What about now?
Last week, as the fast-moving drama surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh unfolded, I asked whether his equally fast-moving confirmation process should be delayed.
Well, 60 percent of you said “yes”. Likely with the desire to hear out Professor Christine Blasey Ford on her allegations that Kavanaugh, as a drunken 17-year-old Georgetown Prep student, sexually assaulted her at a house party. She was 15 years old at the time.
But wait. That was last week. We now have what Republican supporters of Kavanaugh feared more than anything else: a second woman.
The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday night that Senate Democrats were investigating a second woman’s accusation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh dating to the 1983-84 academic year, Kavanaugh’s first at Yale University.
Just as he did with Ford, Kavanaugh has denied the new allegations.
With regard to Ford, he denied ever attending such a party. Although Mark Judge, his best friend at the time, has written a book (and more) implying how they used to get drunk and attend such parties on the regular. Judge, now a well-known “conservative,” has said he has “no recollection” of the party that Ford has mentioned. He also has no desire to repeat that statement under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As you can imagine, in the past week Ford has been vilified by Republicans and Kavanaugh supports, as well as lifted up by Democrats and supporters of the #MeToo movement.
Conspiracies abound. The biggest being that this is an attack on a good man engineered by the Democrats to keep the nation’s highest court from leaning too far right. (Denying President Donald Trump another victory is just icing on the cake.) That the Dems withheld this information for months (it was six or seven weeks) just so they could spring it at the last minute.
The latter is ludicrous, of course, given that Ford never wanted to have her name used when this was first brought to the attention of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Regardless of how the respected California professor came forward. She did. On the record.
So Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has spent a week walking a fine line between belittling Ford’s recollection of a traumatic teenage experience and trying to coax her (through her attorney) into testifying soonest before his committee.
The week was a news whirlwind. Grassley scheduling Ford to testify before talking to Ford about testifying. Ford insisting on an FBI investigation into her allegations before testifying. President Trump publicly questioning Ford’s allegations because she didn’t report it at the time. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell guaranteeing the Christian-conservative Family Research Council a Kavanaugh confirmation before either Ford or Kavanaugh has even testified. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican member of the committee, saying that Ford is likely “confused” and probably has “the wrong guy.”
Gee, why would anyone think that Ford wouldn’t get a fair hearing?
Anyway, by the end of the week, there were reports that Ford had come to an agreement to testify before the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. Kavanaugh would testify the same day.
But then came Sunday.
The New Yorker said 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez described a traumatic sexual assault incident in an interview after being contacted by the magazine. Ramirez recalled that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away, the magazine reported.
In a statement provided by the White House, Kavanaugh said the event “did not happen” and that the allegation was “a smear, plain and simple.” A White House spokeswoman added in a second statement that the allegation was “designed to tear down a good man.”
Again, this is the one thing that Republicans did not want to happen, One woman willing to testify that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her can possibly be dismissed. But two — well-educated and respected — women testifying denotes a possibly disturbing pattern and adds pressure for an investigation.
As one former prosecutor said on CNN last week: “In my experience, these types of incidents are not one-offs,” he said. “There is typically a pattern of behavior… that means there’s likely more than one.”
The irony is not lost on me that on Monday, a Pennsylvania judge would decide whether 81-year-old comedian Bill Cosby would be labeled a “sexually violent predator” for alleged incidents that took place 30-plus years ago. Cosby was found guilty by a jury on all three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. But make no mistake what one the case for prosecutors was the testimony of five other women that Cosby had done the same to them.
We must remember that there is no evidence beyond two women’s allegations that Kavanaugh has done anything wrong — so far.
But politics aside, it’s difficult to see how the Senate Judiciary Committee can push ahead with this confirmation process without allowing the FBI to investigate these specific allegations.
It’s not fair to Ford and Ramirez. It’s not fair to Kavanaugh. And it’s not fair to the American people.