Five questions (and answers) about Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Nomination

Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a FOX News interview on Sept. 24 about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Brett Kavanaugh, with his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, answers questions during a FOX News interview on Sept. 24 about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The recent allegations of sexual assault and misconduct made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh raise several important questions that should be considered by senators voting on his confirmation—and the citizens who vote for those senators.

What are the qualifications for Supreme Court justice?

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There is no citizenship, residency, age, experience or educational requirement for any federal judge. The Constitution simply states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint...judges of the Supreme Court.” In practice, however, every Supreme Court justice has been a U.S. citizen and lawyer, and most recent nominees have served as judges in the lower federal courts.

The president is free to nominate whomever he or she thinks is best for the job. The Senate has no role in selecting nominees, although presidents often consult leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid a doomed nomination. Political allies also may influence judicial nominations. According to the White House, Brett Kavanaugh was selected from a shortlist developed “with input from respected conservative leaders.”

According to the White House, Brett Kavanaugh was selected from a shortlist developed “with input from respected conservative leaders.”

Presidents generally profess fair-mindedness as an essential judicial quality but have also been influenced by the religion, race, gender and even regional affiliation of nominees. Ultimately, political considerations and judicial philosophy determine who is nominated, as the indispensable requirement is the support of the president and a majority of votes in the U.S. Senate.

What background checks are conducted before and after a nominee is selected?

Informal vetting begins as soon as a president is elected and he or she forms a list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Preliminary internet research can reveal obvious problems such as public scandals, offensive writings, unpalatable ideologies or embarrassing associations. Several months after President Trump’s first nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, was appointed to the Court, the White House released a list of potential nominees for future vacancies. The early release of this shortlist gave the press and public an opportunity to independently investigate potential nominees.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also investigates the personal and financial backgrounds of judicial nominees. The F.B.I. database includes arrest and fingerprint records and will reveal past criminal prosecutions and unusual financial dealings, but, as current events demonstrate, a preliminary investigation will not disclose all potential problems for a nominee. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, “informal criteria” are used by the Department of Justice to determine the qualifications of judicial nominees. The American Bar Association’s rating of judicial nominees is based solely upon professional qualifications and judicial temperament.

As current events demonstrate, a preliminary investigation will not disclose all potential problems for a nominee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire requires nominees to list financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest, but it does not ask the type of open-ended questions that might reveal previously private improprieties and that are asked by individual senators who recommend nominees for lower federal court positions. For example, Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, asks judicial hopefuls, “Have you ever transmitted an electronic communication that could cause embarrassment to yourself or to the senators?” In her district court application, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, asks:

Are you aware of any individual(s) or group(s) who may oppose your appointment? If so, identify the potential opponents and provide any needed explanation.
Describe any aspects of your personal, business or professional conduct or background which may reflect positively and/or adversely on you or the President, or which should be disclosed to the President in connection with your application for appointment to the office of United States District Court Judge.

Law professor Anita Hill, who testified in 1991 at the confirmation hearings of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, recently lamented “[t]hat the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing.”

Senator Mazie Hirono has taken it upon herself to ask every nominee, including Brett Kavanaugh, “Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” Judge Kavanaugh answered “no” to that question.

Are youthful offences relevant to serving as a Supreme Court justice?

As the “since you became a legal adult” preface to Senator Hirono’s sexual misconduct question indicates, some people are willing to overlook youthful transgressions when vetting Supreme Court justices. The term “legal adult,” however, has no specific meaning. While 18 generally is considered the age of majority, most states, including Maryland, permit 17-year-olds to be tried as adults when accused of the crimes alleged against Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford.

Supreme Court justices are required to render legal decisions regarding constitutional and statutory interpretation. Based solely on this job description, good moral character and a clean criminal record are irrelevant; a person may possess a keen legal mind yet engage in heinous behavior.

Supreme Court justices, however, are not mere legal reasoning machines. They serve at the apex of our third branch of government and are the symbol of a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law. Their lifetime appointments and oversight of the executive and legislative branches make them the nation’s nine most influential government officials.

