How should Christians respond to the Kavanaugh hearing?

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in to testify before a Sept. 27 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kavanaugh followed Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who testified about her accusation that he sexually assaulted her in 1982, a claim he vehemently denied. (CNS photo/Jim Bourg, pool via Reuters)

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to determine the validity of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. On July 9, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy. Following last week’s hearing, the F.B.I. has decided to launch an investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations.

At the invitation of America’s editors, Simcha Fisher and Bill McGarvey, two columnists forthe magazine, discussed the hearing and more via email. The following text, which has been edited for length and clarity, is their correspondence.

Advertisement

Hi Simcha,

It’s nice to “meet” you despite the unfortunate circumstances.

In the interest of transparency, I have to confess that a lot of what I will share with you here comes straight from the reactions I shared with friends via text both during and just after the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing. It was riveting to watch in real time and I find that 24 hours later my reactions remain the same.

I really think what we witnessed on Thursday was the death of a certain male prerogative that has been chipped away at—very intensely and imperfectly but long past due—over the past year. Judge Kavanaugh is understandably indignant about accusations he can’t disprove but the indignation, anger and bluster he displayed in that hearing will work less and less effectively moving forward in U.S. political discourse. Women’s voices and experiences are going to be heard and understood in ways that we have not seen previously in our culture.

Kavanaugh is incredibly bright and politically savvy, but I found Dr. Ford to be highly credible and genuine. Obviously, none of this would be sufficient in a court of law, but this wasn’t a trial, it was a job interview. We know statistically that the number of women who make false sexual assault allegations is very small. We also know that the way she chose to cope with the incident—not discussing it with anyone at the time out of shame, etc—also fits the profile for experiences like this. The fact that she had spoken of this incident in therapy and with friends over the past six years also undercuts any notion that she is simply grinding a political ax.

What we witnessed on Thursday was the death of a certain male prerogative that has been chipped away at—very intensely and imperfectly but long past due.

No one should get any joy out watching Judge Kavanaugh’s world collapse around him. My overwhelming sense was that he has been working tirelessly his entire adult life to become a Supreme Court Justice and he’s incensed that someone dared to throw a banana peel at his feet when he was an inch from the finish line. These allegations clearly don’t fit with the narrative he’s constructed about his life: great husband and father, devout Catholic, hard working, first-class legal credentials. I think the narratives most of us construct for our lives suffer under the weight of our shadow selves. The reality is that all of his positive attributes can still be true without negating the possibility that he was capable of some seriously bad behavior as a young man. If the numerous accounts from classmates about his heavy drinking habits continue to mount and are credible I think we may have located the missing link connecting the two very different descriptions of Judge Kavanaugh presented on Thursday.

In her testimony, Dr. Ford admitted to wondering if coming forward “would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway and that I would just be personally annihilated.” The image that will linger for me from Thursday’s hearing will not be of Dr. Ford’s calm, rational and historic testimony. It will be of Judge Kavanaugh, red-faced with sanctimonious contempt and anger as the prosecutor Rachel Mitchell gamely tried to navigate his seething fury. It’s as if he’s realizing that the train he was once comfortably riding on is now hurtling down the track headed straight for him and the world he’d grown up in. 


Hey, Bill, 

You’re absolutely right to focus on the conversations you're having with friends, rather than on the legal or political ramifications of this ongoing debacle because those conversations are the only thing that are in our control.

I mean, we can call our reps, but when’s the last time you felt truly represented by an elected official? I can’t even remember the last time I actually voted for someone, rather than reluctantly discerning the somewhat-less-horrible candidate. And frankly, I’m convinced that most of the Democrats are just as ruthlessly manipulative as the GOP right now, and no one actually cares about the truth. 

The truth for us regular citizens is that we are mostly powerless most of the time, as far as what happens in Washington. Maybe that’s cynical, but it sure is how it feels. No one represents me. As a woman, it has been sort of darkly fascinating to see so many men suddenly get a glimpse of that familiar sensation of outraged helplessness that so many women endure without question. It’s like the whole country is a teenage girl and Congress is an entitled frat boy. Ugh.

