalia left room in Heller / McDonald for very robust gun control that could limit the availability of say ‘assault weapons’, there’s nothing for Kavanaugh to add / reject. Minnesota or Florida or whoever could tighten up these laws now and they would withstand constitutional challenge.

        • lindblomeagles

          Once again Erik, your belief in fairies, elves, and dragons, has helped you AVOID reading what I wrote. A. We don’t know what will happen in the future. That’s Law. Today, everything seems fine, but tomorrow, some situation may come up that the Supreme Court will have to resolve, and these laws you think may apply, won’t exactly apply. B. As I mentioned, a Supreme Court Justice is selected for life. He’s not just another officer of the government. If Kavanaugh was a Federal or State Rep, or a Federal or State Senator, this dad and his band of irate mothers and fathers could write letters to him endlessly, could throw support to another candidate to take his seat in the next election, or could picket the White House, the State House, or the Mayor’s Office every day of the week. But a Federal Supreme Court Justice is way different. In almost every case, the public HAS NO SAY about the selection process. Once confirmed, that’s it. Game Over. That was the point this man was making. This was his last bit of electoral activism before the eventual position is handed to Kavanaugh. Next time, go deeper than your beliefs.

          • Kellpa07

            It’s almost as though elections have consequences. Didn’t I hear that somewhere?

          • lindblomeagles

            Yep! You sure did. 🙂 Republicans reminded their elected leaders of that just before the 2010 election, and every election since then. Bernie Sander Democrats started making the same statement just before the 2016 election, and in both cases, the House went from Democrat in 2008 to Republican in 2010, while Trump defeated established Republicans in the primary before going on to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Elections CAN actually have REAL consequences, but an appointment can last for decades (see Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Bashir Asaad, and his father before him, in Syria, or King George on the eve of 1776 for all you Founding Father supporters). Once appointed, there is NO recourse for a ruling an appointed figure makes in a court of law or a legislative body. That was the point this Dad was making, i.e. “Mr. Kavanaugh, I want you to remember my daughter. I want you to remember me, because once you are a Supreme Court Judge, I will not be able to remove you from office. I have to trust in God that you’ll make a rationale and just decision.”

    • Angry Jonny

      Just shake the damn hand.

      • Sonny T

        The nominee just endured perhaps the most contentious day the Senate has seen in modern times, with screams, catcalls, and protesters dragged from the chamber. Had he paused to engage with a stranger because it would make him or you or us feel better would make me question his judgment, if not courage. A Supreme Court justice needs both.

        • Huh. Were you not alive during the Clarence Thomas hearings?

          Maybe it doesn’t fit in “modern times” but there’ve been only six confirmation votes since then.

          SCOTUS hearings SHOULD be open warfare. These are lifetime appointments for people in the most exclusive club in America, who shape the lives of 327 million Americans and who never have to answer to a single one of them.

          It should be a gauntlet.

          • Sonny T

            I’m not sure what you are referring to. Did something similar happen?

          • You’re not familiar with the Clarence Thomas hearings?

            I’m referring to your description of yesterday as “the most contentious day the Senate has seen in modern times.”

            BTW, it sounds like you’re listening to the hearings.

          • Sonny T

            If these things weren’t contentious I’d be worried. I was talking about people being out of order.

          • Beating Onan to the punch.



          • Sonny T

            This is kinda what Michael Cohen did 🙂

  • Tyler

    I’m more interested in why Rod Rosenstein patted Kav on the shoulder and said “Good job” ?

    • lindblomeagles

      The judicial nominee is always prepped before confirmation hearings proceed. Those judicial hearings aren’t “Jeopardy” where Alex Tribec stands in front of a podium lobbing questions about Freud, Things that start with Y, and other braniac head scratchers. This is about getting the candidate across the finish line.

    • crystals

      I had the same reaction! It was a bit of a shock to see the Deputy AG in this particular context. (I’m guessing we’re also in the >1% of the general population who could pick him out of the crowd.)

  • JamieHX

    What do you mean by “REST your hand”?

  • gaylewerner5

    No doubt, Kav was under a lot of pressure today. Still, observing how he deals with others is one way to observe him and form impressions of his character. Mr. Guttenberg appeared to be very polite and not particularly threatening in the video.

    Anyone who reads or listens to the news would know who Guttenberg is. To respond with a quick handshake and a smile is the least Kav could have done. Instead, he came off as extremely cold. Shouldn’t we expect judges to have compassion and empathy, given that their role can impact peoples’ lives?

    • theoacme

      Heaven knows they should…but, like their corporate masters and their Republican and Democratic representatives, they never will show any compassion or empathy toward anyone who isn’t rich and a male Caucasian.

      • lindblomeagles


  • Charlie Hurd

    Much ado over nothing, but confirms MPR bias. And I’m not a Trumper.

    • Picture also appeared in the NY Post, so, yeah, nailed it.