The Kavanaugh confirmation hearing

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, September 30th, 2018 - 63 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, feminism, International, Politics, sexism, us politics - Tags: ,

Like political junkies throughout the world I watched some of the approval hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday.

Blame it on my three decades in law or my confessed left wing bias but I could not help but notice the stark contrast in the two competing stories.

First there was the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.  Her testimony casts doubt on Kavanaugh’s suitability for holding one of the most important judicial positions in the United States because when they were young he had sexually assaulted her.

Sure they were young and it was at school but the assault was serious and has left a life long effect on her.

She was a reluctant complainant, she had allowed her complaint to go public but for her identity to be anonymous. That way it would have almost inevitably carried insufficient weight to stop the Republicans appointing him.

But her identity became public and she then decided to testify.

From CNN:

A woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct more than 30 years ago came forward publicly Sunday, detailing her allegations about the Supreme Court nominee in an interview with The Washington Post.

The paper said Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, reached out to the Post in July as Kavanaugh’s name appeared on short lists to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, but she opted not to speak with the Post on the record for weeks. As her private outreach to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein became public over the past week, she decided to go ahead and speak out herself, Sunday’s report said.

“Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation,” Ford told the Post.

It was not a recent invention. For instance she had confided to her counsellor and husband in 2012 that the attack had happened.  Back then it was completely private.  She did not want to say it publicly unless the need to do so was absolutely compelling.

And she did not want to go public.  Funny but victims of sexual assaults tend to want to not have their details broadcast publicly.

But her evidence was utterly compelling.  Straight to the point, clear, concise and damning.

Then Brett Kavaunagh testified.  Kauvanagh must have never run a case before. His shouty insistence that he was innocent backed up by some Republican senators who should know better was really painful to watch.

He admitted liking beer, too much beer, but said that he never had a black out.  He said that he and his friends abided by the recommended alcohol consumption for driving.  As if.

He refused to answer questions and his shouty indignation was a real turn off.  Clearly he has something to hide.

The overwhelming impression was that he was living in some sort of Animal House frat house.

This highlights video captures the contrast very well.

The Republican response was interesting.  They had hired a female lawyer to ask all the questions.  Then part way through they ditched this and started to ask questions themselves which were belligerent defences of Kauvanaugh.  They were clearly rattled by what they had witnessed.

And they miss the point. This was a hearing to determine whether or not Kauvanaugh should be the next member of the Supreme Court, not whether or not he is guilty of the allegation. The decision should be a risk free one.  Candidates should have the highest moral and ethical qualities.  No doubt at some stage the Court will have to deal with cases involving treatment of minors, or how juveniles under the influence of beer should be treated if they then commit offences, or how historical allegations of sexual assault and attempted rape should be handled.  This is why this hearing is important.

The Republicans have delayed the hearing for a week to allow the FBI to investiage the claims not only of Blasey Ford but also of others who have also complained about Kauvanaugh’s behaviour.  It is only for a short time and it probably gives wavering REpublicans the cover to then vote yes.  Unless something startling appears.  But a week will not be long enough.

And if you want an early winner of the Internet thingy of the year, here it is.

 

63 comments on “The Kavanaugh confirmation hearing”

  1. JessNZ 1

    Kavanaugh’s testimony was insulting.
    1. (Unlike Ford) All of his answers were clearly rehearsed to avoid any truth accidentally spilling out. When a question got really specific and tough, he ignored it, made a speech, or attacked the questioner in way that totally disrespected the process and his role in it, and sometimes all three.
    2. He pledged to DKE – the ‘No means yes, yes means anal’ fraternity boys. Yet not only did he flatly deny any participation in any abuse ever in his life, he was never even at any parties where anything like that happened. RIIIIGHT. Of course:

    “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.” Funny that hilarious joke didn’t come out at the hearings to show how long he’s been suppressing shameful stories.

    I also hope there are folks at the FBI who have been revving their engines for weeks ready to investigate all the connections that the partisan committee has been ignoring.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/18/kavanaugh-what-happens-geogetown-prep-828420

  2. Siobhan 2

    Not to take away from this in any way, it is important, and it is something, but I’ll feel alot happier when we can have a working class woman with a life of struggle and unfortunate circumstances be taken seriously on the stand in rape cases. Especially against a powerful male. It would be interesting to see how the New York v. Strauss-Kahn case would play out now.