While it is unrealistic and perhaps unwise to demand moral purity of nominees, it may be counterproductive to maintaining respect for our government if we do not impose some character fitness requirements on Supreme Court justices.

Is there a deadline for the Senate to act on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination?

No. The Supreme Court begins a new term on Oct. 1, 2018, but there is no requirement that the Court have a full complement of nine justices. Cases argued before Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vacancy is filled will be decided by the eight remaining justices. The same Senate Judiciary Committee that is calling for a timely resolution to Kavanaugh’s confirmation left the Court with only eight justices for more than a year when they blocked confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

What happens if Brett Kavanaugh is not confirmed?

Brett Kavanaugh will remain on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unless he resigns or is impeached. He will be paid his salary, receive health insurance and accrue retirement benefits. Moreover, confirmation would not insulate Judge Kavanaugh from possible criminal prosecution or undo the damage to his reputation caused by the allegations that have been made against him.

President Trump will nominate someone else for the Supreme Court position and the confirmation process will begin again. Perhaps the president and Senate will take Anita Hill’s advice and establish reasoned guidelines for judicial fitness and protocols for investigating claims of misconduct that arise during the confirmation process.

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J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Abortion. It is all about it. But to ensure the decision comes out appropriately has one side gone beyond the pale? This has nothing to do with anything Judge Kavenaugh did in his past but to prevent certain types of judicial rulings in the future. And everyone knows it. If the Democrats are successful do they think the world will act like nothing happened. An incredible precedent has been set.

Carlos Orozco
2 months 3 weeks ago

True. How many Senators that are fiercely attacking Judge Kavanaugh could withstand a fraction of the scrutiny they are demanding? Roe v Wade seems to have its days numbered and many politicians will submit themselves to the absolutely absurd in order to prevent it.

Vincent Couling
2 months 3 weeks ago

Abortion. It is all about it. But to ensure the decision comes out appropriately, one side has gone beyond the pale! Republicans will overlook investigating even the most serious allegations against Judge Kavanaugh to ram his confirmation through ... all to secure certain types of judicial rulings in the future. And everyone knows it. If the Republicans are successful do they think the world will act like nothing happened? An incredible precedent will have been set.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the compliment by rewriting my comment. But everyone here knows the rewrite is disingenuous. These comments are a great unmasking. Again thank you

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Aside: none of the accusations if true have any criminal liability since the alleged incidents happened so long ago. The irony for Catholics is if the accusations were true the turnaround reminds one of saints that also changed their lives dramatically.

Frank T
2 months 3 weeks ago

...."The turn around reminds one of saints" is a kind of cheap rationalization. He aspires to the highest court of the land.
He will sit in judgement over the rights of women who will demand control over their reproductive choices.
He is not acceptable.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

He will sit in judgement over the rights of women

I suggest you get the opinion of his law clerks which included several women.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you for biting. I put the line about a turnaround in to see if anyone would respond and how.

Frank T
2 months 3 weeks ago

The self-entitled seem always to feel free to sit in judgement of others.

Mark M
2 months 1 week ago

Especially, when the judged await their death sentence in the womb.
Baal is never satisfied.

Dionys Murphy
2 months 3 weeks ago

"The irony for Catholics is if the accusations were true the turnaround reminds one of saints that also changed their lives dramatically."

The irony is protecting an accused sexual assaulter and rapist from an investigation while suggesting he's actually a saint in rapist's clothing. Disgusting.

Joan Sheridan
2 months 3 weeks ago

I agree this is all to stop a pro-life appointmenr

Robin Smith
2 months 3 weeks ago

If stopping a pro birth judge, Gorsuch would have been set up by the Democrats too. But he wasn't. Hmmm...?

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

Gorsuch did not represent a threat to Roe Wade since Kennedy was still the fifth vote. The perception with Kavenaugh is different since they do not know how he will vote but he has said he respects precedent. This is a very different situation and if the nominations were reversed my guess Kavenaugh would have been approved easily and Gorsuch now facing intense scrutiny. If Ginsburg or Breyer retire, what has been happening will look like kids games.

