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THOMPSON: America needs to know more about Brett Kavanaugh

September 24, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


If the United States Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh - President Donald Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court - he’ll hold that office for the rest of his life. He’s 52 years old…so, maybe for 35 years he’s one of nine people who gets to decide how America’s democracy lives and breathes.

But Republicans were beside themselves this past week. They are fast-tracking Kavanaugh’s confirmation…trying desperately to put him on the Court before the mid-term elections. But soon after Kavanaugh’s name made the short list in July, Christine Blasey Ford, a Ph. D. professor in California, contacted the Washington Post with concerns that Kavanaugh might be chosen…and she knew something about him.

She did not want to become known. Most women who are raped or assaulted don’t. She reached out to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein privately, simply because she knew the man who might be a Supreme Court Justice was the same man who assaulted her when they were in high school.

When the letter to Feinstein became public, Ford eventually came forward after she realized her anonymous accusation appeared to speed up the Republicans’ already head-long race to confirmation. Republicans, of course, were outraged. They argued that this eleventh-hour stunt by Democrats to “muddy the waters” was beyond the pale. But, remember these are Republicans…there could be a not-so-hidden agenda.

In fact, these are the same Republicans it should be noted who saw nothing wrong - forget outraged - with dumping 42,000 documents on confirmation committee members the night before the hearings…documents that no one could possibly read before voting. These are the same Republicans, too, who wanted to block other documents - from Kavanaugh’s stint in the George W Bush White House - where he mused whether the Roe v Wade decision on abortion was the “settled law of the land”.

It helps to recall some history. Just a few hours after Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead on Feb. 13, 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said then-President Barack Obama should not fill the vacancy during an election year and the next president should choose...even though the election was more than nine months away.

The die was cast. Republicans - choosing Party over country - blocked President Obama’s nomination of moderate Merrrick Garland on Mar 16, 2016, keeping the seat empty for more than a year.

Somehow, this year is different. America needs a new Supreme Court Justice…immediately. Whoa…whoa. I guess with 78 men in the Senate there are plenty of balls…but what Republicans are doing takes some grande cojones. There’s no way these Kavanaugh hearings should be moving so fast. Americans waited more than a year when Obama nominated Garland…Republicans were fine with that timing. But now it all has to be done in less than two months. Hmmmmmm?

I’m long enough in the tooth to remember Anita Hill’s testimony with regard to the confirmation hearings for Judge Clarence Thomas in 1991. That was a travesty…and women and men should cringe when they look at video of what the Senate put her through.

I’m suspect of Brett Kavanaugh…for good reasons. His now after-the-fact proven lies during his previous confirmation hearing when he became a judge for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals calls his integrity into question.

But, even more troubling are his actions when he was 17, at a party in an unchaperoned house in the D.C. suburbs. That was 35 years ago, say Republicans who defend him…it doesn’t count…no investigation needed. Oh, wait…35 years…the same length of time he might very well serve on the U.S. Supreme Court…if we simply look the other way.

You know, time doesn’t heal all…and it certainly doesn’t make an alleged crime just one of those boys-will-be-boys things. That, by the way, isn’t even a thing. We need to hear from Christine Blasey Ford…but before that there needs to be a full investigation by the F.B.I. That is one of the reasons that agency exists. She passed a lie detector test…not admissible in court…but pretty damn convincing.

The F.B.I. did the background check on Judge Kavanaugh, so it makes sense they should conduct a full investigation. The White House should have already asked the F.B.I. to investigate…that’s the proper procedure. Maybe by this week, the White House will be “forced” to do the right thing. It seems this Administration always has to be forced.

Remember, though, this White House is led by a fraud…someone who nominated Kavanaugh for two reasons; Kavanaugh is on the record believing the president cannot be subpoenaed, and Kavanaugh would likely overturn Roe v Wade. These would, of course, benefit Donald Trump. Remember, too, that Trump asked the Department of Justice to release all emails about the Russia investigation…an ongoing investigation. It’s never been done.

America needs to know a lot more about Kavanaugh…and Republicans need to slow this runaway confirmation train. But, you know, I believe Republicans are so blinded by party over country that they simply can’t do the right thing…no matter what.

You know, Republicans being Republicans might just be all right. Because the mid-term elections are only six weeks away. And this isn’t 1991. And Christine Blasey Ford isn’t Anita Hill. And the women who endured a bunch of old white men abusing another woman then…sure as hell won’t sit back and take it. And neither will men who know right from wrong.

Christine Blasey Ford…like millions - yes, I said millions - of women should be heard. Beyond that, we should weight her testimony more heavily…more seriously than Kavanaugh’s. Why? Because she - like almost every woman who comes forward about a rape or assault that doesn’t have ten times the proof necessary - likely won’t get justice.

If I were a woman or a girl, I swear I wouldn’t go on a date without a smart phone and start recording when my date opened the door…because women just aren't believed. It sure as hell would get rid of the old “He-said, She-said” throw-away defence…since we just don’t believe women anyway.

The PR blitz started as soon as Ford came forward. Even though she had a name…Republicans started calling her the “accuser” or “that woman”. A letter signed by 65 women supporting Kavanaugh appeared within hours…but was withdrawn after the signatories found they had been manipulated by Republicans and the White House.

Kavanaugh isn’t the right man for the job even before all of this…a pawn of a president looking out for himself only. Trump, McConnell and the Republicans should pull the plug on Kavanaugh…it’s the right thing. I’ll apologize to Republicans in a future column if they do the right thing. But I’m pretty damn sure I won’t ever have to say I’m sorry.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.


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