I watched every bit of the Senate Judiciary Hearings and testimony of Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh today with great interest. (I was supposed to be working on a book deadline!)
I thought Professor Ford was very compelling in telling her story. She was poised, gracious, polite, careful and articulate. Anyone can tell this has weighed on her tremendously.
I can say the same for Judge Kavanaugh. He was very compelling as well.
So what happens from here?
Well, we need to remember what this hearing was and was not about. It was not a criminal proceeding. As was mentioned by the Committee today, there is no Statute of Limitations for what Professor Ford claims was done to her in Maryland. She can pursue criminal justice there.
What this was about today was simply letting two different people present their story around a particular incident to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and thus, the whole Senate. They are they ones who will be voting on whether Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Each Senator can now make up their minds about what they think given the two testimonies today. Is it a complete investigation? Of course not. It is not intended to be. It is not a court of law.
But the Committee investigated (which the Democrats on the Committee did not participate in) and each side had a lengthy and fair hearing and any member of the committee could ask any question of either Judge Kavanaugh or Professor Ford and do so before the world.
Professor Ford was accommodated in every way that she and her lawyers requested, save for her requested for confidentiality was violated when the media discovered who she was. At that point, only Diane Feinstein’s office knew of her allegation.
It must be noted that Professor Ford presented no evidence. Only her accusation and her own recollection of the events. The people she said could corroborate her story – the names that she herself gave, one being a life-long friend – not only did not corroborate, but said the party described did not happen. Not just that they not recall it, they state it did not happen.
On top of this, Judge Kavanaugh was able to produce very detailed calendars/journals from that year showing that he was not in town but two times over the weekends of those years. (He picked up the habit of keeping a very detailed, daily calendar of what he did from his father, he told the committee.) He gave copies of that calendar/diary to the members of the Committee. No one – Republican or Democrat – questioned the reliability of the calendar for making conclusions relative to Professor Ford’s accusation.
So Kavanaugh had two pieces of evidence that were not challenged by anyone on the Committee.
After Kavanaugh finished his testimony, many Democrats on the Committee asked him many questions about his High school years that did not pertain to his interaction with Ford. The topics addressed where his heavy drinking, vomiting, passing out and jokes made about farts. Do any of those Senators truly believe that questions like these from one’s teen years are relevant here. Allegations of sexual abuse? Of course. But not these silly things. One Senator even asked him if he believed Anita Hill. Goodness.
It was not one of the Senate’s finest days. It was a low day for our national politics. Not that the hearing happened. That was important. It was a shameful day on the behavior of many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This was not an exercise on whether victims of abuse should be believed or not, or how they should be treated. That is a very important discussion, but for another time. Today was not about that. It has nothing to do with this whole proceeding actually.
Today was not a test or demonstration of how brave or noble Professor Ford is, (or Judge Kavanaugh for that matter.) It was not a contest. (BTW, I have not talked to one of my more conservative friends today who doesn’t think she handled herself with dignity.)
Today’s hearing was all about, and only about, letting those members of the Senate voting on Judge Kavanaugh be able to hear from both parties, through the best means available to them, and make up their own minds as to how they would vote.
That is what today is about. It’s not a time to demonize anyone, especially the two people whose lives and their family’s lives will never be the same because of this spectacle.
That should bring delight to no one and the process itself, sadness to everyone.