Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Ford - Kavanaugh Debate is Over the Supreme Court - Not Sexual Harassment

The Ford-Kavanaugh is not about domestic violence. The debate is neither about Dr. Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh. Sexual harassment is dominating the media coverage. The partisans recognize it’s about the future of the Supreme Court. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a proxy or surrogate to stop the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, a conservative jurist, to the Court. Her claims provide the leverage previously lacking to reject the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. Women are widespread victims of sexual assaults, domestic violence, harassment, and a multitude of various forms of discrimination. Racism and sexism persist. The #MeToo Movement opened the door for many women to come forward. The accused in the entertainment, media, and academic sectors were often prominent. The cloak of silence was broken. But not every claim is valid or verifiable. The Duke Lacrosse Team, Rolling Stone Magazine and the University of Virginia, and several false claims of rape, racism and sexism illustrate this reality. Just because you believe it, or it’s believable, doesn’t make it true. Victims have several choices: 1) Report the crime to the authorities; 2) File a civil lawsuit; 3) Seek counseling; 4) Discuss it with family and friends; 5) Post on-line today 6) Stay silent and internalize it. Dr. Ford apparently chose to keep it in her until 2012 when she and her husband went to couples counseling. Contemporaneous corroboration is lacking in Dr. Ford’s story. The reality of Deborah Ramirez’s story is even doubtful. She came forward “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.” She admitted to being inebriated, on the “floor, foggy, and slurring her words.” There’s gaps in her memory. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in paragraph 10 of their New Yorker article admitted “has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was at the party.” The New York Times also failed to confirm the story. To quote Gertrude Stein: “There is no there, there.” Be that as it may, Dr. Ford is now the catalyst, proxy and representative of the multitudes of victims. Dr. Ford has become their symbol and exemplar. Harvey Weinstein was a sleaze bucket for decades. Brett Kavanaugh is a poster child of the elite, apparently perfect in every way. The judge was allegedly a spoiled preppie, reported to imbibe, in high school. Alcohol and drugs are all too common in our schools. That doesn’t make him guilty. Many times the facts unascertainable. That may well be the case with Dr. Ford’s allegations. To quote Sergeant Joe Friday in Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” We will not know without reliable corroboration or forensic evidence if the harassment occurred. Is it possible that the incident occurred as Dr. Ford has related? Yes. Is it possible that Judge Kavanaugh’s denials are accurate? Yes. Is it possible both are telling the truth, as they believe it? Yes Memories are both amazing and often unreliable over the passage of time. We cannot be certain if Dr. Ford’s recollection is accurate. She says she can’t remember many details of the incident, including the year, location, and how she got there and back. She may have misidentified her attacker. We cannot be certain if Judge Kavanaugh’s memory is accurate. The incident may have been clouded by alcohol or he has blocked it out. The memories of the other attendees at the house where the alleged incident occurred may also be unreliable. They have all denied it, often under penalty of perjury. She says she has gaps in her memory and told others she wasn't sure Brett Kavanaugh was the culprit. Both protagonists may legitimately believe themselves. Judge Ford may have been a saint most of his life, but he is human. It is possible that he engaged in such an act in high school while under the influence of alcohol. He may not remember if it had occurred. “Possible” is not evidence, proof, fact, or truth. Similarly, the memories of the others who were claimed to have been present may be flawed. The reality is that we will probably never know over the passage of time what may or may not have occurred 3½ decades ago. Yet we have to decide. Unverifiable, uncorroborated, witnessed, unreliable. Remember, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on July 10 on CBS that he would do everything in his power to block the nomination. Ignore the rhetoric and histrionics. The Senate Democrats don't really believe the accusations, but they believe in stopping the nomination. Those who abhor President Trump will believe the worst of Judge Kavanaugh. The fact that recent polls show most Americans now oppose his nomination is a sad statement of the Rule of Law upon which our nation depends. Many Democrats and progressives have jumped on the accusation to derail the nomination. It doesn’t matter to many if the charges are correct or incorrect, if Judge Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent. The Supreme Court is at stake. Wishing it were true doesn’t make it true. Hoping it is true doesn’t make it true. Projecting one’s own victimhood onto Dr. Ford doesn’t make it true. We have rules of evidence and concepts of due process and statutes of limitation that preclude judicial litigation in cases of this nature. This though is not a court of law, but the court of public opinion. It is a raw political battle over the future of the Supreme Court. Yes, it’s about Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion. It’s more though. It is about the continuation of 6½ decades of progressive judicial legislation, going back to the Warren Court continuing through Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Taylor and Obergefell v. Hodges. It’s about the Progressive Agenda which is pushed through activist courts when legislatures balk. The Constitution provides for amendments. They gave us the Bill of Rights, ended slavery, bestowed the right to vote on African Americans and women, lowered the voting age to 18, ended the Poll Tax and gave us the income tax. Judicial legislation negates the need to amend the Constitution. The current Court is split 4:4 with Justice Kennedy usually voting conservative but was the swing vote on environmental and social issues. It is believed that a Justice Kavanaugh will be solidly conservative on the bench. It’s more though; It’s the Rule of Law versus a Living Constitution, an evolving Constitution which negates some of the fundamental principles which protect our rights.

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