The Washington Post dropped a bombshell over the weekend by printing an article revealing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s 11-1/2 hour accuser and her claim against him. At the link is the original letter that Sen. Diane Feinstein sat on until the last minute. The (REDACTED) parts are that it was written by Christine Blasey Ford, a Northern California research psychologist and Palo Alto University professor, and the other boy she claims was in the room was Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge. (Warning, this contains upsetting adult content.)
And here’s some good analysis and background of the charge and its political aspects from Fox News:
It’s a serious charge that, if true, was surely traumatic for a young woman. On the other hand, it’s also an unsubstantiated allegation made about a then-teenage boy 36 years after the fact, backed by no evidence, no witnesses (the only other person she claims was in the room, Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, also denies that it happened.) And she admits that she didn’t mention it to anyone else for nearly 30 years.
Ford claims she sought “medical treatment” for the incident, but that actually means she brought it up during a couples counseling session over 30 years later, so there are no contemporaneous medical records to prove any assault. And the counselor’s notes show she didn’t mention Kavanaugh’s name even then, just that she was at a party with some prep school boys who’d been drinking (there are also some discrepancies between those notes and the story she’s telling now, which she attributes to the counselor writing it down wrong.)
The source and timing also raise inevitable questions, such as why she never brought this up in nearly four decades as Kavanaugh rose to the level of DC Appeals Court Judge and went through numerous FBI background checks and a previous Senate confirmation vetting. The accuser is on the record as an adamant Trump opponent and Bernie Sanders contributor, and her attorney is also a liberal activist with a history of dismissing claims of sexual impropriety against Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Al Franken for lacking hard evidence.
Naturally, this has Democrats demanding that Kavanaugh withdraw or his confirmation vote be postponed pending a thorough investigation (although how you can investigate a 36-year-old “he said/she said” allegation with no witnesses or evidence is unclear.) Some Republicans such as Arizona’s Jeff Flake, the GOP’s top Trump critic, said they would withhold their votes, but they might have been planning to do that anyway. If the investigation can be dragged on long enough, and Democrats can take over the Senate, then Kavauagh’s confirmation can be killed and his career derailed based on an 11th-hour blindside allegation with no evidence. “Social justice warriors” might celebrate that, but I fail to see how it would represent justice in any form.
As with all the #MeToo allegations, this is a delicate matter. I never discount out of hand allegations of sexual assault, which should always be treated with the utmost seriousness. I also try never to let partisanship dictate my responses. In the cases of both Roy Moore and Al Franken, I said that if they were guilty, they should own up and face the consequences, but if they pleaded innocent, then both deserved due process. There are good reasons why we have the rule of law, due process protections and statutes of limitations on allegations of crimes for which evidence degrades and memories get fuzzy over time. In this case, the FBI simply passed the letter on to the White House, because they recognize that a 36-year-old allegation with no evidence or witnesses would be inadmissible in any court.
It’s also impossible not to question the motives of Kavanaugh’s opponents, who made it clear that they intended to stop any Trump appointee by any means necessary, even before they knew who that nominee would be. Their hypocritical opportunism couldn’t be on more obvious display if there were a spotlight on it outside Grauman’s Theater: DNC head Tom Perez, who is righteously demanding a full investigation of Kavanaugh, has had little to say about his fellow DNC official and Democratic candidate for Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, who is accused of much more recent domestic violence.
At this link, David French lays out the details very well, including why certain people such as Bill Clinton, due to their long histories of questionable sexual behavior, are less deserving of the benefit of the doubt than someone like Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of behavior as a high school boy that seems completely out of character with the way he’s lived his entire life.
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