Kavanaugh: Good news or bad news?
November 7, 2018
Kavanaugh is not good news
The Kavanaugh hearing has been an important event in American history, and its importance will remain long-lasting. The Republican and Democratic parties have never been more divided, as they refuse to agree with each other or even compromise.
Christine Margaret Blasey Ford accused current Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her during the summer of 1982 in the suburbs of Maryland, back when they were high schoolers. Dr. Ford testified that Kavanaugh and one of his friends attempted to assault her.
Kavanaugh’s opening statement was histrionic. He initially defended himself and began to break down in “tears” when mentioning some of his female friends from high school. After his confusing opening statement where he rambled on about unimportant topics, he was questioned by members of the committee.
Kavanaugh answered a total of 1300 questions, more than any other supreme court nominee. He dodged many of these questions. Additionally, there were moments of the hearing in which Kavanaugh blatantly lied about answers. For example, Kavanaugh gave an explanation of “devil’s triangle” and compared it to a drinking game, but in reality, it is known as slang for a sexual encounter when two men have sex with a woman.
There was also a statement written several times throughout his yearbook, “Renate Alumni.” According to Kavanaugh, Renate Schroeder was simply a “good friend” to Kavanaugh and his friends. Georgetown Prep President, Sean Hagan, said, “They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate, I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”
Kavanaugh also lied about how often he drank; his roommate recalled that for the most part, Kavanaugh was docile, but every now and then he would return to their room drunk and enraged. This behavior is similar to how actions during the hearing, insinuated that Kavanaugh lied to the committee. When asked about his drinking habits, he said, “Sometimes I had too many beers. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I never drank beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.” This may not seem relevant but the fact stands that Dr. Ford stated in her testimony that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge assaulted her while they were drunk.
Along with the testimony, subsequent FBI investigation lasted less than a week, starting from October 5th to the 12th. The goal of the investigation was to expose how Kavanaugh actually acted during high school. The FBI interviewed the people whom Kavanaugh referred to throughout the hearing. The lengthy list consisted of six individuals: Deborah Ramirez, Mark Judge, Leland Keyser, PJ Smyth, Timothy Gaudette, and Christopher “Squi” Garrett. The FBI mainly tried to focus on the allegations that Ford presented.
After a week, the FBI explained that they had no clear answers responding to Dr. Ford’s allegations. However, these finalizations can be blamed on the limitations given to the FBI. They had time constraints which made the investigation more difficult to complete thoroughly.
The president and his party should have chosen a different candidate after this incident; however, they chose to push Kavanaugh to be appointed as a justice to take control of the Supreme Court. The Republican Party picked the wrong person, but they still pushed to get him appointed.
The importance of having a completely clean Supreme Court Justice is to ensure that we hold ourselves to a higher standard. It is the same reason why the president should be a good person for the purpose of having a role model that we as American citizens should look up to and follow. The fact that Justice Kavanaugh has not one but two assault charges against him means that he should not remain a prominent figure in American society. As a nation, we cannot have people with tainted reputations running the country because then bad people will believe they too can run for office as well.
The public was left with an incomplete investigation, lengthy hearings, and looks of disgust from bystanders. The consequences of Kavanaugh’s appointment will come to haunt the Republican Party very soon.
The hearing and its result were one of the most unsettling things I had to see. My mother and I watched the recaps together, and she was distraught over the unfolding events. Many saw Dr. Ford as a fraud, a ploy used by Senator Feinstein and the Democratic party to try and take control. However, it was not just a made up story; there was not one but two allegations made against Kavanaugh. If there is something suspicious about someone’s character, it should not be left unresolved and unchanged, especially with such a high position of power at stake, which Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh eventually received.
Guilty until proven innocent
In July of 2018, psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sent an anonymous note to the Washington Post, concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a name swirling around on President Trump’s shortlist of nominees for Supreme Court Justice. She also reached out to her representative, Anna Eshoo.
Dr. Ford accused Justice Kavanaugh of locking her in a bedroom during a party in the “early 80s” and groping her. She says that Justice Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, was also in the room and witnessed the event. Both Mr. Judge and Justice Kavanaugh did not remember such an event. Additionally, Dr. Ford claimed that her friend Ms. Kaiser was also at the event. Ms. Kaiser, however, had no recollection of the party.
In late July, Eshoo’s letter reached California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Unfortunately, despite Dr Ford’s request, Senator Feinstein revealed the letter right before Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination. In doing so, she violated Dr. Ford’s request for privacy and made the accusation public. Instead of letting President Trump know privately and conducting an early investigation on Kavanaugh’s nomination, Senator Feinstein used the letter of alleged sexual assault to delay the nomination.
Instead of destroying Justice Kavanaugh’s name publicly and delaying his seat based on non-concrete evidence, Senator Feinstein should have told President Trump prior to his nomination of Justice Kavanaugh. Then, Dr. Ford’s wishes would have been honored and the confirmation of a Judge to the Supreme Court would not have become a controversial, politicized ordeal. A proper and thorough investigation of Justice Kavanaugh could have been conducted, and Dr. Ford’s wishes of anonymity could have been ordered. Maybe then, someone accused of sexual assault would not be on our Supreme Court.
In a court of law, prosecutors are required to provide a burden of proof, and until it is provided, the accused party retains the benefit of the doubt. Obtaining credibility is very important in creating a strong case, but it is also very difficult. The Constitution states that everybody is entitled to due process which includes the presumption of innocence. “No person shall be held to answer for capital… nor be deprived of life liberty or property without due process.” Unfortunately, this is a damning reality Dr. Blasey Ford and the prosecution were unable to address.
On September 27th, the closest substitute to evidence brought to the hearing was Justices Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook. Unfortunately for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the would-be prosecution, no evidence against Kavanaugh came from his explanation of the yearbook markings. In the end, no solid evidence was able to prove Kavanaugh guilty, and as the witch hunt continued, Kavanaugh’s image was progressively tarnished.
In a court of law where the accused are guilty until proven innocent without a reliable alibi, it is seemingly impossible to prove one’s innocence. It is inherently more difficult for a defendant to prove they did not do something than for a prosecutor to make a claim. Donald Trump referred to this situation as “dangerous,” and it is the reason why the Constitution requires witnesses or a confession.
Luckily for the integrity of the court system, the majority vote and lack of evidence protected Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. Ben Shapiro makes the point that without the internet and the accessibility of the case, Kavanaugh would have been deemed guilty. His argument highlights a deeper issue within the hearing, which is the distortion of justice due to a political incentive.
If Feinstein had followed Dr. Ford’s wishes, the benefits would have been two-fold. Instead of Justice Kavanaugh and his family being humiliated nationally on possibly false charges, the FBI would have been able to investigate the case without a national spectacle being created. Additionally, Dr. Ford would not be in the public eye, as she wished. She, along with Justice Kavanaugh and his family, have faced numerous death threats and threats of attacks. This result would not have happened, had Senator Feinstein honoured Dr. Ford’s wishes.
Moreover, by deciding to use Dr. Ford’s letter as an 11th-hour tactic, Senator Feinstein increased the divide between Democrats and Republicans-making a partisan circus out of a Supreme Court nomination.
In short, Dr. Ford’s efforts are commendable: no victim of sexual assault should be silenced. Nonetheless, no victim of sexual assault’s story should be used for partisan politics: look out for Americans, Senator Feinstein, not just for yourself.