Robin Smith
2 months 3 weeks ago

*This was in response to J Cos
The incredible precedent was set 1) When McConnell swore to make Obama a one term president by fighting Every. Single. Thing. 2) When McConnell (him again) decided not give even MEET with Garland, never mind a committee vote.
So when people (conservatives) start crying about the Democrats being mean, they should look to their own Senate leadership first.

J Cosgrove
2 months 3 weeks ago

How could McConnell make Obama a one term President when the Democrats controlled the senate during the first 6 years of his presidency? During the first two years the Democrats had 60 senators. Where were the character assassinations of the Obama Supreme Court nominations? Biden said there should not be any Supreme Court justices confirmed before a presidental election so why fault McConnell.

Judith Jordan
2 months 2 weeks ago

J Cosgrove----How could McConnell make Obama a one term President? Ask McConnell since he said it and tried to do it. During Obama’s time as president, the Dems controlled the Senate during the first six years, but they did not control the House except for first two years. In order for a bill to become a law, it must pass both Houses. Obama had a Republican House during most of his tenure. McConnell and the Republicans constantly worked against Obama. Many were part of the wicked, vile lies spread about Obama.

Obama successfully nominated Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom had no personal scandals so it was not possible to do a “character assassination.” Further, neither justices were considered to be a judicial extremists like Kavanaugh is.
Biden’s remarks were part of a long speech about tossing out different ideas about improving the Supreme Court confirmation process after he had experienced five tumultuous years which featured three bitterly contested nominations. Later, Biden issued a statement that his remarks were being misinterpreted.

Brian Searls
2 months 2 weeks ago

Amen to that! Just hoping the rest of the country recognizes that. The editors of America clearly don't.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 3 weeks ago

What a mess.
I do not understand Feinstein's moral standards. Feinstein had no interest in women's allegations about Bill Clinton's predatory sexual behavior. At the time, Clinton was an adult and the President. Clinton was literally under the desk in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky. Yet Feinstein did not aid help Clinton's victims, or even raise an eyebrow. I am very concerned at what and when and how she enables women. I want to be morally outraged at immorality against women. Feinstein makes that very hard.
I wonder who is the victim in all of this. I wonder who is abusing power in all of this. We will probably never have the truth, either. Only a version for TV.

Jen N
2 months 3 weeks ago

She is rabidly pro-abortion. You mention the term "pro-life" and she will snap. She is a liar, made up the statistic that 1.2 million women dies for illegal abortions during the 20yrs before Roe v Wade. She is friends with Gloria Steinem the attorney who won Roe v Wade by lying to her client, making up false testimony/affidavits, and presenting erroneous facts as truth during the trial. These women have no integrity. They have no conscience. They will do whatever it takes to get what they want and they will mow down whoever is in their way. Please pray for a softening of their hearts, an awakening of their consciences, a restoration of their souls... Their time is running out and I shutter what will happen to them in the after life. Jesus, please forgive them for they do not know what they do. I am so sorry that they have dedicated their lives - up to this point - seeking to destroy your creation, your children, the least among - a direct attack on our families by pitting mothers and fathers against their own children as enemies. (I nearly lost my own child to this horror. She has been my joy, she is beautiful and I have felt such guilt and anger that abortion was an option to me - that no one could have stopped me from hurting her - I did not know who I was wanting to get rid of, did not know how precious she was... That she was completely formed at 8 weeks... My friends lost children to abortion and wete never the same. No amount of tears or regret will ever bring back their kids - no amount of time will allow a relationship after an adoption. Abortion equals death and heart ache that lasts a lifetime. It is terrible for women and hurts many men too. Please forgive our Nation, Lord! Jesus we need you!!!)