    My one hope is that trickle down feminism delivers better results for the masses on this issue than its track record would suggest.

  3. Cinny 3

    Have been following this with great interest. Holding back on an informed opinion until after they delivered their testimonies.

    Opinion so far…..

    Regardless of whether he did it or not, he will deny it until the grave. If he’s guilty it’s not like he’s going to turn around and say, yeah I was a drunk dick head and messed up.

    Another thought was….. could he have been so wasted at the time that he didn’t remember details? Let’s face it, many of us have had some very drunk moments in our late teens, where we can’t remember the night before.

    As well how many of us knows someone who is a nice person but when they drink they turn into the biggest arsehole on the planet. You know the type, the one that doesn’t carry the guilt because the night before ended up being a black out that they can’t remember.

    However… ‘beach week’ say’s it all.

    Re his testimony he continued to play the sympathy cards, talking about his wife and daughters.

    It doesn’t matter who he has become, what matters is what he was accused of doing all those years ago. Watching him made me wonder if he would be even able to control his emotions to make a sound decision if he was on the supreme court, should a case come up that he feels emotive about.

    Fords testimony spoke volumes, if one has ever been a ‘survivor’ of a sexual assault, you will understand. It’s not something one forgets, neither is the assaulter, one carries that with them, for life.

    Kavanaugh should just walk away from his nomination, but maybe his quest for fame/fortune and ego inflation is too much for him to do so.

    PS… Love that little twitter meme/clip at the end, brilliant work by the creator.

  4. ianmac 4

    Ford spoke quietly sincerely about her recollection. (Though memories are tricky.)

    Kavanagh Shouty, aggressive, self piteous, avoids answering questions, sarcastic and very emotional.

    They are asking what would have happened had it been Ford who behaved thus? Laughed at? Emotional women can’t be trusted? Not credible?
    How come men are allowed to blow up and and then be admired for their righteous anger?

    • Cinny 4.1

      Exactly Ian, if she had become shouty and angry, the media etc would have slayed her. And if she is emotional and upset, she still get’s slayed.

      But it’s ok for him to yell and be angry as well as be emotional and teary, he’s got so much more to lose than her. I suspect his tears were tears of sadness and shame for being caught out.

  5. veutoviper 5

    Here is an interesting Washington Post article (just an hour ago?) where it seems that the FBI are on the job already and are interviewing quite a few people, some of whom are women with similar experiences with Kavanaugh. Others are male friends of Kavanaugh who are not supporting him per se, but instead are sitting on the fence and “cannot recall” …

    https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/fbi-reaches-out-to-second-woman-who-has-accused-brett-kavanaugh-of-sexual-misconduct/ar-BBNIwid

  6. AB 6

    Kavanaugh is clearly a political operative selected as a reliable hired hand to deliver what the Republican Party’s donors want. Not just a reversal of Roe v Wade, but legalising Republican tactics of working class voter suppression, removal of the right of governments to regulate on the environment, labour laws, etc.
    It is likely that there are numerous women who are not coming forward but are sitting on stories about his behaviour.
    The sickly façade of religious faith and ‘family’ plastered over a deeply immoral and repellent political ideology, and a predilection for assaulting women, is absolutely typical and unsurprising.

    The Constitution is completely absurd on this matter – why are judges not appointed by their peers instead of the President, and why is there not a fixed term length and a fixed retirement age?

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      yes the constitution says its a lifetime appointment. But until say the 1970s many Scotus judges would quit long before they got too old. back then I think the work load was far higher than now.

      The answer is what they already use in lower federal courts is called Senior status, which mostly means they become part timers.
      As the Supreme court for alsmot all cases has major decisions done on a full bench, having a semi retired judge might not work that well.
      The answer to that is the recently ‘retired’ Anthony Kennedy hasnt totally retired as he has indicated he will continue to work as a ‘senior judge’ on one of the Federal Appeals courts – the next step down in the court ladder. The same happened for the previous retired Judge Souter- he sometimes sits on a Boston Appeals Court cases. Sandra Day O’Connor before that did the same.

      That seems to be the answer to the constitutions lifetime provision, they become senior judges at say 75 and then semi retire to an appeals court of their choosing.

    • Macro 6.2

      why are judges not appointed by their peers instead of the President, and why is there not a fixed term length and a fixed retirement age?

