A Kavanaugh of Authority?

Political tensions spread out from Europe to Asia passing by tribal mindsets and blood thirst for, at most, 10 different manners of waging war, authority is indeed a fickle concept. Whether it is arrogance or a blatant disrespect for authority, it is ruining the very principle of governance. Governments have corrupted regimes, the law is used for decision-making, derision, and previously seen as damaging at its worst. To make matters even more worse, the rule of law sustained an enormous injury this year.

We are not discussing international politics but justice. Kavanaugh. The Law. It is sacred, or so it is to be believed. If a judge can be that arrogant in his manner of speaking as he can unjustly use “rule of law” to back up his arguments as feeble as they were, then it is to be suspected as the new norm. 

Unfortunately the new norm means also having to deal with men, who believe lecturing amounts to the same thing as an answer. As a matter of fact, a man, who lectures is a man, who is lost. Kavanaugh was a lost man, not to mention his reputation as a contradictory judge (whether of character, actions, or law take your pick) shows a lack of force.

A video on “rule of law” by the United States Institute of Peace. from Youtube.com

See for a judge to exercise a just judgement on authority, he must be an impartial judge, not unlike the Goblet of Fire in JK Rowling’s beloved books. As Rowling points out, nothing is perfect in the world of choice, politics, and justice.

In other words,  the present highest authority is not impartial. So what exactly should we look at?

“Rule of law” of course: the cornerstone of law, traced all the way to the Hundred Years’ War for its predecessor and then to the Lumières generation (think Montesquieu). It is now embedded in today’s international law and many State constitutions.

“What is the rule of law?” These definitions come from the United Nations office and the United States Institute of Peace experts. Graphic design ©BDL Chahine

All theories and legal assumptions aside though, what is wrong with Kavanaugh is that he has inadvertently redrawn what is the norm. This is also the case the discourse around “authority”. His professional conclusions are shaping politics, law, and what is bound to become a problem: that a man is above the law would be considered not only legal but right.

Which brings us to already common practices of this behaviour: yes we are discussing once again Saudi Arabia. The Crown prince has expertly represented how to transform norms and injustices so that they are one and the same: a man is above the law.  Recently the government of Argentina, in the midst of the G20 summit, opened an official investigation into the policies and international choices of the Saudi crown prince: “war crimes and torture” according to the Human Rights Watch report. This might just be what the international community has been trying to avoid. However, when a man considers himself above the law, there is a problem. When a man considers himself above the law, it is not simply the law of a State but the law of the world. When a man considers himself above the law, it is a serious matter of security pertaining to international law.


Because when a man considers himself above the law, in cases like Kavanaugh, the Saudi Crown prince, or any politician, they question the meaning of authority, its very essence. Power is a potent word but it s also sometimes a misconstrued concept. “What is authority?”, the 20-30 youth group in Strasbourg’s église Réformée du Bouclier asked in 2016. They elaborated an entire discussion and analysis in French. Authority, conclusively, takes different forms and follows different models of personification. In law, it is about not reaching the limit; respecting the limit. It is about realizing and acknowledging that authority is not one man, but a group, a delegation, a Congress, a National Assembly, a jury.

Kavanaugh has overspent his authority, very much like his boss and men like the Saudi Crown prince, who think power s a construct to be used and “spent”. How much money buys a Constitution I wonder?

None said La Fontaine’s fox before he spent it all and did it anyways.

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