A Full Investigation Is Needed Into the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh

Over the weekend, details of serious charges of sexual assault alleged to have been committed by Judge Brett Kavanaugh became public, as did the name of the woman raising these allegations. In a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and in an interview with The Washington Post, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford described an incident in high school when she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party. 

Judge Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” he said in a statement on Monday.

These allegations, like all allegations of sexual misconduct, deserve to be taken seriously.  

Initially, Dr. Ford did not want her story to become public. She was afraid that doing so would “upend her life.” This is the reality women face within a culture that too often vilifies people who come forward. Already, she has reportedly received threatening emails and is the subject of vicious online trolls, cruel tweets, and mocking Instagram posts, including one by Donald Trump Jr. But according to her lawyer, Debra Katz, “She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth.”

It is critical that a confirmation vote be delayed until a thorough and transparent investigation can be conducted, including a hearing at which both Ford and Kavanaugh have an opportunity to testify under oath. The Senate cannot move forward with this lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land without considering the results of a fair, non-partisan, and complete process. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, he could sit on the Supreme Court for the next 40 years. This confirmation process is the only process he will ever go through. Now is the time for the allegations to be investigated and testimony to be heard.

This moment is eerily reminiscent of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in October 1991, in which Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her when they worked together at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She, too, was reluctant to come forward with the allegations and only did so after her name was leaked to the media. As we know all too well, her life was indeed upended. During the hearings, the all-white, all-male Judiciary Committee members tore her to shreds. Sen. Arlen Specter accused her of perjury. Sen. John Danforth called her mental health into question, suggesting she might have “erotomania,” a delusion that someone more powerful is in love with her. Sen. Alan Simpson remarked, “I’ve got statements from Tulsa saying: Watch out for this woman.” 

Although at times distressing to watch, the Thomas hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee played a pivotal role in awakening the public to the prevalence of sexual harassment, even at the highest echelons of power. That Hill’s allegations ultimately did not stop Thomas’s appointment to the court was a bitter pill to swallow, then and now. Yet, that outcome does not negate the value of her testimony. 

We are at a similar crossroads now as the Senate Judiciary Committee considers how to proceed in light of Dr. Ford’s allegations. We should understand more now, 27 years later, about the ways sexual assault and harassment cause lifelong harm — personally and professionally. We also are one year into the #MeToo movement, an explosion of anger and truth-telling about the ways sexual misconduct continues to shape women’s lives.

Dr. Ford may have been forced into the limelight against her will, just as Anita Hill was, but the treatment she receives should be different. She must be questioned fairly, not belittled or dismissed. As Ronald Klain, counsel to the Judiciary Committee during the Thomas hearings, has suggested, it may make sense to have trained lawyers lead the questioning, rather than leaving it to the politicians. But a fair process in which both sides are fully heard is in everyone’s interest — including, most importantly, the country’s, given the stakes.

It’s up to the Senate Judiciary Committee to get it right this time around.

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Captain America

Let's also investigate Christine Blasey Ford, and her need for three aliases. Does she have a criminal record? Is she cheating on her husband? Why does she use three aliases? And this so-called lie detector test she took was administered by an ex-FBI agent, not by the FBI. There's a big difference. Rogue tests can be doctored. Psychologists also know how to pass a lie detector, even when they're lying. There's something fishy about this whole scam, and the truth will come out.

Anonymous

After nine investigations into Hillary Clinton, which House Republican McCarthy says was done by the GOP to disqualify her for presidential office; plus the RNC Convention where the audience yelled "Lock her up," like at a recent Trump rally where he also pushed the crowd to say "lock her up." And of course, AG Sessions at a presentation where he encouraged the audience to chant "lock her up," too toward Hillary Clinton.

And so the truth is, you and your like-minded deplorables will do and say anything to push guilt on a woman for political purposes. WHERE WAS HER PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE?

Anonymous

There is nothing to investigate! I'm sure that alleged crime scene (if the "victim" can manage to remember where it is) hasn't sat there untouched for 35 years. Everything that may have contained evidence is long gone - bedding, clothing, the mattress (if they ever existed). The carpet has probably even be replaced and the walls painted a few times since then. Unless she's got a blue dress hanging in her closet there is no evidence to be had.

James M Rowe

I am the barometer of all fairness. These are my own comments on the subject. A senate confirmation hearing is about the approval or disapproval of the respective candidate for a particular office. This being the only context regardless of how much harassment awareness has arrived to forefront of society in recent years. I’m not political, think aligned with George Carlin’s opinions about politics. Liberal though and don’t care whether Kavanaugh gets appointed. Not easy to say however my being definitely is based upon fairness undoubtedly always. Why ought the Senate alter their methods of determining Kavanaugh’s suitability based on one person’s accusations of inappropriate behavior allegedly decades ago only because said alleged inappropriate behavior is presently at the forefront of our society? Not any more than asking Bill Clinton’s accusers to give testimony before a presidential debate or asking Monica Lewinsky to appear at Clinton’s own congressional impeachment heatings. A senate conformation ought not he a substitute for a trial which did not happen years ago and trained lawyers best saved for that purpose. Hope you didn’t at all mean they would testify and be present together at once. Furthermore definitely and truly hope that you didn’t mean these lawyers have the opportunity to ask Kavanaugh any questions. Explain how a soft kid gloves approach to having Ford testify might he better for everybody involved and the American people. Ford will say that he did something, Kavanaugh will say that he didn’t and refute all what she said. Absence of witnesses who definitely were there and no physical evidence then you must err on the side of Kavanaugh. Nobody being best served by doing anything you have proposed.

Dr. Timothy Leary

He made an alleged assault when he was a drunk teenager. Now it has come back to bite him in the buttocks.

Employment Law ...

Dr. Leary, you are correct that Ms. Ford is making an ALLEGED assault claim. But, then you stretch the nebulous statements proffered by Ms. Ford to FACTUALLY state say that Mr. Kavanaugh was “a drunk teenager”. Were you present when this ALLEGED incident occurred and can FACTUALLY testify that Mr. Kavanaugh was not only there, but was also “drunk”? In this case, ALLEGED means exactly what the term implies: a statement made under the color of truth, but has yet to be proven factually. So far, the only thing that is biting Mr. Kavanaugh in the buttocks are the claims, like yours, that stretch ALLEGED conduct into yet unsubstantiated factual behavior.

Anonymous

Then someone else, who wrote an article ADMITTING to doing pretty much the same thing, at around the same time, needs to be fully investigated too. The article is in the Standford Daily, dated 10 February 1992, and titled "So Much For Stealing Second".

Anonymous

The Senate Judiciary Committee is already acting like a group of trained lawyers in a courtroom -- each prosecuting or defending according to political party, with few acting like Senators seeking to assure themselves that the nominee to a lifelong appointment is indeed the best person for the job.

They decided before the first hearing, and none has made any attempt to learn anything new, only to score points.

We are in the beginning of the end, my friends. This is the way America falls -- corrupted from within. :-(

Anonymous

Without evidence there is no way they can assure themselves of anything. Without evidence all you can go on is your knowledge of each party, their reputation, and how credible the story sounds.

Anonymous

Especially when as much as 90% percent of Kavanaugh's professional legal documents has been withheld, including by President Trump for the documents that the Bush administration said were alright to review. This is unheard of. And grampa Grassley saying that some Democrats "withheld" documents on the accosting of a Kavanaugh's victim. It all backwards.

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