At one point in his testimony, the following dialogue between Brett Kavanaugh and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senator, occurred:
WHITEHOUSE: Did it relate to alcohol? You haven’t answered that.
KAVANAUGH: I like beer. I like beer. I don’t know if you do…
KAVANAUGH: … do you like beer, Senator, or not?
WHITEHOUSE: Um, next…
KAVANAUGH: What do you like to drink?
Brett Kavanaugh’s rushed FBI investigation, uncleared sexual assault allegations, lies under oath, and intemperate nature points to the conclusion that he should not have been confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.
Even before considering the validity of the sexual assault allegations made against Kavanaugh, I see an immediate issue with the FBI investigation that took place. The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee requested for President Trump to reopen its background investigation into the sexual assault allegations. President Trump agreed, but ordered strict limitations on the nature of the investigation. The White House gave the FBI only one week to complete its assigned task and review all claims. In addition, the White House set restrictions on who the FBI could interview. NBC News reported on September 29th that heavy limitations had been set on interviewing Mark Judge, who was allegedly also in the room the night of Ford’s sexual assault. Although President Trump denied the existence of such restrictions, it was confirmed by The New York Times on September 30 that they were still indeed in effect, and the incredibly short span of time that was allotted inevitably led to a longer list of witnesses who were not interviewed than were.
Thus, I believe the FBI investigation was inadequate, rushed and compromised, especially for the inspection of an issue as grave as sexual assault. More time should have been allotted and more attention given to the allegations.
The hurried nature of the investigation and the entire confirmation process itself speaks to a deeper irresponsibility on the part of Congress. There was an alarming amount of secrecy surrounding Kavanaugh’s past record, and the fact that the final vote completely came down to partisan lines only heightens my fear that his confirmation process was influenced by partisans who simply wanted to see him on the Supreme Court, regardless of his integrity.
This leads me to my next concern – the actual sexual assault allegations themselves. Three women stepped forward with accusations that Kavanaugh committed assault as a young high school and college student. I do not believe that they should automatically be believed without the presence of solid, undeniable evidence. Yet as a teenage girl incredibly passionate about the issue of sexual assault, I know that 1 in 3 women around the world are sexually assaulted according to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. And I know that it is unspeakably difficult for victims of sexual assault to even acknowledge that they have been sexually assaulted, let alone risk their own safety to come forward about it in front of the whole nation.
Some people accused Ford of lying because she “conveniently forgot” to come forward about Kavanaugh until right before his confirmation. But they don’t understand how hard it is for women to admit that they have been assaulted, how much trauma and pain it can bring to relive those memories, especially in a world that threatens to kill Ford and defends Kavanaugh just because he is a federal judge. Despite the surge of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, rape culture still very much exists, and women all over the world, including Ford, are simply not believed when they speak their truths. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than 90% of college girls don’t report to the authorities. Why? Because society asks the girls what they were wearing that night, how much they had to drink, whether they have any evidence. Society tells girls that it’s their own fault they were assaulted. Society lets the perpetrators walk free.
During Ford’s moving, guttural address to Congress, I saw a strong, brave woman speaking her truth because she felt it was the right thing to do: not a left-wing, partisan liar trying to ruin Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Congress’s decision to confirm Kavanaugh shows just how low its standard is for taking sexual assault claims seriously. Little girls and boys who watched him take the oath witnessed their own government hurriedly push aside the words of a possible assault victim within the span of a week. This sets the wrong precedent for our younger generation, for whom the President should be the highest role model of integrity and honor.
I choose to believe Christine Blasey Ford. But even if you don’t believe her, the fact that the numerous sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh remain unresolved should be reason enough to concern you. He currently sits on the highest court of the United States, yet his honesty and character as a person is tarnished. I am not demanding the destruction of a man’s reputation based on unsubstantiated claims, but rather, asking that these allegations be treated with proper gravity.
The last thing I want to consider is Kavanaugh’s judicial temperament. There is undeniable proof that he lied during his Senate hearing. For one, he claimed that he was a innocent, church-attending high school boy who never drank. Yet as Amy Klobuchar, a U.S. Senator, pointed out to him, “You have said, here and other places, that you never drank so much that you didn’t remember what happened. But yet, we have heard — not under oath, but we have heard your college roommate say that you did drink frequently. These are in news reports. Another classmate said it’s not credible for you to say you didn’t have memory lapses.” When Klobuchar later asked if he had ever drank so much he couldn’t remember what had happened, he replied, “It’s — you’re asking about, you know, blackout. I don’t know. Have you?”
This unbelievably childish petulance was common throughout his testimony. There were many more small lies and details that can be inspected, and no matter how small, each one of them is significant because if he is willing to say even one false thing on oath, then everything else he says is undermined. Since Kavanaugh was caught lying multiple times, how can the nation place any belief at all in his tale of innocence?
I believe that a judge should be even-handed, impartial, and courteous. But during his testimony, he was openly aggressive to his questioners, and even had to apologize to one of the Senators afterwards for his rude belligerence. Instead of acknowledging that the Senate needed to try to understand what had happened, he dismissed the entire process as “a calculated and orchestrated political hit.” His inflammatory responses and discourteous behavior displayed that he does not have the judicial temperament to be sitting on the highest court of the land. Brett Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.