Had Brett Kavanaugh done something terrible, he should have paid a terrible price. On that point, Americans are much more united than we seem on television, Twitter, and in your Facebook feed.
And now, after what seemed like a million-year confirmation march, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed yesterday as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 50-48 Senate vote.
Many on the Left will continue to believe our newest justice repeatedly lied under oath, having abused at least three women when in high school and college. Many on the Right will view all “three” of these female accusers as political players or pawns, who probably should be punished in some way for lying about such a fine man.
Someone is not telling the truth. But consider that both of these “manys” could be 100 percent mistaken.
Accusations made three and four decades after the alleged incident are certainly more difficult to prove, but we also know that traumatic memories can be hidden for decades. And even when not hidden, such memories can be too painful for a victim to express — especially in open court, or even worse, before our modern Star Chamber, a U.S. Senate committee. We also know that sometimes those memories, recovered or just finally stated publicly, are not entirely accurate.
You might be surprised to learn how often even eye-witness identification is wrong. “Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing,” the Innocence Project reports, “playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide.”
What do I think about who is telling the truth and who is lying? I’m part of that small minority admitting that we do not know.
Having said that, we do know a few things worth remembering.
The U.S. Senate is an embarrassment.
Also an embarrassment? The standard accounting of accusations: there were not three women accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, there were only two. That our media insistently says three accusers suggests they are missing at least 33 percent of their good sense.
“I cannot specifically say that he [Brett Kavanaugh] was one of the ones who assaulted me,” Julie Swetnick told NBC News. “But before this happened to me at that party, I saw Brett Kavanaugh there. I saw Mark Judge there. And they were hanging about the area where I started to feel disoriented and where the room was and where the other boys were hanging out and . . . laughing. I could hear them laughing and laughing.”
Swetnick may indeed be telling the truth — and a horrible truth at that — and yet it still doesn’t carry any weight against Kavanaugh. A maybe, could have, might have, I don’t know, I cannot specifically say . . . is not an accusation.
Further, there has so far been no corroboration for this non-accusation, and an ex-boyfriend has spoken out to discredit Swetnick. But she does that herself: “Because if Brett Kavanaugh was one of those people that did this to me, there is no way in the world that he should go scot-free on this and that he should be on the Supreme Court. . . . If he does, I, uh — there’s no justice in the world.”
There may be little justice in this world, but hers was a big IF. And perhaps some indication that Kavanaugh might be the unlucky stand-in for other men.
On that count, Sen. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) argued that, “Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed.” Hirono went on, “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
“In Democrat’s feminist kangaroo court, Kavanaugh is a man,” Fox’s Tucker Carlson responded, “and that makes him guilty.”
At National Review, John Fund explained that when Senator Hirono’s Democrat benefactor, the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, was accused of sexual misconduct, she had sung a different tune. Very quietly.
And more generally, we know most Democrats just effortlessly believed the decades-old, uncorroborated accusations against Kavanaugh, while struggling to pay any attention whatsoever to more substantiated charges made against Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison. Perhaps just as Republicans had no trouble buying into the accounts of abuse hurled at President Bill Clinton, but were not as quick to believe charges made against Alabama Judge Roy Moore . . . or Clarence Thomas . . . or the president.
Or Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Maine Senator Susan Collins not only contributed a key vote, she made a critical statement: “The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the ‘more likely than not’ standard.”
You see, that Brett Kavanaugh is male or white or Republican does not make him guilty. That he was accused does not make him guilty. It is not just in court, but in the world at large, that people should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
While there was a lack of corroboration for the charges of the other two women, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, those too deserved attention, just not the kind provided. It is more than just too bad that Senator Dianne Feinstein did not forward on the initial accusation letter from Professor Ford to the FBI during the initial bout of investigations. Had she done so, Ford’s confidential accusation, anyway, might have received the precise consideration it merited.
In the wake of this bitter partisan, political battle, let us hope altogether that the #MeToo Movement survives. Not as a political movement, but as a non-partisan movement of people sick of the level of sexual abuse and misconduct going on.
The first item on a post-Kavanaugh #MeToo Movement should be to end the congressional slush-fund for sexual harassment and discover exactly which politicians spent $17 million of our money to hide their misconduct.
Accusers must always be heard. And believed? When their specific cases warrant belief.
October 7, 2018