The successful appointment of Brett Kavanaugh has created another tear in the fabric of America with the right maintaining that Democrats conspired to destroy the man and Democrats frustrated by the lack of a thorough investigation and Kavanaugh’s obligations to Donald Trump.
The allegations against Kavanaugh are serious. The limited investigation did not prove either side beyond doubt. We will, in all likelihood, never know exactly what happened.
As a woman, however, I do not believe that any woman would take allegations of sexual assault to the media, let alone Congress, without an extremely compelling reason. Christine Blasey Ford felt that she was called as an American to tell her story. She stood to gain nothing in return. It was a grueling, painful experience to testify about a traumatic and humiliating event. Some facts were lost to the years about the disturbing nature of the event, but I believed her. Something terrible happened to this woman.
The attitude of Mr. Kavanaugh and right wing senators who participated in the questioning was disturbing. The senators seemed angry that serious questions were asked of the nominee and bullied to make their point. The venom in Lindsey Graham’s voice was shocking.
Some viewed the questioning of Kavanaugh as an attack on men and a threat that any man might be accused of sexual impropriety. This casts women as the villains and excuses those who attack them. A Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of women had experienced sexual harassment or more. The majority of women have been disrespected and minimized by a man. On the other side, an extremely small percentage of men have ever been accused of any impropriety.
Kavanaugh, himself, displayed his own sense of political victimhood. He interrupted and insulted questioners. He was angry and venomous and the weeping was beyond the pale. It might have been understandable from Blasey Ford in describing a traumatic event but Kavanaugh seemed like a child who had been denied getting his way. His extreme lack of self-control was unbecoming. His behavior shows a stunning lack of judicial temperament.
Hearings and testimony are required of every federal judge as a means of determining the likelihood of an individual to be a fair, unbiased arbiter of issues that might come before the court. Non-partisanship is critical to maintain the separation of power required in a democratic republic. Kavanaugh owes Donald Trump and Republicans for his rushed appointment.
Limits on the length and scope of the investigation established by the president or either party threaten the balance of power in America. Federal court appointments are made by the executive branch and investigated and confirmed by the legislative branch. The blurring of the lines between the two branches threatens the balance and confidence in the court.
We are unlikely to ever know what happened at a party years ago. My take on the hearings is that I will always believe that something traumatic happened to Blasey Ford, that by his own testimony, Kavanaugh loves beer and that our Supreme Court should be better than this.
Jane Gies is a Leavenworth Times columnist.