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Column: Kavanaugh not suited for court

Posted: October 9, 2018 1:42 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2018 1:41 p.m.

I wrote this Wednesday, and updated it Friday, just as a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) inquiry into Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh ended, but not knowing whether Kavanaugh himself or President Donald Trump has withdrawn his name from consideration.

But it should.

I dare say it should have happened at the end of the Sept. 27 Senate hearing during which Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford -- who has accused him of sexually attacking her in 1982 -- testified and answered questions.

I believe Ford when she says she was sexually assaulted all those years ago. Is there some doubt it was Kavanaugh? There’s always doubt, but I do have a sick feeling he is responsible. We may never know. I found her to be credible, bravely reliving what must be absolutely the worst night of her life. Despite being terrified to testify, she calmly, though occasionally tearfully, read her statement and answered questions to the best of her ability. I’d like to see anyone do as well as she did under those circumstances.

Unfortunately, whether I believe Ford became almost irrelevant in the face of Kavanaugh’s behavior later that day. He proved that he does not have the temperament nor the ability to be “independent, not swayed by public or political pressure,” as, in his opening statement, he claimed he believes a federal judge must be.

That had already been disproved less than one minute earlier 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. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups,” followed by, “And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.”

Kavanaugh has already intimated that he will use his position on the highest court bench in the land to try to get “revenge” himself. That, alone, makes him unsuited to be elevated to the Supreme Court.

In both his opening statement and in answering questions, he practically boasted about how he likes beer. That, in and of itself, is immaterial. Lots of people enjoy drinking beer. However, at one point, he laments the idea that if “every American who drinks beer or every American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual assault, (it) will be an ugly, new place in this country.” This is a false fear. Drinking and committing sexual assault do not necessarily go hand-in-hand, and -- if he is half the judge he claims to be -- he should know that.

That’s not to say that people who get drunk don’t commit sexual assaults; some do. For him to claim America could go so far as to blame all people who drink beer for sexual assaults is, oh, I don’t know, the same as claiming all undocumented immigrants are violent criminals?

His behavior toward Sen. Amy Klobuchar, was absolutely deplorable, asking her if she had ever blacked out after drinking beers in response to her asking him the same question. He did apologize to her later, but the damage was done. If this is the way he’s going to behave during a Senate inquiry, how will he behave while listening to Supreme Court arguments with which he doesn’t agree?

At many points during his opening statement and when answering questions, Kavanaugh seemed belligerent, combative and evasive, especially on whether or not he would welcome the FBI’s investigation. Frankly, he came across as an entitled spoiled brat who’s been accused of knocking over a vase and claiming his brother actually did it.

I’ll grant that this entire episode has damaged his reputation and harmed his family. However, you can passionately defend yourself and lament the way you and your family have been treated without acting the way Kavanaugh did. A firm statement unequivocally denying the allegation, calmly -- but leaving no doubt that you are, understandably, upset -- explaining the effects of the allegations on yourself and your family, and answering questions without being evasive in any way, would have been the way to go.

Saying he was sorry for whatever Ford went through would have gone a long way to making him seem a little less the brat and a little more a decent human being. But he never did. All he did was concede that she may have been sexually assaulted at some point in time, by someone.

There’s every chance Brett Kavanaugh has been a good and decent judge up to this point. He also has a lot of support from women who reportedly knew him at various points in his life. That doesn’t mean they truly knew him. That also doesn’t mean they’re wrong; I grant that.

That still doesn’t negate the abhorrent behavior he displayed on Sept. 27 -- behavior I believe makes him completely unsuited to be a Supreme Court justice. Kavanaugh should either withdraw his name from consideration, or the president should. Unfortunately, I don’t think either one of them has the humility to do so.


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