Anyway, as a Christian, I’m focusing on the conversations I have with people. Most victims of sexual assault never tell anyone, not 35 years later, not ever. So I’m trying to present myself as someone it would be safe and helpful to confide in. I don’t know what else to do. 

Best, 

Simcha


Loved what you said about members of Congress, Simcha, and how they’re finally getting a sense of the “outraged helplessness” that is a constant in many women’s lives. That was on stark display in the footage of a woman confronting Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator. “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me,” said 23-year-old protester Maria Gallagher. This is not simply a passing political moment; it reflects a tectonic shift in U.S. social and cultural life. The deeply insular male experience you describe reminded me of something Hannah Gadsby addressed specifically to men in the audience of her Netflix special, “Nannette”: “I am not a man hater. But I am afraid of men. If I am the only woman in a room full of men I am afraid. But if you think that’s unusual you are not speaking to the women in your life!”

As a woman, it has been sort of darkly fascinating to see so many men suddenly get a glimpse of that familiar sensation of outraged helplessness that so many women endure.

I understand your frustration but I have to disagree with you in terms of political engagement. If I waited for candidates who perfectly reflected the diamond-like facets of all my political beliefs, I would never be able to engage politically at all. If that were the standard we would forever be on the sidelines waiting for our political savior to arrive. I think that’s an abdication of our duties and responsibilities as citizens, not to mention as Christians who are called to work for a more just society. Trust me Simcha, I have no illusions that Democrats are somehow politically pure. They’re politicians and the work of the “affairs of the cities” is messy to put it mildly.

It’s not about Democrats or Republicans for me, it’s about treating accusations like this seriously. I actually think both Ford and Kavanaugh deserve that. I like the way an old friend from college, who is now a lawyer, put it in a text earlier today. “If he didn’t do it, damn, I think he would WANT an investigation. He wants his new title to be JUSTICE, for crying out loud!”

Best,

B


Hey, Bill - 

Yeah, that’s 2018 for you. “Make America Strange Bedfellows Again,” I guess! It stinks to see otherwise decent people making the deliberate choice to be callous in the face of suffering because they think it’s somehow good for unborn babies to make rape jokes. But it’s been heartening to see so many people wake up from their comfortable ideological slumbers and realize that Christians will never have a political home.

I totally agree that it’s bigger than Democrats vs. Republicans. But anyone who truly wants change has to look hard at themselves. That’s just how it works. Liberals could do themselves (not to mention women!) a great service by being more consistent about predators in their own ranks. I see Roman Polanski has a new film coming out. Bill Clinton is still thriving. Ted Kennedy was practically canonized. I don’t look to politicians to reform society, but they sure could help by being more consistent. 

Part of the problem is that the imbalance of power between men and women is so ingrained, women themselves don’t always recognize it as an injustice. Someone asked, “What would you do if men had a 9:00 curfew?” and I immediately thought, with joy and longing, “Oh, I would go for a walk!” How pathetic is that? We all have some awakening to do.  

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
A Fielder
2 months 2 weeks ago

J, Simcha writes often to encourage natural family planning and is consistently pro-life on abortion issues. I have no idea how you can refer to her as a liberal.

J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

Interesting response. You seem to see official Catholic teaching as incompatible with being politically liberal. I was looking for insight from her political comments. Her main negative comment about liberals was they were hypocritical about sexual harassment not their policies. I thought her most egregious comment was "no one actually cares about the truth" as if she does and others don't.

karen oconnell
2 months 2 weeks ago

she has a right to have her own thoughts and to make her own decisions. she can even take the position that her position is the 'best.' i am a liberal but there are many topics and solutions which are anathema for me. the true '''liberal/progressive'''' understands that we all have different educations...family experiences which help us to form our opinions. the 'true liberal'' sets her/ himself apart via the respect and toleration shown to different solutions that are made from a ''pure heart'' (so to speak)

J Cosgrove
2 months 2 weeks ago

Karen

You are describing what a classical liberal should be. Not a modern liberal/progressive which is very different. Sounds like a good conservative to me. Sounds like any honest person to me.

