One year after Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation hearing that led to a 50-48 confirmation vote in the Senate, the accuser whose claims led to the media-frenzied hearings has accepted an award for her purported “courage” throughout the ordeal. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California last Sunday presented Christine Blasey Ford with its courage award.
Ford was the subject of intense media attention after the Washington Post in September 2018 published a shocking story centered on claimed interactions between Ford, a professor of psychology and research psychologist from California, and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Post’s story detailed Ford’s accounts of allegedly being cornered in a bedroom by Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, at a high school party where Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her.
While she claimed to have escaped from the attack, Ford supposedly harbored anxiety and trauma related to the incident in the decades since. In response to the story, however, Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegations, saying, “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Regardless, the allegations dominated the news cycle and led to additional testimony by Ford and Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Democrats fueled nine hours of salacious testimony regarding Kavanaugh’s intimate life, along with every waking hour of his schedule during the summer of 1982.
Kavanaugh successfully combated the allegations mostly by pointing out the complete lack of evidence for them and with an extraordinarily detailed calendar from that summer. The incredible events and raucous behavior of Senate Judiciary Democrats that colored Kavanaugh’s confirmation process rose to a level of intensity and virulence never seen before in this area of American government and politics, with the closest analogy being the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Justice Clarence Thomas and the accompanying allegations from Anita Hill. Less than two weeks later, Kavanaugh was confirmed as the newest associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Since Kavanaugh’s confirmation, new details concerning the veracity of Ford’s claims have continued to arise. In “Justice on Trial,” The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino expose the political motivations of several accusers attempting to pile onto Ford’s allegations. Further, Ford’s old friend Leland Keyser has cast doubt upon the account, questioning the truthfulness of Ford’s story.
Despite this, one consistent narrative from the mainstream media is that Ford has nothing to gain from coming forward with her allegations. In the wake of the confirmation hearing, however, friends and supporters raised more than $1 million through national crowdfunding campaigns, while Ford has been fielding lucrative book offers centered on her role in the confirmation and her allegations. Time magazine also named her to its “100 Most Influential People of 2019” list, and Sen. Kamala Harris, who was partly responsible for the outrageous witch hunt against Kavanaugh, authored Ford’s nomination.
Now comes the latest accolade bestowed upon the dubious Ford: the Roger Baldwin Courage Award from the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, received at the ACLU’s “Bill of Rights” dinner. When accepting the award, Ford said she did not feel courageous for coming forward, but instead “was simply doing my duty as a citizen.”
She further stated, “I understood that not everyone would welcome my information, and I was prepared for a variety of outcomes, including being dismissed [… but] was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks. I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.” Ford received a standing ovation from attendees at the conclusion of her acceptance speech.
Kavanaugh, on the other hand, is still living with his legacy scorched by the mainstream media. Just last week, Kavanaugh appeared at an event for The Federalist Society. Protesters stood outside in “The Handmaid’s Tale” garb of red robes and white hoods in an attempt to highlight Ford’s allegations even after Ford and her politically motivated legal representation refused to offer much of any evidence into the record for the Judiciary Committee to consider. Moreover, several congressional Democrats have periodically called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment in the months since his confirmation.
The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh was a striking lesson for the nation in the importance of due process — not only within the judicial system, but also within the context of how we as Americans consider charges of wrongdoing in everyday life — as well as the vitriolic and partisan slant the mainstream media can cast upon a national story. One year after a Supreme Court justice was nominated to the bench with all available evidence and logic weighted against the claims of a politically motivated accuser, it is that accuser who continues to garner support from the media, which remains silent regarding the rightful appointment of the judge.