      QFT
      This current abomination of natural justice is typical of an outmoded “democratic” constitution which has long outlived it’s use by date.
      There are now women who are are being separated from their families for the crime of voting, others are being disenfranchised as fast as the legislators can enact restrictions. A vote in California is worth 1/85th of the vote in Iowa, and in a recent Texas council election only 6% of people voted.
      The US has long since given up on being a free and democratic country.

  7. That video at the end is the Best – love it.

    Yep truth verses lies – so easy to spot. And yep micky as a job interview or assessment of character it must go down as a major fail for brett lol – yet it won’t be spun like that by some.

  8. Ross 8

    Similar accusations were made by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas in 1991. Thomas was also nominated for the Supreme Court. I’ve no dubt that similar accusations will be made in the future about Supreme Court nominees.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Thomas

  9. Cinny 9

    Kudos Mr Booker, well said indeed.

  10. Ross 10

    The Republicans have delayed the hearing for a week to allow the FBI to investiage the claims not only of Blasey Ford but also of others who have also complained about Kauvanaugh’s behaviour.

    Except the FBI doesn’t make decisions or reach conclusions re sexual assault allegations. The Democrats have previously made that crystal clear. This is what Joe Biden said about the Thomas nomination:

    “The next person who refers to an FBI report as being worth anything obviously doesn’t understand anything. FBI explicitly does not, in this case or any other case, reach a conclusion, period. PERIOD.”

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/09/25/biden_1991_fbi_do_not_reach_conclusions_when_investigating_sexual_misconduct.html

  11. Good read this

    That’s language Brett Kavanaugh could get behind. For he embodies this dominant strain of our current politics. No matter that he’s a judge: for him, an angry man who opposed an investigation of the facts and full legal process should be heard ahead of a woman eager for the facts to be known. In that dismal sense, truly, Kavanaugh is a man of our time.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/29/brett-kavanaugh-insidious-force-global-politics-toxic-masculinity

  12. Bill 12

    This was a hearing to determine whether or not Kauvanaugh should be the next member of the Supreme Court, not whether or not he is guilty of the allegation.

    Okay. So going on that basis – that guilt or innocence is incidental – wouldn’t a repentant Kauvanaugh have done whatever he could to avoid Ford having to be put through the mill?

    And if he didn’t do what she says, then wouldn’t he attempt to extend a degree of compassion and empathy to her damaged humanity?

    His utter lack of humility, roaring sense entitlement and homily riddled “concern” are, on their own and regardless of what transpired in his youth, more than enough to suggest he shouldn’t be appointed.

    But then, structures that endow entitlement and privilege aren’t exactly renowned for promoting, rewarding or curating desirable human traits…

    • adam 12.1

      It was all a bit ugly.

      Kauvanaugh let his privilege really shine through.

      What the old adage about the working class and the Upper class having nothing in common – I think Kauvanaugh went a long, long way in proving that. The rich and privileged live in a different world.

  13. Sacha 13

    Why are the Repugs pushing Kavanaugh through, you ask? Because he is needed on the Supreme Court bench for a ruling in a few weeks to defuse state-level prosecutions of Chump’s enablers.

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/9/28/1799636/-Brett-Kavanaugh-and-Gamble-vs-U-S-No-17-646

    • Andre 13.1

      I thought Repugs were generally pretty big on states rights.

      Oh wait … that might become a wee bit inconvenient … now I get it.

  14. chris73 14

    Ben Shapiros take on it

    • JessNZ 14.1

      I didn’t know who Ben Shapiro was before. Now I do. I don’t feel improved for it.

      https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ben_Shapiro

      • Andre 14.1.1

        Credit where it’s due – when he called the now-PEEOTUS a “turd tornado” in a live TV interview, he made the world a slightly better place. Just a tiny bit, and for only a brief moment, but still …

      • shadrach 14.1.2

        Don’t rely on Rational Wiki as your source. Shapiro is sharp, very sharp. But his politics are of the right wing conservative variety, so if that offends you, hold on to your hat.

      • Alex 14.1.3

        I didn’t know what rational wiki was before. Now I do. I don’t feel improved for it.

      • lprent 14.1.4

        Looks like a fool who never bothered to learn much, and mostly what he learnt was how not to learn.

        I presume he is like Farrar. A parasite more used to spinning words than actually working.

      • joe90 14.1.5

        Cracker put-down.