Ed Hassett
2 months 3 weeks ago

Please lets drop the destructive adjectives rabidly is not the way you talk about anybody

Judith Jordan
2 months 2 weeks ago

Jen N---Years ago, I was online and people were fighting over abortion. I remember one Catholic man who opposed abortion chastising his colleagues for telling lies about it. He pointed out that if their side kept lying then people would not believe anything they said. He said there were many true, valid arguments against abortion and they did not need to lie about it. I always remember him when I come across misinformation and lies.

You state that Senator Feinstein is a liar because she made up the statistic that 1.2 million women died from illegal abortions before Roe v Wade. Feinstein's office does not make that claim. However, according to the Guttmacher Institute estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and 1960s ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. In 1962 alone, nearly 1,600 women were admitted to Harlem Hospital Center in New York City for health reasons due to illegal abortions.

Gloria Steinam did not represent Norma McCorvey, alias Jane Roe, in Roe v Wade. Steinem is not an attorney. The attorneys for Roe were Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. Nor are there any documents filed showing that they lied to Roe. Roe may have made this claim, but she has changed her positions many times on this and other related issues.

As the Catholic man online stated, there is no need to lie about abortion.

I am glad you did not have an abortion as it apparently would have been devastating for you. Many women have shattering reactions if they have an abortion; many do if they are denied an abortion; and many do if they give up their child for adoption. I think we should reflect on the recognition that not all women react the same nor can we ignore or belittle their various reactions.

Mary Nasta
2 months 2 weeks ago

One of the leaders of NARAL admitted to lying in briefs to the Supreme Court about the number of deaths from illegal abortions before Roe. Also, there are many deaths from LEGAL abortion which are wildly underreported. When a woman dies from an abortion gone wrong, the cause of death is frequently listed as heart failure or sepsis and the CDC misses many deaths.

Frank T
2 months 3 weeks ago

Clinton....really? The current President has described himself as a pu$$y grabber.
Perhaps we should keep focus. He is proposing for the Supreme Court another Catholic male,
(as if we don't have enough of them on the Court) who has no interest in preserving women's reproductive options
He is a terrible choice. Why don't we simply put the Roman Curia on the Court?

