Without the emergence of new evidence, we will never know if Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is true or not. And there’s nothing Kavanaugh can do or say that will clear his name. If you’re a man, a single uncorroborated account that dates back to 1982 is all your political critics need to accuse you of attempted rape.
There is also no possible outcome in which Democrats will concede Kavanaugh’s innocence, or even concede that we can’t really know what transpired on that night 36 years ago. Republicans can accede to as many hearings as Democrats demand, and it won’t alter any of the liberal rhetoric or perceptions of partisans. Republicans could put Kavanaugh’s classmates under oath and have them deny that anything inappropriate or criminal occurred that night, and it will not matter. It will not matter if 65 women come forward and attest to Kavanaugh’s sterling character — in fact, for Democrats, it’s merely confirmation that the judge is covering something up. It doesn’t make any difference that, as far as we now know, there’s no pattern of bad behavior from Kavanaugh into adulthood (unlike say, Roy Moore or Bill Clinton).
We also know there will be no genuine due process in the Senate circus. Kavanaugh, who’s said he’s willing to speak to the judiciary committee, will never get a fair hearing. This is by design. Whether Ford’s accusation is true or not, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein orchestrated the leak and subsequent release of Ford’s letter, not merely to sink Kavanaugh and level accusations in a way that would make it difficult for the judge to defend himself, but also to try and delay Republican efforts to confirm any nominee until after the midterms. Even now, leading Democrats on the judiciary committee are arguing that any hearings featuring Ford should be delayed.
There’s no other explanation for the timing of leaked letter. The senator claims the allegations are “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.” Yet, according to reports, Democrats were in possession of Ford’s letter for months and sat on it. Feinstein personally met with Kavanaugh and didn’t bring up this “extremely serious” charge of sexual assault. Why not? She could have asked him about the allegations while keeping the accuser’s name confidential. Democrats submitted over a thousand questions to Kavanaugh on the record, and not one of them were about whether he had ever engaged in any “extremely serious” behavior. Feinstein also had Kavanaugh sitting in front of her, under oath, during public Senate hearings, and never asked him about his alleged behavior.
It’s worth remembering that these Democrat tactics aren’t only meant to sink this nomination — should they end up forcing Kavanaugh to withdraw — but also to damage the credibility of any Supreme Court featuring Trump-nominated (or, let’s be honest, Republican-nominated) justices. Democrats have been dishonestly challenging the “legitimacy” of the court throughout these hearings. They don’t want to abide by any authority that treats the Constitution seriously, because it’s often the only thing standing in the way of their coercive policies.
The Kavanaugh hearings were already an embarrassing spectacle in which Democrats ignored the rules, processes and procedures when it suited them. Yet, if Republicans refuse to hold more open hearings now, they will be accused of ignoring sexual assault. If they do hold hearings, they will be accused of attacking a sexual assault survivor, anyway. Republicans will never be able to ask Ford anything useful, because they’re mostly white men, and white men are, I’m told, perfunctorily racist and misogynist. If Republicans bring up the fact that Ford’s allegation wasn’t reported or relayed to anyone for more than 30 years — until Kavanaugh’s name emerged as a possible Supreme Court justice — they will be accused of attacking a woman. If they point out that her therapist’s notes, the ones that Ford claims prove her charge, in some ways contradict what she is now saying, they will be portrayed as a bunch of men attacking a sexual assault survivor. When they point out that polygraph tests are unreliable and inadmissible in courts, they will be accused of berating a victim.
Republicans are simply expected to nod their heads in agreement.
The entire time, the media will cover the hearings, and the accuser, according to well-established norms – which is to say Ford will be treated like Anita Hill, not Juanita Broaddrick.
Then there is another separate, uncomfortable question: Even if we believed Ford’s accusation as she states them, should the ugly drunken actions of a 17 year old disqualify an exceptionally qualified 53 year old who hasn’t been accused of any other wrongdoing since? Is that a standard everyone in Washington is willing to live with moving forward, or is it going to be one of those oscillating norms that will be exclusively deployed for Republicans? (Democrats’ newest budding star, Beto O’Rourke, was arrested for burglary and DWI — and tried to flee an accident — in his 20s. Though he could have killed someone, he likely got off lightly because his father was a judge. Does that mean he doesn’t have the proper character to serve in the Senate?)
Whatever the case, if the GOP surrenders to what might be a cynical ploy (unless new credible evidence emerges about Kavanaugh), they will be creating a precedent that says every and any unsubstantiated accusation against a Republican, no matter how old it is, should be disqualifying.