It’s been almost a year after Kavanaugh’s confirmation and the moment that would come to define America’s condition, when Christine Blasey Ford riveted the nation with her emotional testimony that Kavanaugh had, with a friend, tried to rape her 36 years ago in a house she cannot identify at a time she cannot specify at a party none of her named witnesses can corroborate. Even her best friend, who Ford said was present, Leland Keyser, says she never knew Kavanaugh and does not remember attending the party. However, Keyser does state that she believes Ford but belief should not equate facts. Wanting to believe someone because they are credible has everything to do with motivated reasoning and very little to do with actual evidence supporting the allegation.
Now, almost a year after the first nomination process, there are renewed calls for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached. Continued allegations have resurfaced after an essay in the New York Times, adapted from a new book by Times reporters Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin, in which the authors report that during Brett Kavanaugh’s freshman year at Yale, a classmate named Max Stier allegedly “saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”
What the article egregiously left out is that the alleged victim has told friends she has no memory of this alleged incident. The article also did not specify whether Kavanaugh was a willing participant in this alleged sexual assault. Did Kavanaugh consent to have his “friends,” plural, “push his penis”? Why was it never considered that both Kavanaugh and the female student could have been victims of this alleged assault committed by the “friends’? If Kavanaugh didn’t consent to having his friends thrust his penis into someone’s hands, why should he be reprimanded for an incident where he is equally likely to be the victim?
This is not the first time where due diligence has been overlooked in the case of Kavanaugh. Over the course of his nomination, he faced a total of six accusations of sexual assault and or inappropriate sexual behavior. Of the six, only three were ever named, Dr. Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick. While their stories were arguably credible, they could never be properly corroborated thus not investigated.
Deborah Ramirez, who claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her, had originally claimed that she wasn’t sure it was Kavanaugh who did so, admitted to being drunk at the time (arguably affecting her memory), and had no eyewitnesses to back up her claims. However, she had people come forward and say they had heard about such an incident occurring after it happened. The New York Times tried to investigate the matter and run a report on her claims themselves but could find no eyewitnesses at the scene that could directly attest to her account and decided not to run the story. Likewise, Julie Swetnick’s claims that Kavanaugh may have been part of systematic drugging and gang rapes or women along with his inappropriate behavior towards women at parties, were completely uncorroborated and were effectively based on her assumptions of what was occurring rather than her actually being a victim.
Ford’s own supporting evidence was her testimony and people she spoke with since 2012 about the incident but had no evidence or witnesses from the time the attack happened to back up her claim. Ford and her lawyers also wanted Kavanaugh to testify at the special hearing regarding her claims before she did, which is contrary to all traditions of fairness and due process. The prosecution always goes first in a trial of any kind, because the accused has a right to respond to specific facts and allegations. As Kavanaugh claimed the incidents never happened, his case would’ve been supported by people either saying he never acted in such a manner, like his friend Mark Judge or the 65 women who knew him and testified to his good character, or by people saying they could recall no such incident. The burden of proof was on the accusers, and they never brought forth enough information to reach a serious level.
It should also be noted that Ford withheld documents that were requested by Senator Grassley, such as the polygraph examination and therapist notes. In her testimony to the Senate, she said: “My motivation coming forward was to be helpful and to provide facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life… It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court, my responsibility is to tell you the truth.”
However, as many skeptics had long suspected, that statement turned out to be wholly untrue, as explained in a new book titled Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh, where Debra Katz, a lawyer who represented Ford during the hearings, said as much:
In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court. He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important. It is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.
The statement shows that the allegations were motivated by fear that Kavanaugh would bring about more restrictions to the abortion community, which he hasn’t, and ultimately proved that the argument Ford repeated over and over, which was that she was merely trying to do her ‘civic duty’ was nothing but a sham.
Christine Blasey Ford was and is not the poster child of women’s rights and the hysteria to rally around her has caused us to ignore the inconsistencies and omissions of her story.
Justice was abandoned for partisan agendas and that is the real tragedy here.