California faces many important issues raised in the columns on this website every day—-and good that they are.

​In fact regardless of our ideological bent it is critical that we engage in vigorous discussion.

​However with the press and some of our most important institutions such as the FBI, the CIA and the Justice Department under relentless attack from the Oval Office, the future of reasonable discourse – indeed the rule of law itself—is in some peril.   

​What is at stake in the current proceedings to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh is nothing less than the sanctity of one of our most basic constitutional rights which includes freedom of speech—a right so important it is part of the First Amendment.

​Notably two California Senators who happen to be women sit on the Judiciary Committee which has the unenviable task of ruling on appointments to the highest court of the land.

​At a pivotal moment in our history, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris—two Democrats from different generations—share that awesome responsibility with eighteen of their colleagues the majority men.

​But it is two GOP Senators—Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine—on whom most attention is focused.

​Since the nominee faces accusations of sexual assault, their votes could hold the key to the outcome (if the decision has not already been made by the time of this writing)

​Feinstein is the ranking member of the Committee and the most senior woman in the Senate which gives her views special weight.

“Having more women on the Judiciary Committee would be very helpful and would certainly widen the points of view on several areas of debate,” she has said.

Feinstein called for a delay of the hearings pending a full and impartial FBI investigation but was denied.

She has also been the subject of questionable criticism for withholding for several weeks the name of Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s first accuser.

Three other women have since come forward with similarallegations.

Whether or not you believe protecting Ford’s anonymity was justified, the bigger issue given the seriousness of the allegations is if an independent and thorough investigation was merited offering witnesses on both sides time to testify.

This has been standard protocol in prior Supreme Court hearings regardless of the nominee’s political leanings.

The rush to judgement is purely and simply a determination to confirm a nominee who should, himself, be demanding further scrutiny that could absolve him of taint.

It would be wrong for any president or party to ram through any nominee for such high position and a blatant affront to the public and especially women voters.

Come November we will know more about that.

In this instance, given the implications of rubber-stamping a highly controversial choice that has been put forward by an individual who has not been apologetic about his own sexual misconduct and who might be called upon to determine the fate of his nominator, the stakes are enormous.

This should not be lost on the Senators that will pass final judgement on the nominee.

Who was lying and who not will be a matter for endless speculation as it has been since the troubling Justice Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill drama 27 seven years ago.

It may never be known with certainty.

But this is not a court trial to establish guilt or innocence. It is about the qualifications or lack thereof of an individual about to be given a lifetime appointment to the most powerful tribunal in the land.

That’s deserving of a much longer and better informed debate than these proceedings have allowed—-not just in fairness to both parties, but for the integrity of the Senate, the reputation of the highest court, and the health of the nation.

Gratitude is owed to our own Senators and to our congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle who are ready to stand firm on any assault to our fundamental liberties. It is not just an expectation; it is their job.

As President Thomas Jefferson so wisely opined centuries ago:

​“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

​The Union is not about to be dissolved. But some of the edifices on which is stands are being severely weakened.