Exactly a week before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it was reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) handed a letter she received in July to federal investigators.
The letter writer reportedly alleged Kavanaugh and his friend attempted to sexually assault her at a party when they were in high school. Over the weekend, Kavanaugh’s accuser came forward.
Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor in California, says that in the early 1980s, a drunk 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down on a bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth as she tried to scream for help. She escaped after his intoxicated friend, Mark Judge, fell on top of them.
Aside from a 2012 session in couples therapy, Ford never spoke of the incident. As Kavanaugh’s name was being floated as the potential nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Ford, a politically active Democrat, wrote the letter to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), whose office forwarded it to Feinstein. But it wasn’t until last week that Feinstein handed it to investigators, who ultimately punted it to the White House.
Kavanaugh and Judge have categorically denied the incident took place.
In the post-Me Too era, credible accusations of public figures should be taken seriously. The question is: why didn’t Feinstein take this seriously?
Feinstein sat on the letter for two months and did nothing. She didn’t ask Kavanaugh about it at their one-on-one meeting or at his confirmation hearing, and she didn’t even bother showing up at the closed-door session of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In other words, Republicans have a lot of ammunition to call this an eleventh-hour smear.
This letter emerged in the public eye after Senate Democrats humiliated themselves at the confirmation hearing. Between Sen. Cory Booker’s “I am Spartacus” episode to Sen. Kamala Harris spreading debunked claims about Kavanaugh’s views on birth control, Kavanaugh was on the path to being confirmed.
His biggest liberal critics can’t even argue that despite his conservative positions, he is perfectly qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. But now, a campaign is underway to portray Kavanaugh as the Harvey Weinstein of the judicial branch.
The worst part about all of this is that Ford could very well be telling the truth. Even Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) believes Ford “deserves to be heard.” Hearing from an alleged victim is not a partisan issue.
However, it’s the politicization of accusations that muddy the waters. In this case, Feinstein also should face public scrutiny. Because Senate Democrats are playing dirty politics, it casts significant doubt on Ford’s allegation.
Obviously, this controversy is reminiscent of the ugly confirmation battle of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. But the times have changed. Women are more emboldened to come forward with their stories, leaving the general public to decide who and how individuals should be punished.
That brings us back to Kavanaugh. Unlike prominent accused sexual predators like Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, and Les Moonves, Kavanaugh was allegedly an intoxicated teenager at the time and didn’t have any sort of professional clout then to shield him from Ford if she had come forward in the intervening nearly 40 years.
The question that we as a society face is the following: should a public figure be punished for actions that supposedly took place in his teens? It is Ford’s word against Kavanaugh’s, which to some is enough for a conviction. If that’s the case, however, then he shouldn’t be the only one facing a career death sentence.
Take Beto O’Rourke, for example. It had been known for a while that the Texas senate candidate got into a drunk driving accident in his 20s, but it wasn’t until recently when we learned that he tried fleeing the scene.
Or how about Keith Ellison? The sitting congressman, deputy Democratic National Committee chairman, and aspiring attorney general of Minnesota was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend in 2016. Her son alleges he has seen video proof of the incident.
Compare them with Kavanaugh. Both O’Rourke and Kavanaugh were drunk, but O’Rourke was in his 20s and a police record crystallized the incident, while Kavanaugh was a teen and no other witnesses are able to corroborate his accuser’s story. In fact, one alleged witness says it didn’t happen. Both Ellison and Kavanaugh were accused of physically attacking women, but Ellison allegedly did so two years ago as an adult, while Kavanaugh allegedly did almost 40 years ago as a teen.
So if there’s documented evidence O’Rourke and Ellison committed such actions, why do their careers remain intact while Kavanaugh’s career remains in the balance because of an unsubstantiated allegation?
What is extremely sad about this disastrous confirmation is Democrats’ bitter partisanship. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan, all liberal judges, had Republican votes behind their confirmations despite the difference in ideology. Oppositely, most Senate Democrats announced they were voting against Kavanaugh even before his confirmation hearing took place.
Democrats have been relying on slimy tactics to oppose conservative-leaning SCOTUS nominees since Robert Bork. What is happening now is clearly a last-ditch effort to derail President Trump’s second lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
What makes Republicans think the next person Trump appoints isn’t also going to be demonized and attacked so viciously? What makes them think the left won’t accuse the next nominee of being a sexual predator?
Unless it’s Merrick Garland, Democrats will treat whoever would replace Kavanaugh as if he were Satan, Adolf Hitler, and Charles Manson combined. Don’t think the intense scrutiny Kavanaugh is facing is an exception, because it’s the norm.
If her allegation is true, Ford deserves our sympathy. It’s just a shame that Democrats used her as a pawn in the process.