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

Tim, my guess is you would be hard-pressed to find ANY person on ANY side of ANY argument other than the First Amendment who will support this professor's conduct. Her tweets are vulgar and juvenile and hostile. I can't imagine that Georgetown or her department are pleased; I also can't imagine that students who had been counting on her for recommendations or to be on their thesis or dissertation committees are thrilled either. If she were a government or corporate employee, I imagine she would have been gone within 24 hours of that tweet.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 1 week ago

A Fielder
So I guess that The DNC Chairman is correct?: "you cannot be a Democrat [ or a liberal] unless you are Pro Choice"

K Byrne
2 months 2 weeks ago

The prejudice drips from the staged comments and shallow observations. Two writers who have an echo chamber to underscore their preconceived notions. Stand up for justice and victims without axiomatically trashing the "white man?" Impossible among this crowd.

lurline jennings
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you for your clear and concise statement. The hate directed to this man who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty is despicable. Imagine, if you will, if this can happen to this man what about the rest of us. Men in the United States have stood by watching other men being emasculated by a rather large number of sick women. Take a look at the accuses. Ms.Ford being one of them. Even her husband pointed out recently in an interview she is Schizophrenic and fails to take her medication. She lied constantly about flying, her work, her acceptance in her community and elsewhere. All her claims have been unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. Is this the way we carry out interviews these days? The haters home is found functioning well in the Democratic party. Several of those attacking the judge have histories of extremely bad behaviour. Mr. Blumenthal who lied about his military exploits, Ms Pelosi and Ms. Feinstein who support wholeheartedly abortion on demand. One a Catholic and one a Jew. We could go on and mention the behaviour of William Clinton who destroyed the lives of many women but was beloved by his democrats. Same with Obama. The man who would speak to no leader but loved his drugs and women. Here we have a magazine who supports the man who pushes homosexuality as just another normal way of life in stark defiance of the Magisterium of the church. He is lauded as a great leader and also an active SJ. It is too bad a magazine purporting to speak for a religious group who get deeper and deeper into lawless liberalism. We will no longer support Jesuits in any form. They obviously have forgotten their motto AMGD. Perhaps they should join in a collective Examen.

Ray Kaliss
2 months 1 week ago

To: J Cosgrove
Yes. And I read Peter Hyatt's analysis FBI Statement Analysis) .. and about Ford's use of hypnosis to 'recover' her memories a tech that has proven to contaminate clients memories.

The political use of sexism and race to divide Americans .. used by the Democrat Party .. is unconscionable as well as working! Guilty until proven innocent (a socialist ploy) that preys on women's emotions. Guilty in absence of collaborative evidence. It is a shame how those entrusted with the Church are turning to socialism .. which traditionally has been condemned by the Church as 'collectivism'.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 2 weeks ago

Not this way. How do you sleep with yourself Bill McGarvey? Such lack of personal insight and human understanding. If the editors weren't already complicit, I would appeal to them about you. But they probably composed this title about "How should Christians respond?" "No one should get any joy out watching Judge Kavanaugh’s world collapse around him" - but you do, Bill. Brett Kavanaugh's reputation has been destroyed by charges of gang rape, and innuendo about alcoholism and privilege and you put it down to "he’s incensed that someone dared to throw a banana peel at his feet when he was an inch from the finish line." Look into his daughters eyes next time you say this.
You say: "We know statistically that the number of women who make false sexual assault allegations is very small." - so we now have to believe 11 gang rape parties fit into his calendar, because it is statistically highly unlikely Swetnick is not telling the truth.
Simcha says: "It stinks to see otherwise decent people making the deliberate choice to be callous in the face of suffering" - exactly Bill. No Christian empathy whatsoever. No desire for the truth. Gender identity rules. Shame on Simcha for going along with this.

