And I still do. These were my thoughts as this dumpster fire of a SCOTUS confirmation proceeded.
What will come of the allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, a clinical psychologist and professor at Palo Alto University, that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when he was seventeen and she was fifteen? As of today, it is not clear that Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary committee at all. Perhaps mindful that her account of the alleged crime will be lost in partisan attacks, Ford is asking for an investigation by the FBI before she appears. As I write this, staffers are in California interviewing Ford, but the hearing will reopen on Monday, September 24 with or without her. Kavanaugh will appear, and if his accuser does not, then so be it. They will hear Kavanaugh’s version of the story, and move forward with a vote as planned.
I want to note at the top of this story that Kavanaugh has asserted his innocence. He has explicitly told Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that he has never met Ford and that, despite his documented reputation as a serious high school party boy, he was not at this party. Ford’s story and her account of why she only came forward now seem completely plausible to me, and Kavanaugh’s memory of not being at a specific party, over thirty years later, implausible. I can almost hear Senator Kamala Harris, in full prosecutorial mode, now: “Judge Kavanaugh,” she says, pausing to look down at a paper for dramatic effect, as if the answer to the question is right there. “You have claimed that you weren’t at `that party,’” she says looking up. “Are you referring to the party where a fifteen-year-old girl was sexually assaulted?”
The elephant in the room, of course, is not Kavanaugh’s “character,” as Republicans on the committee and President Trump would have it, or whether he is a nice guy with a nice family, but whether he has committed a crime. There is no statute of limitations in the State of Maryland for felony sexual assault. This, and the possibility that Kavanaugh has lied, either about the incident itself or about having attended “that party,” would disqualify him not just from the highest court, but any court. And if he were to be questioned by the FBI, and lie to them – well, you don’t have to be a lawyer to know that the felonies then start to pile up faster than you can say “Paul Manafort just bought a Brooklyn brownstone.”
For the rest of this essay, published on September 19 2018 at Public Seminar, click here.