If there is one news story that whips the media into a frenzy, it is a sexual assault case. We have seen this over and over again especially when the parties involved are celebrities or prominent people. Last Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh vs Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was no exception.
Unlike other sexual assault cases that get a criminal investigation and end up in the court of law, the Kavanaugh vs Ford case has not reached that stage and probably never will. What the public learned from this case came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Friday. And what little we learned was clouded by a partisan committee where the Democrats wanted an FBI investigation and the Republicans giving every reason why that was not necessary.
From the beginning of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing it was nothing more than another partisan political charade. The Republicans and White House did not release all his legal writings and they were not interested in knowing the truth about the sexual assault accusations against the highly touted judge. The Democrats on the other hand wanted to expose what they see as Kavanaugh’s controversial legal opinions and the sexual allegations that have been leveled against him.
With the sexual assault hearing, the Republicans protected themselves from not wanting to appear insensitive in their questioning of Dr. Ford. So, they hired Rachel Mitchell – an Arizona prosecutor – to do their job. The plan was that she would also question Judge Kavanaugh which she started to do but did not get too far in this process. The senator Trump called little Lindsey Graham during the 2016 campaign, reclaimed his time and unleashed a tirade of angry comments defending the judge.
It would be a gross understatement to say that Judge Kavanaugh’s performance in the Senate Judiciary committee hearing was deplorable, disrespectful, and arrogant. What was shocking and disturbing about his behavior is that he is a federal judge who is seeking to be a justice on the Supreme Court.
Judges are supposed to have a temperament that reflects wisdom, understanding, and patience. Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated none of these qualities during his emotional and at times political tirade.
Just imagine an accused man facing Judge Kavanaugh in his court and behaving like he did. He certainly would not tolerate such behavior and no doubt would charge him for contempt of court. Nevertheless, he thought he could do this in the hearing presumable because he feels privileged and detests the democratic senators whom he chastised when he said,
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, revenge on behalf of the Clintons.
What was even disturbing is that the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by the Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley tolerated Kavanaugh’s behavior. Not one of the Republican senators tried to calm down the emotional and immature Kavanaugh or asked him to be more respectful. They allowed him to reveal his lack of maturity and decorum and behaving like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum.
Judge Kavanaugh’s performance in his response to Dr. Ford’s alleged sexual assault claim was an Oscar winning performance. A performance in which he played the role of multiple characters: an angry man, a victim, a political hack, a petulant teenager, and an emotionally disturbed man. In these roles, he tried to convince the senators that he was not the person he was made out to be in his high school and Yale University years. His assertion that he was just a high school teenager who drank beer for fun and was a virgin throughout high school and well into his college years at Yale raises some skepticism.
Whether or not Judge Kavanaugh has an anger problem or is/was a binge drinker and a sexual predator, he certainly revealed a Dr. Jekyll and Hyde personality. His many facial expressions depicting a mask for each face made him look like a man with multiple personalities. Often times he was on the verge of tears, sometimes he seemed charming, other times a man with some weird mannerism like swirling his tongue in his cheek, and showing disrespect to democratic senators by asking them personal questions.
The circus performance in the senate hearing of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh ended when Republican Sen. Jeff Flake being cornered earlier by an impassioned woman to do something, called for an FBI investigation. This forced the committee to call off their vote and eventually the White House calling for a supplemental background check on Judge Kavanaugh.
Unless the FBI investigation reveals strong evidence that points to Kavanaugh doing what Dr. Ford alleged he did to her, he has no choice but to withdraw because it is not likely that he would be confirmed – even in a rancorous partisan Congress. And if the FBI failed to find any evidence supporting Dr. Ford’s allegations, it is highly likely he would be confirmed.
With or without the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and with a Congress that is objective and nonpartisan, his chances of confirmation would be slim. After all he has revealed a lack of the temperament, maturity, and character that make him unsuitable to be a supreme court justice. And this does not factor in his controversial opinions on Wade v Roe and his view on executive power. On the latter, he wrote,
I believe that the president should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office. We should not burden a sitting president with civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions.
This view is why many democrats and others believe that Trump selected him as his nominee for the justice on the supreme court.
With the political landscape badly eroded from the Russian meddling in the US democratic process, and the country being divided by political tribalism, the Kavanaugh confirmation process adds to these problems. Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination from the beginning was mired in controversy and whether he is confirmed or not, the political partisanship will only get worse.