Former Paxton Staffer Livens Up Kavanaugh Confirmation in Twitterverse

Troll, white power or coincidence.
Troll, white power or coincidence. @rubin_kd via Twitter
Did Zina Bash, a star of Brett Kavanaugh's U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, flash a white power symbol while sitting behind Kavanaugh at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday? Some people on Twitter think so, but then some people on Twitter think anything.

Bash, who until recently worked for Texas Attorney Ken Paxton, is one of a team of lawyers helping Kavanaugh through his confirmation hearings. She attracted attention before lunch Tuesday thanks to her apparent lack of patience for the Democratic members of the committee. As she smirked her way through several senators' opening statements — Bash seemed particularly scornful of California's Kamala Harris — Bash began picking up fans on Twitter.  While Bash's comportment during the hearing may not have been perfect, it's what some believe she did in the hour leading up to the committee's lunch break that stirred up some viewers. (Bash did not return a request for a comment from the Observer.)

Between 12:10 and 12:20 p.m., people watching the hearing on TV noticed that Bash was, in their eyes, flashing a hand signal associated with the alt-right and conservative trolls.  Things get kinda complicated here. You might recognize the symbol Bash appears to be sort of making as the sign for A-OK, which it was. Users of the online forum 4Chan, according to the Anti-Defamation League, decided that they would troll liberals by suggesting that white supremacists had adopted the sign. The trolling worked, but then real white supremacists actually began adopting the sign, as Mark Pitcavage, the ADL's senior research fellow tweeted Tuesday.    So Bash either chose to rest her hand on her arm for several seconds, was trying to troll those watching on TV or she's the least likely supporter of the white power movement since Dave Chappelle's character Clayton Bigsby.

While Kavanaugh is Bash's boss — she also clerked for him during his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — she has deep ties to Texas. In July, Paxton hired Bash as the senior counsel for his office's executive leadership team.

“Zina is an outstanding and highly respected attorney whose extensive legal and policy experience in both the public and private sectors will make her a valuable addition to my executive team,” Paxton said at the time. “I’m confident Zina will work every day to uphold the rule of law and improve the lives of Texans.”

Later the same month, Bash resigned from Paxton's office to work on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

In addition to working for Paxton, Bash was the deputy director of policy and communications for Ted Cruz's 2012 presidential campaign and the senior counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee in John Cornyn's office. Bash's husband, John Bash, is the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. He was sworn into that job in April by none other than Kavanaugh.

Late Tuesday, he defended his wife in a series of Tweets. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young