Kavanaugh at the Tip of the Smear
Appearing before the U.S. Senate, Brett Kavanaugh was supposed to be a judge — not a defendant. Now, after three of the worst weeks of his life, he and his family are finding out that the path to a Supreme Court appointment is a costly one. And while it may be the pinnacle of his profession, getting there exacts a price no American should have to pay.
In his opening statement, Judge Kavanaugh said: “the confirmation process has become a national disgrace.” Beyond the destruction and pain it’s caused his family, he lamented the impact that this vicious attempt to block his nomination would have on the entire nation. “You sowed the wind. For decades to come, I fear that the whole country will reap the whirlwind.”
He concluded his lengthy remarks with “My family and I intend no ill will toward Dr. Ford or her family, but I swear today under oath before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge.”
It was difficult not to be moved by the earlier testimony of Dr. Ford, which was shaky at times and halted by tears. No one could deny just how emotional she seemed during her testimony. But most conservatives are not suggesting that she was never assaulted. There are just too many inconsistencies in the story — and in the Democrats’ handling of it — to suggest that Kavanaugh was the one responsible.
As Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) pointed out, her testimony only “repeat[ed] what we already knew, which is she believes something happened. She believes it was Brett Kavanaugh but everybody she claims was in the house denies having any knowledge of it. There is no corroboration.” He’s right. None of the boys at the party remember it happening. Even Dr. Ford’s friend, Leland Ingham, denies it. In the 36 years since that night, this is the first time anyone (apart from Dr. Ford’s therapist) has even heard of it.
That doesn’t mean Dr. Ford wasn’t attacked. Republicans just talked to a man this week “who believes he, not Judge Kavanaugh, had the encounter with Dr. Ford in 1982 that is the basis of [the] complaint.” And while Christine insists that with complete certainty that Kavanaugh was responsible, even cognitive scientists have learned that “people can be 100 percent certain of their memories… and 100 percent wrong.”
The crime of sexual abuse is real and life-altering, but it does beg the question: how far back and in how much detail do we look at any nominee? Because, as former Assistant United States Attorney Sidney Powell reminded everyone on last night’s “Washington Watch,” “there but for the grace of God goes one of us. I mean, who has not made a mistake at some point in their lives? … I don’t think we should judge people by erroneous acts in high school and college. That’s why we prosecute people as juveniles and seal the record. Their brains aren’t even fully formed.”
Obviously, no one is excusing this kind of behavior, but it’s a legitimate point. How far back do we go? Junior high? Elementary school? Daycare? At what point do we realize that people grow up, make mistakes, and move forward? As far as Brett Kavanaugh is concerned, there’s been nothing to suggest in his past confirmation hearings that he’s ever mistreated women. And that’s after six FBI background checks.
As Sidney explains,
“They literally go back to the area in which you were born and canvass neighbors. I’ve been through FBI background checks when I was a federal prosecutors for 10 years… I mean, the neighbors in my home and elementary neighborhoods were asked about me and my character. So it’s absolutely astonishing that not a peep of any of this came up until right now.”
“On top of that, Dianne Feinstein has done a gross disservice to absolutely everybody involved, including her fellow citizens and Dr. Ford, by sitting on this until the last minute. Because if they really wanted an investigation and this were really about getting to the truth, they would’ve raised it from the get-go and had it investigated quietly before anyone’s name was dragged through the mud — including Dr. Ford’s.”
As Andrew McCarthy points out, it isn’t the Senate’s job to solve crimes. It’s not to psychoanalyze witnesses. It’s to advise and consent on the president’s nomination. And if it were a trial, he pretends? The case is so weak, it would be “thrown out of court.”
What we do know without a shadow of a doubt is this: the Left must have the court in order to advance their agenda in America. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admitted it.
They couldn’t get Congress or state legislatures to redefine marriage or impose abortion on demand. They had to go to the courts. They can’t get open borders in this country. They have to go to the courts. That’s what this entire smear campaign is about. This is not — and never has been — about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s about the shift that will begin to take place when a committed constitutionalist replaces Kennedy.