Silvia Gosnell
2 months 2 weeks ago

Tim: I missed overlapping with Brett Kavanaugh at Yale - he was a freshman in the college right after I'd graduated, at a time when I was a first-year student at the law school (which he would eventually attend). What's interesting to me is that he chose to join DKE (a.k.a. "Deke") as an undergraduate. In the 1980s DKE was the only "Greek" fraternity at Yale. It accounted for a very small portion of the social life on campus. In other words, DKE was a deliberate choice for those who were its members... and it was not a good crowd. Think Animal House on steroids. It earned its reputation for over-the-top drinking and bad behavior toward women. In later years its charter was revoked when DKE members led the following chant during freshman rush season (a reference to women's consent... please forgive the crudity): "'No' means 'Yes"! 'Yes' means anal!" Of course this doesn't prove that Brett Kavanaugh did what he's accused of doing, but it does suggest that he chose to place himself in a group with a culture that not only allowed that type of behavior but encouraged it. It doesn't say everything, but it says a lot. I encourage you to consider that in conjunction with the insights presented in this article from Commonweal: https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/improper-formation

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Silvia - I would look to Judge Kavanaugh's temperament as a Judge on the second highest court for the last 12 years as the best guide for his judicial temperament. The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary was unanimous in awarding its highest rating of well-qualified to Kavanaugh. The ABA standing committee evaluates nominees based on professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament. That ABA committee stands by that rating despite the Chairman of ABA (a Clinton donor) recent comments.
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/american-bar-association-commit…

A Fielder
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thank you Bill for your sensitive and balanced social analysis of these challenging current events. It's nice to hear a man that can speak credibly about gender issues. I agree that Catholics committed to justice should feel at home in our political landscape, even if some of the of the conversations are difficult.

I'll never be a senator, but if I were able to ask Dr Ford a question, this is what it would be. "Let's assume hypothetically, that your claim is true and that what you allege did indeed happen 36 years ago. Recognizing that the statute of limitations is expired, and there will be no conviction, what is your opinion on the gravity of consequences/discipline that should be applied to Judge Kavanaugh? I ask this because I am afraid that in the court of public opinion, the actual consequences to Judge Kavanaugh (even if he did do these things) could possibly be too severe. How will you/we know when justice is really done?"

Bill McGarvey
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks for your comment, A Fielder. As I mentioned in the piece, this isn't a court of law but a job interview, so I'm not sure whether their are any legal repercussions for Judge Kavanaugh. In terms of justice being done, this is not a question of guilt or innocence but the nominee's fitness to be given a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Questions of character must be taken into account and given the very real questions raised by his testimony--as I predicted, more former classmates are coming forward and saying that his denials of a history of excessive drinking are not credible--I think his nomination should be withdrawn. I have no doubt that this is incredibly painful for the judge and his family but no one is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court. I also think he played the choirboy card a bit too much so he can't back down from the reality check that other people are forcing on him.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 2 weeks ago

Bill
This attempt at creating a"job interview exception" to the usual application of the concepts of American justice is pure and utter hogwash. Ask any Human Resources Officer if he will send any negative allegation or comment respecting a former employee to a prospective new employer of that person. They won't do so and for good reason: If that comment or allegation has not been corroborated then there is going to be big payment by the former Employer to the former employee ....as well as huge legal bills if it is not quickly settled. These Human Resource Officershave been well trained in the application of basic legal principles which you have cavalierly dismissed.
Somehow or other Progressives whose bailiwick is allegedly the best interest of "the working dude" has suddenly decided it does not matter if that person is denied a job based on uncorroborated allegations.
An entitled , white male who is Catholic is not stripped of his rights as your "exchange" clearly implies. Justice does not recognize exceptions based on gender, race or religion. The law does not comprehend a "Toxic Masculinity " exception nor does it grant additional rights to "long oppressed feminists". THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "JOB INTERVIEW EXCEPTION "

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

Stuart, people are using "job interview" as a proxy for "congressional nomination hearing", with its advice and consent role. But you keep insisting that "this" (the Kavanaugh nomination hearings and process) is not a job interview.

