Thirty-Nine “Supreme Revenge” Interviews. On the Record. At Your Fingertips.
Last night, we brought you the premiere of Supreme Revenge, our investigation of the no-holds-barred war for control of America’s highest court, and how conservatives have prevailed.
While making the documentary, a team led by FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk logged a total of 42 hours, 26 minutes and 42 seconds of interviews with U.S. senators and staff, White House advisers, journalists, activists and legal scholars.
In the newest installment of the FRONTLINE Transparency Project, we invite you to explore 39 of those interviews in a rich interactive collection that offers firsthand insights from three decades of Supreme Court confirmation battles.
You’ll find all of the interview excerpts used in Supreme Revenge in their original context, plus hours of insights, analysis and stories that weren’t included in the final cut — and you’ll be able to share direct links to any quote within an extended interview by simply highlighting the text.
Among the highlights from the interviews, which chronicle three decades of brinksmanship leading to the confrontation over Brett Kavanaugh:
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on being threatened over her confirmation vote: “I received a fax in which the person threatened to cut off my arms and legs and slit my throat if I voted for Judge Kavanaugh.”
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on her exchange with Kavanaugh over blackout drinking: “…Then I asked him if it was possible that he had blacked out, and that’s why he didn’t remember it. And he went back at me and asked me if I blacked out. And I thought—my first reaction was, boy, if I had done that in your courtroom, I thought this in my head, you would kick me out.”
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on his decision to mount an angry defense of Kavanaugh: “And I thought this was a complete joke. I thought it was a drive-by shooting. I thought they were destroying this guy’s life.”
- Former White House adviser Steve Bannon on why he “detests” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but views him as a hero when it comes to the courts: “…To me he’s the epitome of the establishment. That being said, if you’re a conservative, he essentially saved the country.”
The FRONTLINE Transparency Project, led by our special projects editor Philip Bennett and me, is an ongoing effort to share the original source material behind our documentaries. Transparency and accountability have long been vital components of our digital presence and our journalistic guidelines. But today, we believe that transparency plays an even more important role in making journalism more credible. A survey done recently as part of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, a panel on which I served, found that 71 percent of Americans said a commitment to transparency was a “very important” factor in fostering media trust.
So, we’re working harder than ever to make the reporting behind our documentaries easy to access, interact with and share. We hope you’ll find the testimony in this collection to be a vital public resource on the forces shaping the American judiciary.
– Raney Aronson-Rath
FRONTLINE Executive Producer