But what about the Kavanaugh case?
Warning: If you are a Republican, you won’t like my conclusion, and you won’t like my reasons. If you are a Democrat, you’ll like my conclusion, but you won’t like my reasons either.
About 10 days ago, I wrote on Twitter that I believe that both Ford and Kavanaugh are telling the truth as they remember it. And more importantly I said, whether fair or unfair to Kavanaugh, Trump ought to withdraw his nomination of BK for SCOTUS. This remains my position today. Below, I will explain my primary reason for this stance, and also bring up some miscellaneous points about the case that will be new to many of you.
I agree with those who feel that the Kavanaugh situation we are currently facing is more like a job interview than a trial, but my view is slightly different. When an employer is filling an open position, she is NOT out to be “fair.” Aside from legal discrimination issues, the employer is not (and should not be) under any obligation to make sure she is hiring the “best” applicant; she merely wants to hire someone who is well-qualified for the job. My point, then, is that in the process, the employer may pass over some applicants who actually are extremely well qualified but whose good qualities are not fully in evidence. The employer has neither the time nor the obligation to dig up such evidence — nor to dig further to find exculpatory evidence if something negative appears on the surface.
In filling a seat on the Court, we, the “employer,” want to be sure the person chosen is well-qualified, which includes qualification in terms of character. If we are not fully satisfied regarding character, we must err on the side of caution, in this case meaning not selecting BK. We have neither the time nor the ability to dig well enough to truly know what happened in 1982. This may well not be fair to him, but as the employer we have no obligation to be fair. I believe Trump should withdraw the nomination, with apologies to Kavanaugh for possible unfairness.
As noted, I still believe this, 10 days after my tweet. I must say, though, that Ford’s testimony raised some concerns in my mind as to whether her claims are fully accurate.
First, there is Prosecutor Mitchell’s probing of Ford during the hearing regarding Ford’s claimed fear of flying. Ford said the events of 36 years ago made her claustrophobic, causing her to be terrified of flying. Yet Mitchell pointed out that Ford enjoys trips to Hawaii and the South Pacific, flights that take 5 to 15 hours or more.
Second, Mitchell asked whether, in Ford’s July 2018 interview with the Washington Post, Ford had shown the reporter her medical records involving her emotional problems. Ford said she could not recall. This is something that Ford should have remembered, and if not, I really have trouble trusting Ford’s memory of the events of 36 years ago, even accounting for the fact that traumatic events tend to stick in one’s memory.
Ford lives in Palo Alto, a staunchly liberal community. It’s basically a hotbed of anti-Trump feelings. One local resident told me that there is no way he can divulge to his friends and neighbors that he voted for Trump. I can easily envision a situation in which Ford’s friends and neighbors — she said she was influenced by her “beach friends” — egged her on, urging her, “You must speak out! This is your chance to bring down Trump and the right wing currently in power! It’s your responsibility as part of the Resistance!” I don’t mean to say Ford is lying, but I think it is quite possible that these exhortations “clarified” her memories of 1982.
Speaking of memory, I have to likewise point out that if Kavanaugh really is the animal that Ford claims — and yes, there are lots of guys like that out there — Kavanaugh would have thought nothing of the incident at the time, and thus would not remember it today.
By the way, I do not fault Kavanaugh for his emotional testimony last week. How would you be reacting if you felt your entire reputation, to stay with you for a lifetime, was being grossly unfairly attacked? Former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a Democrat’s Democrat, said of Kavanaugh’s outburst, “Look, he was just being human. We can’t expect someone to stop being human just because he is a judge.”
Like many people, I am worried about the alarming increase in sensitivity and polarization on many issues. This morning I heard a radio report about an “all-male ballot,” and it took me a few seconds to realize they had said “all-mail.” 🙂 We all need to calm down.