I believe the Senate Judiciary Committee in this case could be understood appropriately as conducting phase 2 of an interview process: a "group job interview" of the CEO's favored candidate in a situation where a candidate has to "pass" an interview with a small group of managers before phase 3 in which the entire management team makes a decision to hire or not. If the CEO's choice fails that committee interview, he's removed from consideration.

Part of the process, from the get-go, is an understanding that the phase 2 interviewers and the CEO can request and review additional information before the vote to determine if the candidate will be approved to move on to phase 3.

No job candidate in his or her right mind, if they wanted the job, would decline to support such a request for additional information UNLESS
#1: they think the job isn't worth the hassle and wait (in which case they won't get the job); # 2: they think they shouldn't HAVE to provide additional information (in which case they won't get the job);. # 3: they are concerned about what will turn up, how that info might be perceived and whether it will cost them the job (in which case they won't get the job).

You can twist yourself in knots about what is and isn't allowed in job interviews and reference requests managed by HR departments, etc.

But this is not that kind of "job interview" --- remember, that term is being used as a pproxy--- and it is clear that everyone directly involved, including Judge Kavanaugh, understands that perfectly well.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 1 week ago

J Brookbank
Kavanaugh has been accused of "criminal conduct" which disqualifies him from appointment as a Supreme Court Justice.
Suggesting that this is just a "job interview" is ludicrous just in the light of the the Democrats' demand that Kavanaugh "must prove he is innocent" ( Senators Coons , Whitehouse Hirono etc")....innocent of what?....a crime! . That Democratic position illustrates exactly why this is not a job interview but actually a trial of an alleged disqualifying crime.
The words "Job Interview" is indeed,as you put it. "a proxy" ............it is a proxy/excuse for suspending all the basic rules of American justice. Judge Kavanaugh understands fully that he has been accused of a crime....an uncorroborated allegation of a crime.
All of you using this "Job Interview proxy " phrase are simply cloaking/hiding your suspension of the basic rules of American Jurisprudence for pure , crass political purposes.
I am not twisting myself, or my vocabulary....you are!

J Brookbank
2 months 1 week ago

Stuart, I absolutely hear your frustration that this specifuc candidate's credibility has been damaged. In his response to reports of sexual assault, misconduct and problematic drinking as an adult and late teen, he has made choices that have forever impacted his credibility and suitability for SCOTUS and that seems likely to now cost him the appointment he so desires. That is very painful.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 1 week ago

J Brookbank
I have no trouble with anyone's credibility...including Ms Ford's.
.As a lawyer for over 50 years I do have immense trouble with the completely misleading statements of the basics of American Jurisprudence which you and others have been consistently and frankly quite ignorantly spouting. The fact that these legal principles are emeshed in political views and circumstances does not obviate their application or provide an excuse for your distortions. . There are no gender, race, political affiliation ,educational credential , etc etc exceptions to these principles..

J Brookbank
2 months 1 week ago

Everyone gets it, Stuart, that Kavanaugh has been accused of a crime. This, however, is not a criminal proceeding and, in this non-criminal proceeding, the decision-makers are entirely within their legal rights to take into their final consideration re: suitability the candidate's response to the need to set in motion the publicly known and standard investigatory process. That the legal system doesn't allow a person to be presumed guilty if s/he does not willingly or graciously or calmly participate in investigations is entirely beside the point in *****this context******.

Additionally It would be unwise and injudicious (and I can imagine perhaps against the law) for anyone to make and document an official and affirmative statement that this candidate is guilty of a crime if the allegations are not corroborated.

But absolutely no one in ******this context******* is legally obligated to presume he is innocent absent corroborating evidence that he IS.

I believe Kavanaugh understands that: there are reports of evidence in the form of preserved text messages recealing that Kavanaugh sought to gather information -----BEFORE the New Yorker story was published on July 23 ---- that he believed would be supportive of conclusion that he did not treat Ramirez as alleged.

Again, I understand your frustration.

It is terribly frustrating for this candidate and his supporters and is and would be agonizing for any other person confronted with this challenging situation.

