Pretty awful, these latest, precedent-defying efforts by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans to ramrod high court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through a sham hearing on Monday—minus the standard reopening of the FBI background check process in light of new information that has bearing on the nominee’s character.
Many, many far wiser and more informed people than I have noted and elaborated on the myriad ways this thing stinks and is stacked against the citizen bringing forward that new information, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Under such bullying, and by an all-male cadre of high-level lawmakers (who have a sacred duty to protect citizens like her), it would be completely understandable were she to withdraw her report, decline to testify given the lack of basic independent agency fact-finding, and find a way to return to what by all accounts is a productive and rewarding private life. This would in no way be a negative reflection on her or her report on her experience of the nominee.
And yet—potential outcomes of the nomination process notwithstanding (but especially if Cavenaugh were confirmed anyway)—a big part of me believes empowerment, speaking truth to bullies, still matters, is freeing for the one who claims it, whatever the outcome. My hope for Dr. Blasey Ford, her having come this far, is to find the strength to go a little farther, to not let them silence her or run her off via a rigged hearing. (This Committee has an all-too-visible track record of this kind of silencing, having done so to Angela Wright and the other Clarence Thomas victims who corroborated Anita Hill’s testimony.) I would love for her to find her voice and speak, not merely in spite of, but even because the hearing is rigged against her. To do it, anyway.
But whether Dr. Blasey Ford does or doesn’t appear without an independent background check-reopening having been done, there is plenty the Committee needs to refocus on with Kavanaugh and call every obviously relevant witness.
Just for starters:
1) The Committee need to question Kavanaugh thoroughly about his well-documented “wasted” drinking behavior that he has widely bragged and joked about in print and public, since his teens. Judge Kavanaugh (and the American public) must be shown the examples of this from various sources and his own speeches.(This has been even more thoroughly described in writing and interviews over the years by his friend, Mark Judge, the other witness Blasey names as having been present at the alleged sexual assault incident. So far the Committee, in its so-called truth-seeking here, has refused to call him or any other witnesses besides Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh to testify under oath.)
2) Specifically the Committee members need to ask Kavanaugh if these accounts about the heavy underage drinking are true. (And if he says they are not, why has he joked and bragged about them, even in recent years and on tape?) If the drinking tales are true, how he can be so “categorically” sure of what he ever did or did not do while in a state of passing-out/puking drinking? How would he even know the next day what or where the party was, much less 36 years later to be able to so “categorically” deny ever being there? (Much more credibly to anyone interviewing witnesses about anything, the alleged victim remembers only the general vicinity and roughly likely timing of the party.) How can Kavanaugh be so arrogantly definite that he was never at a particular party—is he saying he never went to any such parties? (And again, if not, why has he laughed and bragged on tape, in yearbook etc. about those heavy-partying times?)
3) Only after getting clarity from him on these questions (and based on his previous committee hearing sessions, good luck getting straight answers from this guy on anything) are any additional statements beyond her very specific letter even needed from Dr. Blasey Ford.
4) As should be obvious, the Committee needs to call and intensely question this sidekick Mark Judge—author of a memoir titled “Wasted”—character, as well as admitting a whole bunch of written, printed and taped material for both of these guys to answer questions about. And
5) Again of course, the Committee needs to review and hear from any and all other corroborating and character-attesting statements, witnesses, and documents that come forward regarding either party in this situation.
Meanwhile, for Dr. Blasey Ford, sincere gratitude for her service to the democratic process. Whatever she decides and is able to do, Godspeed on Monday and beyond.