Tim Donovan
2 months 2 weeks ago

As to the nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court, whether Judge Kavanaugh or anyone else is extremely important, there are many points that could be made. Howdver, for the sake of being relatively brief, I 'll only address two of your remarks, and make a third observation. First, restoring legal protection to unborn human beings (or overturning Roe v. Wade, which would simply again give States lawmakers the ability to decide abortion laws, the more likely result of a pro-life justice) in my view wouldn't deny women's "reproductive options." Even if the violence of abortion was restricted or prohibited, several options for women ( as well as men, who shouldn't be forgotten in this matter, as they are half responsible for pregnancy) would remain. First, contraception which isn't abortive in nature as well as sterilization would remain legal for members of both sexes. Also, adoption is another option. Finally, although as a man I certainly agree this is difficult, choosing to abstain from sex for a time when pregnancy and the birth of a child would be difficult is an option. Finally, and again this isn't much used (unfortunately in my opinion) there is the option of natural family planning. It is highly effective when used properly (contraception, it should be noted isn't always used correctly: for instance, the pill must be taken at the same time daily for maximum effectiveness). Second natural family planning unlike the pill which can and does have significant
negative physical health effects has no physical harmful side effects. Finally, natural family planning requires that both the man as well as the woman cooperate( unlike simply expecting the woman to take all responsibility, as is the case except for condom use). Since supposedly advocates of women's rights want men to share responsibilities with women regarding sexual behavior and childcare, I think natural family fits the bill). You apparently believe that approving another Catholic to the Court would be akin to having another member of the Roman Chris approved, implying that opposition to abortion is a position only held by Catholics. I do agree that among other characteristics, that a Supreme Court nominee's religion should be considered. I agree that it's worthwhile to have people of different religions (or no religion, for that matter) on the Court. There's only one Protestant, Justice Gorsuch on the Court, and the others are either Catholic or Jewish. Since the majority of American religious adherents are Protestants, it seems to me that there is an imbalance of religious members on the Court. Perhaps another well-qualified Protestant justice would be appropriate. However, respected opinion polls have long stated that people of many faiths favor restoring legal protection to the unborn. First, there are numerous Catholics who favor "abortion rights." Of course, there is evidence that many such people aren't practicing Catholics, but that's another matter. However, the largest Protestant denomination in our nation , the Southern Baptist Convention, opposes legal abortion. Other faiths that oppose legal abortion in most cases are Orthodox Christians Orthodox Jews, the Lutheran-Church Missouri-Synod, the Mormon Church the Assembly of God denomination, Muslims, and Jehovah's Witnesses. In addition (and like with Catholics, not all members of those faiths are pro-life) there are millions of people of other faiths who oppose legal abortion, even though their denominations officially favor legal abortion. Among others, these include Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and other Lutheran denominations. Also, there are people of no particular religion who oppose legal abortion. For instance, the late Nat Hentoff, a writer for the liberal Village Voice and a former member of the American Civil Liberties Union, was a self-described Jewish atheist. There also is a pro-life group, Secular Pro-life, which includes men and women of all different faiths or no faith, which uses secular arguments against abortion. Finally, the indisputable fact is that all qualified, honest biologists confirm that a new human being comes into existence at fertilization/conception. After all, each one of us was once a fetus (which means "young one" in latin) . I think it's only reasonable to assume that the young one of a pregnant human being is also a human being. You may be interested in reading an informative book which I read, "Rites of Life: the Scientific Evidence for Life Before Birth," by gynecologist/ obstetrician Landrum Shettles, M.D. Shettles provides compelling evidence for the biological fact that fertilization marks the beginning of a new human being, as well as convincing arguments addressing the objections the to anti-abortion position. I might add that Dr. Shettles is not Catholic, and (like me) favors legal contraception that isn't abortive in nature as well as sterilization. He also refers to his friend, the late gynecologist Alan Guttmacher, M.D., who admitted that fertilization begins a new human being. Dr. Guttmacher was at one point the President of Planned Parenthood, which since the late 1960's has favored legal abortion for any reason. It's revealing that at one point the agency clearly opposed legal abortion. For instance, in a pamphlet titled "Plan Your Family for Health and Happiness," in 1 963 Planned Parenthood stated, "An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun." Planned Parenthood didn't change it's position based on any new biological evidence , but for social reasons. Finally, when Louise Brown, the first "test tube" baby was conceived, the physician who participated in her conception, though he favored legal abortion, admitted that her life began at fertilization, not birth.

J. Calpezzo
2 months 3 weeks ago

Kavanaugh is lying through his teeth to save face before his daughters, wife, the little girls he coaches, and their parents. He is arrogant and his ego suffocating. I believe Ford and Ramirez, and, the latest.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 3 weeks ago

But the forum for this is a courtroom. And the proper disposition is: A human being is innocent until they are proven guilty.
We have very liberal statutes of limitations extending well into adult life, for reporting crimes committed against us as children. I realize the laws make reporting crimes, difficult for the victims, but loose lips sink ships. Why didn't Ford sink his ship years ago? Why her secrecy? How did she get away from two seventeen year old males if they were really bent on raping her? And he attended a Catholic school. Why didn't she speak up so the school could take action? Does she really think the Jesuits would have sat idly by at her accusations 36 years ago? Because I think they w
And why silence from Feinstein until the dramatic eleventh hour? Feinstein knew earlier? If she is so outraged why blame the victim's request for silence?
It is not about making a system that is right and just for victims. It is all about politics and posturing and posing for the camera.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 3 weeks ago

But the forum for this is a courtroom. And the proper disposition is: A human being is innocent until they are proven guilty.
We have very liberal statutes of limitations extending well into adult life, for reporting crimes committed against us as children. I realize the laws make reporting crimes, difficult for the victims, but loose lips sink ships. Why didn't Ford sink his ship years ago? Why her secrecy? How did she get away from two seventeen year old males if they were really bent on raping her? And he attended a Catholic school. Why didn't she speak up so the school could take action? Does she really think the Jesuits would have sat idly by at her accusations 36 years ago? Because I think they w
And why silence from Feinstein until the dramatic eleventh hour? Feinstein knew earlier? If she is so outraged why blame the victim's request for silence?
It is not about making a system that is right and just for victims. It is all about politics and posturing and posing for the camera.

dennis@dennispetito.com
2 months 3 weeks ago

I absolutely agree!

