Monday, October 1, 2018

Background check? Would You hire Kav?

Erin Schaff for The New York Times
Judge Kavanaugh is clearly exceptionally smart and a capable lawyer. He also has a record of lying to senators (more on that in a moment), has attracted multiple allegations of sexual assault — plus, he has resisted an investigation into the assaults. The upshot is that I wouldn’t hire him for a regular job with that cloud hanging over him. And even less should he get a lifetime role judging women and men alike. Read my Sunday column on the case! 
We’re publishing this newsletter early because the Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to approve Kavanaugh, so we’ve also put my Sunday column online early. I think we should avoid a rush to judgment about the sexual assaults, but we should also avoid a rush to confirmation. We need an investigation to address the allegations and determine the facts as best we can.
Because of a push by Senator Flake, there may be a one-week F.B.I. investigation, but that’s still uncertain. And the tight limit of one week is arbitrary, when what is important is finding out the truth. So a one-week F.B.I. investigation would be a step forward if it happens, but it remains inadequate.
The bottom line is this: A president who has faced more than a dozen allegations of sexual assault is attempting to appoint a second Supreme Court justice who has credibly been accused of sexual misconduct, and those two justices might well help form a new court majority to chip away at abortion rights in the United States. And remember that since Clarence Thomas’s confirmation, new evidence has arisen that makes it pretty clear that Thomas was lying and that Anita Hill was telling the truth. If the same happens with Kavanaugh, one-third of the court’s male justices will have been tarnished by sexual misconduct.
My column also notes that while we can’t be sure exactly what happened (and Kavanaugh himself may not have clear memories of what happened), his credibility has been undermined by other lies. He told senators that his high school yearbook claim of being a “Renate alumnius” wasn’t a sexual insinuation. Look, anybody who was ever a high school boy can clarify that that was 100 percent a sexual boast.
I also worry about the aftermath if Kavanaugh rises to the court. He abandoned any pretense of neutrality or a judicial temperament in this hearing Thursday, and he would contribute to a politicization of the court in a way that diminishes it and the rule of law in our country. Bottom line: This has been a dispiriting week for America. Please read the column.

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