You continue to assume I am arguing from a partisan position. You are wrong. The Supreme Court isnot supposed to be partisan in its construction or functioning. I have acknowledged elsewhere that I absolutely understand and agree with you that partisanship is alive and well in this process. That doesn't mean *I* am being partisan. I wasn't paying attention precisely because SCOTUS nominations have become so political BY ALL SIDESand, right now, I am fed up with the ugliness of our politics ON ALL SIDES so have given myself permission to tune out BOTH SIDES for awhile. I tuned in when I read about the sexual abuse allegations and stayed tuned in because the process interests me.

(PS
In Judge Kavanaugh's shoes, the hearing participant I would be most upset with (other than myself) would be Senator Lindsey Graham. Had Graham not signalled with his outburst (as I believed he did) that Kavanaugh should remain on the aggressively defensive (in the hopes, I think, of provoking overt aggression from other Senators), I believe it possible Kavanaugh's prepared statement may have been received by most as simply the outrage of a wrongly accused man. Kavanaugh made a poor choice in following Graham's lead:. Graham already has his job and a tantrum can't cause it to be taken from him. Kavanaugh was auditioning for a job and his tantrum absolutely may cost him. Graham was no friend to his friend that day. I imagine Senator Graham and Judge Kavanaugh will both see that someday and be sorry for it.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 1 week ago

J.
At first I thought you simply did not understand ...
Then I thought perhaps you had read some misleading texts on the law....
Now I understand that you know fully that your assertions concerning the law and corroboration are wrong but obdurate in their continued assertion simply because they are the critical underpinning of your political position.. As another commentator before me noted to you....you are incapable of maintaining an argument based on facts and the law.....this is my last comment to you on this blog with the gravest caveat to others reading your screed: you simply do not what you are talking about.

J Brookbank
2 months 1 week ago

Stuart, the courts-based presumption of innocence is inextricably linked to a whole slew of courts-based requirements and rules, including a full criminal investigation, not an investigation which is limited in scope and time and does not even include law enforcement interviews of the accuser and accused, let alone all available leads and discrepancies.

We are each stating arguments being made by legal experts and we, like they, disagree.

Jorge Luis Luaces Rabaza
2 months 1 week ago

Stuart, keep posting. Your comments are some of the few intelligent ones on this forum while others are just screeds. You can tell a great deal about the animus of a commenter when they violate TOS: full names are required to post comments. Using initials, incomplete names or sarcastic titles merit no attention whatsoever

Tim O'Leary
2 months 2 weeks ago

"Sensitive and balanced" - Fielder is being sarcastic.

A Fielder
2 months 2 weeks ago

Speak for yourself, Tim. I meant to give a sincere compliment.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Fielder - I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. It was my mistake about your character. Thank you anyway for your sensitivity and balance.

Andrew Strada
2 months 2 weeks ago

Does anybody around here actually care if he did it or not? Or is this just another opportunity to pontificate and advance an agenda?

Douglas Fang
2 months 2 weeks ago

This is the first time that I follow a SCOTUS hearing process. At the beginning, as the Editor of America has pointed out, I agreed that Kavanaugh is a good choice of the SC. However, after watching the hearing, I changed my mind. Of all the arguments that try to defend Judge Kavanaugh, they completely ignore these 2 facts:

1. Kavanaugh could not control his anger and temper in his speech. He showed a very high level of partisanship in his speech and thus will haunt him and taint his rulings if he ever becomes a SC Justice. It will further divide the country that is already extremely polarized.

2. Kavanaugh never answered directly to the questions about his drinking problems. According to Charles Ludington, a classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Yale University has come forward with his account of “violent drunken behavior by Kavanaugh in college”. So, he basically lied, hid, or denied his drinking problems. Is there a possibility that he did assault Dr. Ford in one of his drinking bouts and forgot about this? Probable but not impossible.

He may be completely a good person for a quite a while later. But his lack of courage and honesty to accept his problems of the past will make his qualifications to be an impartial justice at the SC highly questionable.

