Readers React: A judge’s behavior is often more important than his decisions. Don’t confirm Kavanaugh


To the editor: Jonah Goldberg misses the point about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s anger.

One can understand why Kavanaugh would be mad if he’s innocent of sexual assault. The real issue is how he expressed his anger. Did he react as we would expect a Supreme Court justice to react? Was he mature, circumspect, calm and respectful to both his accuser and his questioners?

Much time and effort are spent teaching new judges the importance of judicial demeanor. Some have even opined that the manner in which judges deal with cases and litigants is more important than the accuracy of their rulings, which can be appealed and corrected later in a higher court.


But spinning off the rails emotionally brings disrepute on the judiciary. Outbursts such as Kavanaugh’s at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27 are inappropriate for a judge, and unlike erroneous rulings, there is no readily available remedy for bad behavior. Kavanaugh shouldn’t be rewarded for his.

Russell S. Kussman, Pacific Palisades

The writer is a retired judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.


To the editor: I agree with Goldberg that Kavanaugh is angry partly because, as one of the most qualified and experienced judges in this country, Kavanaugh feels entitled to be a Supreme Court justice.

But there are many qualified judges besides Kavanaugh, and maintaining good temperament under stress is part of the job.

By Goldberg’s own assertion, Kavanaugh is feeling personally entitled right now, but he is wasting opportunities to demonstrate his qualifications for the job. Had he faced these accusations calmly and encouraged an investigation, we wouldn’t be wondering about the source of his anger.


Christina Hosmer, Laguna Niguel


To the editor: Goldberg’s assertion, “There were times in America when ‘Believe all white women’ was the rule,” doesn’t bear out under historical scrutiny.

In most cases women were under the thumb of their fathers, husbands, brothers and, yes, sons, to toe the line as virtuous and honorable and above reproach. How many of those women accused black men because they were forced to by their “men”?

That’s what happened to Mayella Ewell in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story cited by Goldberg in his column. She was a “poor innocent white woman” attacked by the “evil black man” who must be protected by “chivalrous white men.” Her father beat her because he caught her trying to kiss a black man, Tom Robinson, against his will, a strong taboo in society at the time.

Goldberg should stick to politics and leave history and literature to the professional teachers.

Peggy Johnson, Granada Hills



To the editor: Goldberg proposes that Kavanaugh “feels entitled to the job because, by all accounts, he is one of the most qualified judges in America and has spent a dozen years on the second-highest court in the country.”

Using that logic, Merrick Garland, that court’s chief judge, is even more entitled to move up; he has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nine years longer than Kavanaugh.

If President Trump withdrew Kavanaugh’s nomination and re-nominated Garland, he could not only end this current crisis but perhaps even gain a few votes from the majority of Americans who disapprove of his job performance.

Don Shirley, Sherman Oaks

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