The sordid saga of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his nomination to serve a lifetime appointment on the United States Supreme Court is quickly careering toward some sort of very explosive and disturbing conclusion. Either the conservative jurist will be confirmed despite repeated allegations of dishonesty and past incidents of sexual violence or his nomination will be withdrawn or rejected based on those same allegations. In either instance, it’s a sad and remarkable state of affairs.
It’s the sexual assault allegations that have really seized the news headlines in recent days. The first allegation involves Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor and clinical psychology instructor, who says that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party more than 35 years ago while his buddy, Mark Judge, looked on. At last word, the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to receive testimony from Ford later this week.
This past weekend, however, the story took another troubling turn when a second accuser emerged. According to a story in the New Yorker, Deborah Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh “thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away” while they were both drinking at a dorm room party while college students at Yale University.
Finally, over the weekend, another possible accuser emerged. As Roll Call reported, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who has represented Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump, stated that he represents a third woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge” and demanded an investigation.
While some supporters of Kavanaugh have wavered in response to the sexual violence allegations, many are sticking stubbornly by the nominee. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed yesterday to push forward with the nomination and neither of North Carolina’s two senators – Richard Burr or Thom Tillis – has publicly wavered in their support of Kavanaugh.
For those already worried about and/or outright opposed to the Kavanaugh nomination, of course, the actions of McConnell, Tillis and Burr constitute a fairly stunning development. How, many have asked, can anyone simply dismiss such disturbing and seemingly credible allegations of criminal behavior and plow ahead without fully investigating them?
While there are clearly no good answers to that question, here are the four very troubling beliefs to which Kavanaugh supporters must be clinging:
#1 – “The attacks on Kavanaugh are all lies and ‘fake news’ and part of a coordinated conspiracy.”
What this argument obviously ignores, however, is: a) the horrific trauma to which all of these women will most assuredly be subjected (Ford and Ramirez are already getting death threats), b) the fact that the revelations have, by all indications, occurred independently in different places and come to light in different ways, c) that other witnesses have come forward to validate parts of Ford’s and Ramirez’s stories, d) the fact that both are asking for full investigations.
#2 – “If the allegations are accurate, they describe nothing more than the crude pranks of a boorish high school/college student that happened decades ago.”
While this, quite disturbingly, may be the view held by many American males who engaged in similar behavior (or tried to) in similar circumstances, the claim is bogus. Simply put, Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior constituted sexual violence and criminal behavior. If some see it as merely crude, but somehow excusable, it says more about them than the law. What’s more, in both instances, Kavanaugh was clearly old enough to know better. That decades have passed is utterly irrelevant.
#3 – “Both Ford and Ramirez describe themselves as having been in the middle of drunken parties. They should have known better.”
It’s hard to believe that anyone still harbors or gives voice to this outrageous and long-discredited argument, but for those who do, it deserves to be repeated one more time for the record that “no” means “no,” regardless of what a sexual assault victim is wearing, whether she or he is drunk or where they happen to be.
#4 – “The allegations don’t matter because we need to get a fifth vote on the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade and support our president.”
Tragically, this is almost certainly the view that is motivating most of Kavanaugh’s supporters. Having already made the ultimate “deal with the devil” in their loyal support of Donald Trump – an admitted serial perpetrator of sexual harassment and dozens of other outrageous and immoral acts – sticking with Kavanaugh in order to abet their passionate desire to advance a right-wing social agenda on the Court is an obvious and easy next step.
The bottom line: It will be one of the great miscarriages of justice in modern American history if Kavanaugh is rushed onto the Supreme Court (or, indeed, remains an appellate court judge) if he has indeed committed the acts of which he is accused. Whatever views his supporters may cling to, only a thorough, independent and nonpartisan investigation can provide the answers the country deserves.