Bill McGarvey
2 months 2 weeks ago

Ludington's statement is the sort of thing I was thinking about when I mentioned more people coming forward. Once this tree has been shaken I believe more will continue to fall out. He simply isn't credible on his version of his younger years.

CAROLYN GWADZ
2 months 2 weeks ago

While I am completely sympathetic to the MeToo spirit of the times and glad to see a growing sensitivity toward women who've been abused, I have to say that I was not particularly impressed by Dr. Ford's story. So many gaps in memory and detail and no corroborative witnesses. But, what I found grossly unfair is the assault on Kavanaugh for alleged, alleged, unseemly behavior in his high school days. People grow up. Like Sts. Augustine, Francis, Ignatius (all womanizers) - and ourselves! One of my children is Kavanaugh's age, attended a prep school in DC and caused me great consternation in her high school days because of the parties and drinking that were temptations for kids then. Presently, she is working in a high level position at a prestigious university, has become "a person for others" and the most altruistic person I know, in part because of the powerful influence of the teachers who influenced her in her Catholic prep school , who contributed to her adolescent discernment growth - at the same time those crazy parties were going on. I'm certainly grateful her present employer did not take time to "investigate" every adolescent indiscretion in her history but assessed her on the character and accomplishments that shine from her in maturity. What breaks my heart in this confirmation process is seeing the viciousness of my fellow countrymen and women, and what our political system has become.

Bill McGarvey
2 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks for your comment, Carolyn. I have to take exception to the idea that what Judge Kavanaugh is accused of is simply an "adolescent indiscretion." There are plenty of people I've known who have partied excessively without resorting to the sort of behavior the judge has been accused of. The fact that other classmates are coming forward to challenge his claim that he was never incoherently drunk also does not bode well for the way he characterized his past.

Stanley Kopacz
2 months 1 week ago

When Kavanaugh or one of his corporatist clones becomes a Supreme Court Justice for the rest of my lifetime, I'll definitely shift to alcohol use. It'll help to wash down the Fentanyl.

John Borgia
2 months 1 week ago

Now they decide he has a drinking problem? I thought Barack Obama said that he had a history of cocaine use and smoking weed. Did that translate into a drug problem that would disqualify him from being president?

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 2 weeks ago

Bill and Simcha,
When you speak of Judge Kavanaugh's reply to Senators Feinstein and Harris's questions telling him to call for an FBI Investigation, you say, “If he didn’t do it, damn, I think he would WANT an investigation. He wants his new title to be JUSTICE, for crying out loud!”
That sounds like you are making him the new topic for bullies.
And it also sounds like neither you nor Feinstein, nor Harris did fact checking about calling the FBI. Well perhaps the two US Senators did and were trying to prey on the emotions of hurting women. And knew the answer.
The victim of the crime calls for the FBI Investigation. The President, or the employer of the Federal Employee calls for the FBI investigation. When Judge Kavanaugh answered that he has the statements of the four people Ford named as witnesses and none of them corraborate her statements. He has answered as a Judge is supposed to answer. He is not the victim, nor is he the Federal employer. He is the interviewee for the job. The question of calling for an investigation is properly left to the President in this case. And Kavanaugh was deferring to that.
As to you points about women being sexually harassed. I wish you had given us the statistics. I wish you had a study of this.
I think what this was subtly getting at is the question of abortion in the instance of rape. I also think it is important to give hope to my daughter that there are rules for proper behavior of boys and men.
I do not see Kavanaugh as the post boy for a powrful man who abuses women.
And I believe Ford that she was sexually assaulted. I think it was not Kavanaugh.
Is this the way to empower women? I don't think so. I this the way to give hope that people are listening to women? I think Metoo has already done that.
Is this an example of boys needing the good and holy Alpha Man Model? You bet.
Are we giving it to boys and girls through this public spectacle outside a court of law of Ford's 36 year old experience?
Is this empowering of women?

