Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is now Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Supreme Court. The journey was a long and strange one…and the process has made us as splintered as ever. I won’t recap it in detail, since we’re all likely sick of reading about it. But some background is needed.
It appeared to be a normal SCOTUS confirmation process…or at least what passes for “normal” these days. Earlier this year, Kavanaugh was nominated by President Trump to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Of course the new “normal” is reflexive opposition from the party not in the White House. But this time it was different. More passionate. One Senator called Kavanaugh “evil.” Another suggested that confirming him would “kill people.” The once grudgingly-respected American Civil Liberties Union announced an all-out effort to doom the nomination.
But still, this seemed a done deal with a Republican majority. Kavanaugh’s four days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee juxtaposed his calm replies to Senators’ sometimes-unhinged questioning. Despite deplorable moments from the likes of Corey “Spartacus” Booker and Kamala Harris, it seemed there would be little to stop a 51-49 vote.
Then things got interesting. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D – California) unveiled a smoking gun. It was a letter she received over the summer from a California woman who claimed that Kavanaugh had an encounter with her in High School. Really, that’s about all we knew until 48 hours later. That’s when the accuser, one Christine Blasey Ford, went to the Washington Post with her story. Ford, now a professor in California, says Kavanaugh “groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers,” at a party in high school in the 80s.
But that wasn’t the end. Oh no. Following that were allegations from another woman who claimed Kavanaugh “flashed” her at a party at Yale. Never mind that she admits to being drunk at the time and needed six days of coaxing from attorneys to restore her memory. Then the ever-loathsome Michael Avenatti slithered on to the stage with another accuser—a woman who claimed Kavanugh and his friends routinely gang-raped girls in high school. Left unanswered were obvious questions of why she kept returning to parties where girls were being gang-raped. A day later, some story emerged about Kavanaugh assaulting someone on a boat in Rhode Island. Before we could ask, “WTF?” the accuser recanted.
The propensity to dismiss the allegations was based less on Kavanaugh and more on the facts that:
- They were more than three decades years old.
- The first magically emerged 72 hours before Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. The rest followed in succession, appearing just as soon as doubts were cast on the previous ones. And they got less and less believable.
- They were hazy, with key pieces of crucial information missing. Some were so ridiculous on the surface as to be comical. Yet the mainstream media treated them as the gospel.
- As such, they were impossible to substantiate—and equally impossible to defend against.
- The allegations emerged against the backdrop of Democrats’ attempt to do anything and everything to delay the confirmation until after the midterms.
- In two cases, the person making the allegations was a conspicuous supporter of political causes that would put her on the opposite side of Kavanaugh. If they were a MAGA-hat wearing trumpet, they would have had more validity.
- There was NOTHING else in Kavanaugh’s dealings with others that even suggested anything like the allegations.
The accuser’s most ardent supporters played the guilt-by-association game; bringing up tired tropes about drunk frat boys—as though that proved their allegations.
I’ve covered in another post how poorly the media behaved in covering this. An Op-Ed in the VERY left-leaning Boston Globe this morning had a few other highlights.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted, “So even though Dr. Ford is saying please stop, slow down, I’m not comfortable with the way this is going, the GOP is gonna plow through, ignore her telling them to stop and just take what they think is rightfully theirs?”
Time magazine correspondent Molly Ball observed, “Members of the girls’ basketball teams he’s coached sat in the front rows behind him at his Senate confirmation hearing. But Ford’s charge shattered Kavanaugh’s carefully crafted tableau, calling into doubt the image he projected. The row of young girls, legs bare in their private-school skirts, looked different now.”
This week, numerous news outlets covered an interview the Atlantic held with Sen. Lindsey Graham, in which he referred to the crude remarks made by James Carville in the 1990s during the Paula Jones case. “This is what happens when you go through a trailer park with a $100 bill.” Though Graham was making a point about crude rhetoric in politics, all context was extracted and the quote attributed to him, alone. Later, some media corrected the mischaracterization, some did not.
Trust me…there are MANY more.
Bottom line? There is not one single contemporaneous corroborating witness despite fact that each accuser claims there were. To believe all of the allegations we would have to believe that male students from Georgetown Prep were regularly drinking and raping women in the early 1980s…and that not ONE of the women told their story to a friend. Indeed, one is forced to wonder how Kavanaugh’s career as an alcohol-fueled sexual predator could have eluded the FBI during six previous background checks.
To put it another way, if Democrats simply had a bunch of operatives ready to make false allegations in order to delay this as long as possible, how would it have looked any different?
I happen to believe that we shouldn’t turn our back on centuries of Anglo-American tradition and that, at the very least, accusers should bear the burden of proving it’s more likely than not that their claims are true. If your defense is, “This was not a trial, it was a job interview,” consider this. Name a place in life — court, confirmation hearings, job interviews, ANYWHERE — where guilty until proven innocent is an appropriate standard.
Another fetid takeaway from all this was the way the Democrats and the Media (redundant, I know) immediately moved the goalposts after Ford and Kavanaugh’s testimony two weeks ago. They shifted from the nebulous claims by Ford to Kavanaugh’s “temperament.” I have news for you. At that point in the process, Kavanaugh was not a judge. He was a man. A pissed off man. A man who saw a spotless career being attacked. A man who saw his family being dragged through the mud. It was personal…and it was perfectly understandable. This was NOT an indication of how he would act as a judge. Judges recuse themselves from cases where there is personal bias. Plus, he has a lengthy record of acting as an impartial jurist.
I fancy myself a reasonable man—a man who holds strong political and social views, but has always been not just willing, but EAGER to listen to the other side. A man who did not vote for Trump, but also recognized that he was NOT the spawn of Satan and was capable of doing some good things. But this freak show from the Democrats and their media allies is making me think twice. Every WaPo and NYT editorial the past two weeks has been either slimy innuendo or garment-rendering angst.
In the end, this was not about “Believing survivors.” It was about whether or not unsubstantiated smears can bring down someone. Democrats left you with a choice of either believe Ford and the other accuses or call them liars. That wasn’t a choice, that was an ultimatum. A demand. I hope the answer resonated loud and clear.
I am sensitive to the emotional angle this entire sorry episode has stirred in those who have been *actual* victims of sexual abuse. Please understand… The fact that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed is NOT a declaration that sexual assault is OK. It’s merely an acknowledgment that a man who was accused of terrible crimes, with NO corroborating evidence, has to be given the benefit of the doubt.
To sum things up, I’m quite happy that attempts to destroy a man’s life with uncorroborated allegations backfired dramatically. The midterms weren’t really *that* big a deal to me. Kavanaugh was FAR from my favorite nominee. But the Dem/Media behavior over the last month changed that. They abandoned all standards of decency and professionalism in their zeal to demonize a man whose only provable sin was disagreeing with them. That makes them bad people. And I celebrate when bad people lose. And I look forward to the negative fallout.