Someday, years from now when Americans look back on this moment, I hope they see more than Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford. I hope, in a country raw and torn apart, they see a little girl, asking her parents if they should “pray for the woman” whose allegations fueled a political war that would turn their family’s proudest moment into one of its darkest chapters. I hope that instead of two people on the stand, they see a broken political process there instead. Most of all, I hope they see a turning point in a nation that desperately needs one.
Brett Kavanaugh will almost certainly go on to become the next Supreme Court justice. But unfortunately for him and his family, it may be years before what he does on the bench finally overshadows what he endured to get on it. For Brett and his family, these are scars he’ll carry with him the rest of his life. But in a country where the majority of Americans can’t even name a single Supreme Court justice, this may have been exactly the wake-up call we needed.
For the first time in a long time, millions of people stopped what they were doing and watched — on planes, in bars, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Every single one of them saw for themselves the embarrassment this process has become.
For once, Americans understood how far the liberal establishment was willing to go — and how many lives it was willing to ruin — to keep its grip on the courts. They watched two decent people become victims, both broken by a broken system that puts its trust in a place the Founders never intended. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll decide to do something about it.
As hellacious as it was, the hearing may be the tipping point in a decades-long battle to hold Congress accountable. After all, it’s their fault the courts have this much power to begin with. As Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) lamented, “When we don’t do a lot of big political debating here in Congress, we transfer it to the Supreme Court. And that’s why the court is increasingly a substitute political battleground… It’s only nine people. You can know them; you can demonize them; you can try to make them messiahs. But you can’t fire them. And what happens? They become “superlegislators [trying] to right the wrongs from other places in the process.”
We used to be a country that arrived at consensus through the legislative system. Not anymore. The court short-circuited that process with the help of 435 people too concerned about keeping their jobs to do them. “The solution,” Sasse points out, “is not to try to find judges who will be policy makers or to turn the Supreme Court into an election battle. The solution is to restore a proper constitutional order with the balance of powers. We need a Congress that writes laws, then stands before the people and faces the consequences.”
Until then, we’re destined to repeat the disgrace of the last 10 days. Imagine what the people on President Trump’s Supreme Court short list must be thinking, watching a pillar of the legal community destroyed on national television for an accusation not a single person has corroborated. Are they scouring their high school yearbooks and diaries, wondering what Democrats might use to demolish them?
It’s no wonder Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) couldn’t sit quiet any longer. His passionate, impromptu speech — maybe one of the greatest the chamber has ever heard — should have snapped everyone back to the personal and institutional damage that had been done.
“If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you [Democrats] want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that. Not me…This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy…Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about [Dr.Ford] and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None.
[To Kavanaugh]: She’s as much of a victim as you are. God, I hate to say it because these have been my friends, but let me tell you, when it comes to this: you looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.
To my Republican colleagues: if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics…”
Senate Democrats want you to believe that the FBI could have rolled in with their forensic trucks and found out what really happened that summer day of 1982. That their agents, through a power no one’s heard of, could have discovered something this committee hadn’t. That’s absurd. This was the investigation. The two most important witnesses were testifying right in front of them, under oath. The only thing the FBI could have done is give liberals the delay they needed to kick the confirmation into next year.
But unfortunately for the Kavanaughs, this was never about getting to the truth. This was about getting to the courts, the last best hope for the liberal agenda.
All we can hope now — not just for Brett, but for Ashley, their girls, and parents — is that this horrible ordeal becomes a galvanizing moment for America. That we refuse to let what happened to them happen again. And that the legacy of Kavanaugh is a more civil process for everyone.
Tony Perkins and FRC Senior Staff, Guest Columnists
Published with permission, Family Research Council, Washington Update, September 27-28, 2018, 801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, 1-800-225-4008, www.frc.org.selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and may not reflect the views of CSG. Contact them at CenterForSelfGovernance.com