        The encouraging news is that if Ben Shapiro is the sharpest thinker among millennial conservatives, millennial leftists don’t have too much to worry about. You may feel as if Shapiro is a Vaporizer of Poor Logic, the Aristotle of our time. You may feel as if he has brutally torn apart every person who has crossed him in public, through his tried and tested technique of speaking extremely quickly until they give up. You may feel that he is brilliant and thoughtful and sincere.

        But before you treat these feelings as real, remember that annoying little fact about facts: They don’t really care how you feel.

        https://static.currentaffairs.org/2017/12/the-cool-kids-philosopher

    • Morrissey 14.2

      That’s almost as lame as “Mike Hosking’s take on it.”

      By the way, Hosking will be gutted at the sentence handed out to Bill Cosby, whom he admired greatly.

    • Gabby 14.3

      Is that kav’s kumfasse chrissy?

    • Incognito 14.4

      But what’s your take on it? In your own words, and it your own time – YouTube clip is optional.

      • chris73 14.4.1

        If, as Ben suggests, the reason the Democrats want an investigation is so that the position remains vacant long enough for the democrats to get back in to put their own person in then its a political hit job especially given how long the democrats sat on this for and now it was leaked to the media and no one knows how

        On the other hand if what the alleged victim says is true then thats not good either so I guess I have to say I’m glad NZ doesn’t conduct itself like this

        • McFlock 14.4.1.1

          Maybe it’s just chickens coming home to roost for the repugs.

          It seems to me that they put forward a massive jerk on the basis that he was a social conservative and likely to vote that a president couldn’t be indicted. And when you put forward a massive jerk for an extremely high-profile, important, and irrevocable job for life, chances are that the jerk didn’t suddenly become a jerk overnight. Skeletons come out of closets.

          I believe the women. But even if I doubted their accuracy, this jerk’s defensive equivocation over drinking, possible perjury in previous hearings, and ranting testimony quite frankly do not fit in with the job of being one of the highest judges in the land for the rest of his life.

        • Andre 14.4.1.2

          What on earth would give Shapiro the idea to keep the seat open until the other side could fill it? Could his inspiration possibly be the Repugs ignoring their their constitutional obligations and oaths to refuse Merrick Garland even just a hearing? Who, by the way, was a thoughtful, moderate, independent-minded jurist who could be counted on to decide according to the merits rather than politics. And was originally recommended to Obama as someone the Repugs could support, back before the Repugs got a Senate majority.

          Maybe the Dems are giving Kavanaugh a hard time because Kavanaugh has a gambling problem he’s lied about. He’s lied about his drinking problems. He’s been wilfully misleading under oath about his role in handling stolen Democratic info used for dirty politics. And now it seems he has a sexual assault history he’s also lying about, under oath. Kavanaugh’s only apparent appeal for the position appears to be that he’s an utterless shameless nakedly partisan political hack.

          Neil Gorsuch didn’t have the problems getting confirmed that Kavanaugh is having, because Gorsuch doesn’t have the history of lying, drinking, gambling and sex assaults that Kavanaugh apparently has.

        • lprent 14.4.1.3

          *sigh* They could simply just get another candidate. This one appears to have undisclosed skeletons on their past. Plus it was pretty clear in the latest hearing that he is a self-entitled hack with anger issues and partisan non-judicial attitudes.

          He acts less like a person applying for a job, and more like a 53 year old frat brat being deprived of his expected toys. I can see why Donald Trump likes him.

          But really the same criteria that the republicans claimed to support when it was the Garland nomination should apply now.

          It is close to an election – they should let the voters decide eh?

          If voters decide to change the balance in the US senate (as well as the house), then only a moderate judge will get through.

  15. Macro 15

    Saturday Night Live’s take on it 😂

  16. instauration 16

    Not many facts are rendered from either testimony.
    Facts – selected, ignored or “alternative” (i.e. unselected ) are important – unless you propose a “(#)PostProofWorld”

  17. NZJester 17

    His testimony about what the meaning of what was written in his yearbook was more telling. He was straight up lying when questioned over the meaning of what was written on the pages of his yearbook.
    He tried to tell them that Boofed referred to flatulence instead of having sex and then there was his trying to explain away Devil’s Triangle as something innocent as well even though at the time it was a well-known phrase for two guys double teaming one girl in a sexual way.

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