You’ve probably seen the photo already, and even if you haven’t, you’re probably trying to put the Brett Kavanaugh hearings behind you, but I just couldn’t let the moment pass without taking a moment to highlight this remarkable image.
I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, but here’s what I do know:
The percentage of false accusations against men by women for crimes of this type is exceptionally small.
An enormous number of sexual assault victims do not come forward for many understandable reasons. Remaining silent is tragically common.
Dr. Ford had a hell of a lot to lose (and did) by coming forward and had little incentive to do so. Even if her testimony derailed the Kavanaugh confirmation, Republicans would simply confirm a different, equally conservative justice. She was not going to change the political leaning of the court by her testimony. She’s also had to endure death threats and Trump’s mocking attacks at his rallies less than a week after claiming to find Dr. Ford to be a credible and sympathetic witness.
For centuries, female sexual assault victims have been ignored, silenced, and condemned, so I have made it a point to be as open as possible to their claims. This is not a dangerous time for young men. It is an ongoing and endlessly dangerous time to be a woman.
Even if Kavanaugh is not guilty of Dr. Ford’s allegations, he lied several times during his confirmation hearings, and that alone should have disqualified him from service on the court. Republicans ignored this because they have abdicated all moral authority in this country in favor of power and fear of the Trump base.
This was not a trial. It was a job interview, so the standards of guilt and innocence do not apply here. If a woman had made a credible claim of sexual misconduct against me during my interview to become a teacher, and I had responded to the charges with anger, defensiveness, partisan attacks, victim blaming, and conspiracy theories, I would never have expected to be hired. Temperament is important for a teacher and for a judge, and Kavanaugh did not demonstrate a temperament required for service on the court during his testimony.
In short, I don’t think Kavanaugh deserved to be confirmed, and a majority of Americans in the latest polling agree with me. In fact, since his confirmation, the number of Americans who don’t believe that he should’ve been confirmed has increased.
This is why I love this photo. Kavanaugh might possess the power that he has sought for much of his adult life, but he will never enjoy all of the prestige of the position. He will always be the least popular Supreme Court nominee. A man who lied on the stand and lost his temper during his hearings. And the credible allegations of sexual assault will never be forgotten.
When an Internet search is conducted on Kavanaugh in the future, this photo is likely to come up every time, and happily so. It serves as a testament to the mockery of his confirmation process and the shame that Kavanaugh has brought to the Supreme Court.
Oddly, most of the scowling women sitting behind Kavanaugh support him. They are his wife, two friends, his mother, and a former law clerk, supporting him in the moment but doing him no favors in terms of posterity.
Perhaps this is the best karma could do given the circumstances.