I want to share with all of you my reflections on the controversy involving Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Brasey Ford.
- The charge of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Brasey Ford is not the only behavior that needs to be examined and publicly condemned in the lead up to a confirmation vote. It is sickening to hear 84-year old Orrin Hatch and 85-year old Charles Grassley suggest that Dr. Ford is confused and mixed-up, but that Brett Kavanaugh is assumed to be above reproach. Once again, powerful men are choosing to believe the man that is accused rather than the female victim that is reporting the offense. That is what both Hatch and Grassley did in 1991 when Anita Hill made a charge of sexual assault against Clarence Thomas. They were both wrong then and they are both wrong now.
- It is absolutely stunning that Donald Trump would say anything at all about a charge of sexual assault or offer any defense of Brett Kavanaugh, since Trump himself faces over a dozen such charges of sexual assault himself all of which were alleged to have occurred when he was an adult. Trump has lied and denied concerning his own conduct. We should be shocked but not surprised at what we are hearing from him now.
- It is shameful that Republican Senators seem to be in a rush to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to a position where cases about sexual abuse and the equal rights of women will certainly be considered by that court. Bad enough that Roe v. Wade might be overturned and with it a woman’s right to choose in matters of reproduction. It is worse to imagine a Supreme Court where two accused sexual assaulters are shaping our nation’s sense of justice for years to come.
- Finally, but perhaps most important, it is tragic that Dr. Ford and her family have to go into hiding and are facing death threats simply because she had the courage to report that she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh. What have we become as a nation when a woman has to risk her life when she seeks to report a traumatic act of physical and sexual assault? He has the right to defend himself against her accusation, but she has the right to ask that her charge be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. After all, Ford is the person asking for an FBI investigation. Why would she do that if she thought there was nothing to discover. By the same token, why would Kavanaugh and his defenders seek to avoid an FBI investigation if they are so sure that Ford’s charges are false?
- Dr. Ford is being rushed to testify before a committee where the all-male Republican members have already made up their minds that her charges are false. One Republican senator referred to her charges as a “hiccup” that will not prevent Kavanaugh from being confirmed.
- Meanwhile, Brett Kavanaugh has spent several days at the White House rehearsing his testimony should he be required to offer public testimony. This does not sound like we have separate branches of government. This sounds like a President who is hand-picking a Supreme Court that will do what he wants; namely protect him during the Robert Mueller investigation.
- We already have one Supreme Court Justice who was confirmed in the face of a credible charge of sexual abuse in the workplace. It would be a travesty of justice to see another member of the U.S. Supreme Court serve under a similar accusation without adequate time to investigate the claim.
- Now that the whole world has heard the charges and the denials, it would be good if the matter could be resolved in a way that allows the voices of both people to be heard under oath. If Brett Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the U. S. Senate and to the American people about this charge of sexual assault, then his nomination should be withdrawn. As Donald Trump has famously said, “What do you have to lose” if we postpone this vote, allow Dr. Ford to offer her testimony before an impartial body, and wait for the truth to emerge?