Dionys Murphy
2 months 3 weeks ago

"Why didn't Ford sink his ship years ago? Why her secrecy?" Blah blah blah. Why not report that she was assaulted and raped as a child? You are a demonstration of the answer. Because she will be vilified and attacked and called a liar. Even worse as a child. It is shameful that women would protect rapists and doubt the bravery of a woman who is coming forward knowing the attacks, ridicule and abuse she will face for bringing forth the truth. Shame on you.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 3 weeks ago

I am not accusing her of lying.
I wonder at her timing. She tells listeners that Kavanaugh was in High School. If so, it would have been a Jesuit High School. She also says it was a wealthy school, so she felt powerless.
Ford not only implicates Kavanaugh, she subtly involves a Jesuit Catholic High School as part of her reasoning for not speaking.
Ford is the one who implicates the school by her omissions then and her subtle statements now. And to me that is not okay.
She did not give the people who would have helped her, including me, a chance to help her when it happened, but she suddenly wants us to help her now? How? By protesting Kavanaugh? By not voting for Trump? By sending her or Feinstein sympathy money? What is her point? That Kavanaugh is a sexually assaulting as Clinton?

J Brookbank
2 months 3 weeks ago

Katherin --- your questions seem sincere. The same high school you think would have helped her is the one that okayed that yearbook. It is a high school in the same church that didn't help thousands upon thousands of other victims. Even the law enforcement community admits it didnt help women and girls who reported sex abuse allegations; our culture, including the Catholic demographic, continues to side almost reflexively with white powerful men when sexual assault allegations CD
not square with the public reputation of the accused and the interests of the community; it is common knowledge that wealth insulates wealthy young people from many forms of accountability; on and on.

She has also been clear about the many specifuc reasons she didn't disclose then.

And victims of sexual assault look around and read comments like yours: "she didn't give the people around her who would helped her, including me, a chance to help her when it happened but suddenly she wants us to help her now?"

Katharin, that says loudly and clearly that help - even if one is a victim of another person's violence - is conditional. That says loudly and clearly that victims of are worthy of your help only if they ask for help in the way you want to be asked for help. That means that, in aftermath of violence, there is a wrong and disqualifying way to seek help.

After the shock of becoming a victim, of having your sense of the way the world works turned upside down, who walks willingly into the minefield of Katharin who says "well, if you had asked earlier when you were a terrified teenager"?

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 3 weeks ago

I mean to say that help is conditional. Nor did I mean to say that victims must ask for help in the way I want to be asked.
I am also not saying Ford needed to speak up when it happened. I believe we have statutes of limitations that extend well into adulthood for child victims of rape.
I am saying that if the criminal statutes of limitations need to be examined and changed because they are not long enough for crimes against girls, let's change them. And why isn't Ford politicking for such a change?
The statute of limitation laws try to recognize that a child victim, is one who is terrified, and therefore gives years and years after the event to report what happened.
In my experience of Single Gender Catholic High Schools 35 years ago, they investigated, suspended and even expelled 17 year old males for criminal behavior.

J Brookbank
2 months 3 weeks ago

Katharin, again, I think your questions are sincere. Are you saying that there is a necessity for a person alleging sexual assault to advocate changes in the law? Please help me understand the relationship there.

El Consilia
2 months 3 weeks ago

As a catholic living in the diocese of Allentown, Pa. I cannot help but t see the parallels between the recent findings in the church’s handling of sexual abuse and our public handling of the Kavanaugh hearings.

The embarrasing rise of McCarrick to cardinal is now a blot on 3 Popes (one even a saint) who conferred status and power onto a man with “rumors”, in much the way that this nomination will be a blot on this senate confirmation and our supreme court.

