I have not shied from voicing my displeasure toward the Republican Party as of late. Too often in the past they’ve taken the moral high ground, particularly during the Clinton administration (where we discussed the President’s sex life for 2 full years), only to smack themselves with hypocrisy once one of their own fails to adhere to the moral code they prescribe.
We have witnessed this most recently in the case of Brett Kavanaugh. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford claims he forced himself on her during a party they both attended in high school when Kavanaugh was 17 and Dr. Blasey Ford was 15. Dr. Blasey Ford is a credible person with nothing to gain by coming forward, except the threats of violence that forced her and her family to leave their home and hire a security detail. #MeToo era aside, if there is even an ounce of credibility to claims of sexual assault and rape against a Supreme Court nominee, it must be investigated. Justices have life appointments and shape the direction of our country more so arguably than any other politician or political appointee. There is a compelling interest in ensuring they abide by a certain moral code and are law-abiding citizens, even at the age of 17.
We not talking about teenage drinking or some misdemeanor crime either. At issue is sexual assault and attempted rape, crimes that are felonies at the state level. Regardless of age, anyone who exhibits such active disrespect and indifference toward another person and their body does not belong in the judiciary’s highest office, one that prides itself on integrity and justice.
Am I saying that Kavanaugh is guilty? No. We should presume his innocence until proven otherwise, but in order to determine his guilt, Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims must be investigated. Calls for an FBI investigation may be overblown as this is a state law matter, the statue of limitations has run, and there is little to no potential of charging Kavanaugh with a crime.
With that said, however, when considering his nomination, Senators should weigh the evidence supporting Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims not under the standard burden of proof in criminal law (beyond reasonable doubt), but in the context of civil law (by a preponderance of the evidence). The Senate Judiciary Committee is not trying to determine whether to prosecute Kavanaugh, but instead assessing his moral character and whether he is fit to sit on the highest bench in the land. Accordingly, if under the civil standard, the Committee determines that it is more likely than not that Kavanaugh committed this heinous act, there is only one justifiable conclusion – voting against his confirmation. Any other decision would be purely political and an affront to justice and women everywhere.
Unfortunately, from the moment we heard Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims, the entire saga has been nothing but political. Senate Republicans and Donald Trump have displayed some of the most disgusting hypocrisy when considering whether to investigate. For a political party that supported Roy Moore’s candidacy though, what did we expect?
Of course, Republicans did not mind holding off consideration for months of Obama’s lame duck Supreme Court nominee (Merrick Garland), even though he had impeccable credentials and no red flags. Yet when a woman accuses a Republican Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault and attempted rape, the attempts to undermine her claims and to expedite an already half-assed investigated could not be more apparent. So it’s acceptable to stall on confirming an otherwise legitimate nominee, but we’re unable to investigate allegations of sexual assault in order to confirm someone before pivotal midterm elections?
Donald Trump even weighed in as the erudite scholar on women’s issues that he is by stating on Twitter: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”
Many of the same Republicans who for years took the moral high ground against Bill Clinton, have argued that Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims are simply a case of mistaken identity. This is a politically convenient explanation as it does not question whether the event actually occurred, only that Kavanaugh is not at fault.
As Orrin Hatch described, he believes that there’s “some question” whether Dr. Blasey Ford is “mixed up” and confusing Kavanaugh with someone else. Instead of diligently investigating whether that’s true, Hatch would instead prefer to trust Kavanaugh because, as he said, “The judge who I know very, very well, is an honest man, said this didn’t happen.”
You can bet Republicans would be standing in line to question and interrogate any Democrat accused of similar crimes. With a panel full of men, including three surviving members from the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings from 1991, set to question Dr. Blasey Ford on Thursday of this week, the social media fueled spectacle promises to be rife with GOP hypocrisy, which has become all too normal in the age of Trump.