September 20, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, Round 3

I want to address the charges Dr. Blasey has brought against Judge Kavanaugh as this psycho-political national drama moves toward a conclusion. My first post on this subject can be found here. My most recent post is here.
As of this writing, it is unclear whether Christine Blasey Ford will testify against Brett Kavanaugh before the Judiciary Committee. Senator Grassley is insisting that the testimony be given at a session on Monday and that Dr. Blasey deliver a statement to the committee by tomorrow. Dr. Blasey, on the other hand, wants there to be an FBI investigation of her charges before she testifies. It is unclear how this standoff will end. Although the GOP line is that an FBI investigation would be irregular, there was such an investigation, albeit a less than intensive one, after Anita Hill brought forward her charges of sexual harassment against judicial candidate Clarence Thomas.

We should ask whether the assertions of Dr. Blasey, if determined to be true, will make any difference. The alleged rape attempt took place a long time ago and may well be dismissed by senators as a “youthful indiscretion.” If Judge Kavanaugh has not carried his drinking and sexual predation practices into adulthood, does this one incident really matter? If he has since lived an exemplary life, should he be denied his chance to become a Supreme Court justice?

Of course, if Dr. Blasey’s story is true, we must ask whether it was an aberration on the part of her attacker or whether it was part of a pattern of which we are presently unaware. An FBI investigation into Judge Kavanaugh’s youth might be indicated.

Dr. Blasey’s charges are certainly serious. It is clear, as I am sure she will testify, that the incident has been deeply troubling and has engendered a long-term psychological burden. That burden is particularly heavy for having been visited on a 15-year-old girl. Will this matter to the senators on the Judiciary Committee? Anita Hill, to whose situation that of Dr. Blasey is being compared, wrote this two days ago in The New York Times:
In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts.
I fear that the committee will fail again.

Her accomplishments make it clear that Dr. Blasey is a smart woman. She knows what Anita Hill went through. It is almost inconceivable that she would make the charges she has were they not true. If committee members are convinced that Dr. Blasey’s story is true, and if Judge Kavanaugh continues to insist that it is not, then he must be a liar. It is difficult to see how this would not be disqualifying. Ironically, it would be easier to excuse his actions were he to admit to them.

If there is a hearing with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey as witnesses, difficult questions will be asked of the reputed victim, and many will not be answerable. On what date did the attack occur? At whose house? Who was in charge? Who else was there? How do you know that Brett Kavanaugh was your assailant? Are you sure? Who did you tell about the attack? If you told no one, why did you not?

Questions must be asked of Judge Kavanaugh as well. Did you know Christine Blasey? Did you ever attend a party with her? Did you go to many parties? Were you a frequent drinker? Did you ever not remember events of the night before after drinking heavily? Were you sexually active at 17? Did you date younger girls when you were 17?

Without an investigation to shed more light on the situation, the proposed hearing will degenerate into a he-said-she-said affair. Democrats will believe Dr. Blasey and vote against the nomination. Republicans will pretend to believe Judge Kavanaugh and will send his nomination to the full Senate with a recommendation to consent to the nomination. And the country will take another step on the road to perdition.

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