The Catholic church’s handling of sex abuse by the hierarchy has eroded the faith of numerous catholics and the respect of non catholics for years to come. The refusal of the senate to allow an FBI investigation is and will be seen as a cover up by our government officials not only by its citizens but by the whole world watching.

The Pa. attorney general’s investigation and report accepted the claims of victims from as far back as the 50’s as valid. Catholic Bishops have had to beg forgiveness for denying justice to so many wounded souls for such a long period of time. When faith in religious authority has been weakened by such behavior, it becomes difficult believing that secular leaders are being honest and not just “political” in their decisions.

Putting power ahead of people is the same motive that cost the credibility of our church’s leadership. Any pro life champion, church, judge or congressperson, would have to be pro truth first and foremost. Putting party ahead of truth and justice, an old ideology of communists/Nazism seems to be the operating slogan of this administration.

“9” is not a sacred number of seats in the supreme court. The number varied between 5 and 10 since 1789. Nor is an odd number the only way to reach a decision that is best for the country. It is more likely to create a divisive decision that can polarize the citizens, create factions and require constant efforts to reverse the decisions made. Consensus is difficult work, and time consuming but ultimately better than an efficient tie breaker favoring the power of one party over another rather than protecting a balance of power and democracy.

No rush! America will be better served by an empty seat than a by seat hastily filled without a full and “Fair” process. Sexual integrity is at stake. Do women really matter?

Frank T
2 months 3 weeks ago

Back on Clinton, are you? Who is your President today?
Another cheap shot perhaps? Admitting to walking in on naked young girls in beauty pageants "because he can" as he says
. Not much different than Curia members who rotate molesters, I think.

sheila gray
2 months 3 weeks ago

I am shocked at the mean-spirited comments here about Dr. Ford! If only people understood the damage done to an abuse victim. Time, it’s very nature, becomes distorted. The abuse alone is life-altering. People do not want this information. They reject it out of hand because they fear that it is true, and if it is true, how could they go on? Many Catholics are totally screwed up about sex and alcohol and abuse and popularity, and if people here really think they know exactly what they would do in an abusive situation, you’re deceiving yourselves...

Stanley Kopacz
2 months 3 weeks ago

I'll admit to one bias in this matter. I may not believe men over women or women over men, but I certainly believe scientists over lawyers and politicians. I'm not sure lawyers even believe in objective truth. They confuse and obfuscate. They need more witnesses than Ford but I'm not sure they'll get a better one.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 3 weeks ago

Dionys Murphy
Ms Ford has not alleged she was raped and yet without further ado you freely refer to Judge Kavanaugh as a rapist ....the word "shameful" more adequately attaches to your conduct than any of the women commentators.

Roland Greystoke
2 months 3 weeks ago

I believe in evidence. This is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of law. His accusers have no evidence. But they do hate Trump. And, in addition to abortion, that is also a big reason why they are magically appearing just now.

Joan Sheridan
2 months 3 weeks ago

Yes they hate Trump but mostly it is abortion and they are making this all up.

Robin Smith
2 months 3 weeks ago

Oddly enough, there wasn't a Democratic con job for Gorsuch because abortion.

Roland Greystoke
2 months 3 weeks ago

I believe in evidence. This is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of law. His accusers have no evidence. But they do hate Trump. And, in addition to abortion, that is also a big reason why they are magically appearing just now.

Jen N
2 months 3 weeks ago

These women are discrediting those women who truly are victims of sexual violence! I am so upset over this circus, because true victims will not be believed when they do come forward. Ford refuses to testify, under oath, before Congress. Her own "witnesses" deny there was any sexual misconduct. This is all a last minute attempt to slander Kavanaugh's name - using the recently popular #MeToo movement - in an attempt to stop him. This is ALL fraud to protect her Planned Parenthood's right to profit off of the destruction of God's gift in his or her most vulnerable state. (I nearly lost my own child to an abortion at Planned Parenthood in 2000 -
they closed early for the day and daughter survived - she is the greatest blessing God has given me!)

