Not long ago, an already bitter Supreme Court confirmation fight took a decidedly sordid turn, rerouting from a battle of ideological partisanship toward an exposé into the potential existence of abject moral bankruptcy. Shocking the nation, the Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary , Senator Diane Feinstein, forwarded a letter, from a woman we now know to be Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to the FBI for an investigative follow-up.
In the letter, Dr. Ford wrote, in part,
I am writing with information relevant in evaluating the current nominee to the Supreme Court.
As a constituent, I expect that you will maintain this as confidential until we have further opportunity to speak.
Brett Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted me during high school in the early 1980’s. He conducted these acts with the assistance of REDACTED.
Both were one to two years older than me and students at a local private school.
The assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others.
Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.
Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.
From across the room a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from “go for it” to “stop.”
At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom. I locked the bathroom door behind me. Both loudly stumbled down the stair well at which point other persons at the house were talking with them. I exited the bathroom, ran outside of the house and went home.
After Dr. Ford’s identity was effectively broadcast nationwide, and the specter of anonymity—prized fertile ground conducive to convenient dismissals by vested political operatives—had been lifted, members of the Senate GOP found themselves sternly-expelled from the shadows of indifference. In short order, a number of prominent Republicans made what appeared to be a bid for transparency, albeit reluctantly, and delayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.
Moreover, the GOP-controlled committee opened the door for Dr. Ford to provide testimony, with the caveat that it would take place on Monday September 24th, or not at all. Indicating her willingness to testify, but objecting to the hastily-assembled timeline, Dr. Ford requested that the FBI complete an investigation into the matter beforehand. Rather than entertaining her request, Senator Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, offered an ultimatum instead. Either agree to appear before the Judiciary Committee by Friday, or Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote will proceed as planned.
Ultimately, the rigidity of Grassley and his colleagues’ position quickly crumbled, withering like iron in a forge. Not only did Dr. Ford agree to testify on September 27th and dash some potentially unaired hopes of quietly fading away, but a pair of new allegations have emerged from named accusers, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
Now there are undoubtedly some out there who would applaud the GOP for convening a singular hearing, for trying to accommodate Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Ford, but let’s not forget that this course of action only materialized after the blind support of several Republican senators evaporated. So let’s refrain from treating this lopsided affair as something honest or moral-minded. In reality, it’s a cheap parlor trick disguised as fairness and righteousness.
The truth of the matter is that the bulk of the Senate GOP has little interest in seeing any of these allegations adjudicated. They’re already in sole possession of the political heft necessary to uncover the truth, they have the influence to convince the White House to order an FBI investigation. They firmly hold the power to corroborate or exonerate, they’ve simply chosen to avoid exercising it. And one can only speculate as to why they—and the accused himself—refuse to pursue investigative vindication via the world’s premier law enforcement agency.
Save a select few, the Republicans’ noticeable disinterest in conclusively getting to the bottom of these grave—and multiplying—allegations was probably best vocalized by their most senior member, Senator Orrin Hatch, who stated that Dr. Ford was “mixed up” and that there were “lots of reasons not to believe” her allegation. So let’s not stand on ceremony here, there’s not a shred of virtuousness to be found in the Senate GOP’s theatrics.
The truth is that the GOP planned, and ostensibly still plans, to plow forward with Kavanaugh’s confirmation, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has intimated. They have their man, and ideological dominion over the Supreme Court is within their grasp.
So don’t be fooled, the Republican exhibition in faux-sincerity is little more than political posturing. When they couldn’t sweep the accusations under the rug, they moved to frame the issue as a murky “he said, she said” situation, hoping to hide behind the tattered remnants of plausible deniability.
(Featured image “Senate Judiciary Hearing“, by the Jetta Disco of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as a work of a federal employee is within the public domain/cropped from original.)