Kavanaugh Hearings: Verdict First Trial Later

     The Senate Committee holding hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanagaugh have heard from his first, and more credible, of his accusers and from Judge Kavanaugh himself. There were two aspects to the hearing: An inquiry into the veracity of the accusation and politicial drama that was based on pure emotion.

     The honest inquiry into the veracity of Prof. Ford’s claims was brief and matter of fact, limited by the necessity of dividing up the questioning into 5-minute chucks bewteen the Democratic members of the Comittee waxing poetically over Ford as a victim. While some may decry the kind, emotionless, and matter-of-fact approach of Rachel Mitchell, who spoke to Ford on behalf of the Republican members of the committee, Mitchell nonetheless did lay bare many inconsistencies even there was no knock-out blow that people have come to expect from TV courtroom shows. This went from a “he said she said” scenario to one where the “he said” side offered evidence and witness statements. This approach also allowed the Republican members of the committee to avoid look like the Spanish Inquisition interrogating a woman who was portrayed as a weak and vulnerable waif in need of sympathy.

     Alone, Ford’s half of the hearing would have been devastating. However, Judge Kavanaugh met emotion with emotion, to the point where he stirred the Republican members to decry the bullying and delaying tactics of the Democratic Senators, and even early on cower some of said members. The Republicans on the Committee have looked at the evidence and have sided with Judge Kavanaugh, which is why they believe that further delay is not warranted. Sen. Lindsey Graham was particularly notable in his defense of Kavanaugh and his disgust with the circus around him.

     Meanwhile, the Democratic members of the committee, perhaps because of their “questioning” of Dr. Ford that they referred to Judge Kavanaugh as someone who they considered guilty combined with a lack of intestinal fortitude to come right out as say they thought he was an accused rapist, relegated themselves to character assassination over Judge Kavanaugh’s legal drinking in school and college and trying to portray him as a denizen of Animal House.

     The spectacle even devolved into questioning over… high school fart jokes.

     It is a sad state of affairs when the future of the Supreme Court—the future of the United States of America itself—is dependent on the explanation and nuances of a teenage fart joke.

     The only other tactic the Democratic members of the Committee had was to demand an FBI investigation. While this is just part and parcel of an established list of delaying tactics, it a move that could garner support, or at least give a fig leaf to Senators who will vote NO. However, there is something about the hearings that no one is talking about that demonstrates the protest by those who demand we delay the Kavanaugh vote, to investigate what happened, to be absolutely malicious: Most Democrat Senators in committee already declared him guilty.

     In many, of not most, of their “questions” to Dr. Ford, Democrat Senators spoke not of the alleged or purported assault, but of when—not if—Judge Kavanaugh assaulted her. How can the Senate Democrats on the Committee decry lack of investigation during the hearings when they’ve already gotten sufficient evidence, as far as they are concerned, to reach a verdict?

     In effect, the Senate Democrats are saying “Verdict First; Trial Later”.

     Update: A salient point was made about the call for an FBI report.

     During the Clarence Thomas hearing, Senator Leahy was on the Committee at that time as well; despite the FBI report, he still not only voted NO, but also still says to this day that he believes Anita Hill. Even with a FBI report that did not substantiate claims against the nominee, opposition from Leahy was unchanged. Why would a FBI report now, then, make a difference?

     Update 2: Senator Flake has voted with the Committee to advance the nomination to the full Senate, but wants a time and scope limited FBI investigation before said vote in a weeks time, and Senator Murkowski agrees. While an FBI report that doesn’t add anything to what is already known won’t change Leahy’s or most other Democrats’ votes, it would give Sens. Murkowski, Flake, and Collins the cover to vote YES.

     Any rational person ought to fear for the future of our Republic.

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