Ford's own brother holds a leadership position at Planned Parenthood. Her parent's house went into foreclosure decades ago and Kavanaugh's own mother was the judge who over saw the case and ruled against them. Another woman has suddenly come forward and accused him of attending teen gang rape parties, if this was true, she was present at the same parties to witness him being there. Why did she not report what she witnessed decades ago? What about the other people involved - why does she not speak of anyone else who was there? Again, if true, was she involved?
Neither women have any other witnesses who will back up their stories, although they claim they do - their witnesses actually say what the women are accusing Kavanough of happening, never happened. None of these women will testify under oath. They claim they will, but when it comes down to it, they are refusing.

Shame on them for using a tragic platform fraudulently (which will only hurt true victims and discredit them), and shame on them for dragging a good man's name in the dirt as they have with their slander. I am so angry... My cousin was raped and no one believed her because of women who make false allegations on innocent men just to get what they want and to hurt them.

A Fielder
2 months 3 weeks ago

Jen, you seem to be quite confident that you can identify the false allegations. There are four allegations against him now. Are they all false?

Joseph J Dunn
2 months 3 weeks ago

The article is timely, relevant and authored by a knowledgable attorney, which is especially helpful.
A key sentence, at least from my non-lawyer perspective: "Ultimately, political considerations and judicial philosophy determine who is nominated, as the indispensable requirement is the support of the president and a majority of votes in the U.S. Senate."
The Senate's constitutional role to advise and consent is designed to be a political check on the president's right to appoint. So the litmus test is "What is politically acceptable." The Senate hearings, disclosure forms, background checks, etc., are designed to be a search for the politically sustainable, not a search for "probable cause" as in a grand jury investigation or police/FBI criminal investigation, and certainly not a search for determining guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" as in a criminal trail. The rules are whatever rules the Senate adopts for their purpose. The accusations brought to this forum therefore enter the political maelstrom. This is so very different from the quiet dignity of a courtroom, or the earnest calm of a jury deliberation. Whatever result is forthcoming will be one of political expediency. Justice is not the constitutional objective here, and whatever the outcome, none may call it justice. Here there can be no vindication, no conviction. Those must be sought in a different place.

Jennifer Watters
2 months 3 weeks ago

"The Senate's constitutional role to advise and consent is designed to be a political check on the president's right to appoint" - I think that what is most concerning to me in this process is that the senators seem merely to want to put a rubber stamp on the president's appointee rather than provide a any sort of serious or thoughtful check. Even if the president is from the same political party as a majority of the Senate, they still need to take seriously their job of independently vetting whomever is nominated.

Sue Harvey
2 months 3 weeks ago

I've seen his yearbook..info on sports, clubs and self authored bragadocio. Some trashy innuendo. Also I feel his large debt which was paid recently on a salary that's pretty average raised questions and was quickly passed by, today he's backtracking his previous assertion regards alcohol use..now since college roommates are speaking about this..He admits using and having to grow up. Perhaps now another woman says 1998 he roughly pushed her against a wall and pushed against her..witnessed by her child. Character issues..there were other possible names who also fit a more conservative view. The way this has been handled disturbs me. Rushing, withholding opinions and his work product finally releasing some the night before the hearing started.
There was no problem holding a seat open for months and Gorsuch was confirmed w/o a rush or personal issues. This definitely deserves a slow down and deeper look.

Jim Lein
2 months 3 weeks ago

Couldn't agree more. What is the rush? More info is coming out. From adulthood. Maybe including after he was a lawyer. Time for him to drop out? For the good of the party that is going to need more women votes quite soon? Will Trump let him go? He is very shrewd about how matters like this can tarnish him personally and politically. He likes a clear winner. And he is not shy about dumping someone--You're Fired!

Ed Hassett
2 months 3 weeks ago

Here is something that bothers me. The judge has had 4 or 5 FBI investigations in his career. Now they are supposed to look at friends neighbors, and schools plus other jobs. So either it was a slipshod review in the past and that makes the FBI look real bad or the claims are newly minted

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