Which is worse, a pathological liar like President Trump, or a calculating liar like Judge Kavanaugh?

President Donald Trump is a pathological liar. He lies compulsively with little or no regard for his credibility; many of his falsehoods are readily debunked. He lies about petty things as often as he lies about things of major importance. His lying is rooted in a deep-seated personality disorder. At the end of the day, you can’t believe a word that he says without verification.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, on the other hand, is a calculating liar. Or at least he was during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

Judge Kavanaugh lied about the extent of his drinking during his prep school and college years. The evidence is now overwhelming that he frequently drank to excess, probably experienced blackouts, and was an obnoxious and belligerent drunk through at least his first two years in college.

Judge Kavanaugh lied about his drinking history for a reason. Admitting to the senators that he often drank to the point where his memory and judgment were impaired would have made his denial of the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford far less plausible, jeopardizing the confirmation of his nomination to the Supreme Court. He made a calculation that his best chance to be confirmed was to deny the extent of his drinking and hope not to be caught in the lie, or at least not be caught until after the committee and the full Senate voted to confirm him.

As a lawyer and judge, Judge Kavanaugh knew that people, including judges and juries, are much more likely to believe that a person did something “out of character” if they believe that the person was drunk. And people are much more likely to believe that someone was drunk at a given time and place once they learn that the person was a habitual heavy drinker.

Judge Kavanaugh’s scheme depended for its success on the process moving quickly; he certainly realized that denying his history of heavy drinking under oath on national television would bring witnesses out of the woodwork to contradict his testimony. The delay of the vote on his confirmation by the full Senate and the supplemental investigation by the FBI, which he clearly did not anticipate, threw a monkey wrench into his scheme.

Now, regardless of what senators believed happened between him and Dr. Ford 35 years ago, they are faced with the knowledge that Judge Kavanaugh lied under oath last week. It looks like that by lying about his drinking Judge Kavanaugh took a calculated risk and lost. Although nothing is for sure in these turbulent times, it is hard to believe that the Senate will vote to confirm him knowing that he lied through his teeth while testifying before the Judiciary Committee.

So, we had a compulsive liar nominate a calculating liar to be a justice on the United States Supreme Court.  As to my question, which is worse, a compulsive liar or a calculating liar, I really don’t know the answer.  It seems to me, however, with a compulsive liar as president we don’t need to place calculating liars on the Supreme Court.  It can’t be a good idea to make the federal government top heavy with liars.

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