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Bill,
Thank you for this.
I wonder if there are statistics on how many women are sexually assaulted every year and don't report it.
I think if we want to have a really serious public confrontation about sexuality today that it would be a good idea to take the Barbie dolls off the store shelves and put them behind the counter with the grown up magazines.

KATHERIN MARSH
2 months 2 weeks ago

Toy store shelves

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Bill - the statistics you cite have little relation to a story that has such political consequences and political motives for coming forward. But, even then, we have today a proven fabrication of a rape (link below), the false allegation against bishop Rhoades (link below), and the case of the majority of allegations against the 26 priests in the Philadelphia Grand Jury (link below). I know from your past writings that you are a left-wing Clintonite (sexual crimes notwithstanding) and am happy to argue about them and your use of data. What got me so outraged here is the sheer anti-Christian callousness you expressed about Kavanaugh and his family, under a title "How should Christian..."

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/bishop-rhoades-cleared-of-wrong…
https://www.foxnews.com/us/dentists-accused-in-las-vegas-resort-rape-ca…
http://archphila.org/HHHIC/hhhic.php

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

I appreciate this. My best friend and I are both Catholics but there it stops. She is a consersative Republican Trump voter who watched every minute of the hearings. I am a progressive Democrat Clinton voter which watched every minute of the hearings. We saw very different hearings. Because we refuse to destroy our 30 year friendshio, we also refuse to speak together through "talking points", through assumptions that *I know you are thinking this because another person who is ___ said they think like this", etc. We ask each other "what do you mean by that?" We know who the other person is in day-to-day life and we return again and again to that ground when either of us begins to make an "other" of our closest friend or the people involved in this mess.

And in this way we have made progress in understanding and coming to some shared perspectives.

K Byrne
2 months 2 weeks ago

Good for you both in keeping your friendship -- very mature and actually hopeful. I would hope all the "haters" would take note. As for the hearing, no -- you saw the same hearing but have different reactions. If you are a Clinton supporter, you are ok with ignoring the dual standard pushed by the Democrats and progressives. You are ok with Clinton criminal behavior. You are ok with the dishonesty of "I never inhaled" or "I never had sex with that woman" -- and you are ok with Hilary Clinton's condoning and ignoring that activity. So, why is it now suddenly an issue with the Democrats with Kavanaugh? Why did Dr .Ford lie and say she had to drive and could not fly to Washington to testify because of her trauma, and then after getting her delay (to prepare her testimony) she flew to Washington. Keeping the friendship is great. Ignoring the truth is not. The two are not inconsistent.

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

Hi K --- thanks for celebrating our friendship. And for modeling exactly the kind of assumptions we avoid and, having avoided those assumptions, we learn from each other and grow. Peace to you.

Bill McGarvey
2 months 2 weeks ago

J Brookbank, sounds like a good friendship where the desire to trust and respect each other runs deep.

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

Yes. It is a blessing beyond measure. It has been a profoundly happy paradox, the discovery that this truth about our friendship is giving each of us a great sense of security in these uncertain times. We have been surprised to find that WE are the oasis in this storm. Neither of us is finding comfort in the Echo Chambers of our "sides", though we each admit we continue to seek our respective Echo Chambers. And, then, when we are exhausted and demoralized by the trap of ANY echo chamber, we offer each other the security of knowing that it IS possible to live the second commandment even when we are, as my friend says, "baffled and sometimes gobsmacked that you belong to the opposition". It is ironic that the calmest and most trustworthy relationship we each have, in this moment of deeply rancorous disagreement, is with the person with whom we disagree the most. Thank you, God.

Tim O'Leary
2 months 1 week ago

Brookbank - did you support the impeachment of Bill Clinton for having oral sex with an intern in the white house? Did you support Hillary Clinton who multiple times enabled the women Bill assaulted? Did you support the Clintons after a highly credible accusation of actual rape of Ms. Broaddrick by an adult Bill Clinton was being investigated? Just wondering what you really believe about sexual harassment?

Guillermo Nery
2 months 2 weeks ago

Despite Kavanaugh’s Catholic background, and his own statements, he has been accused of a crime. A pause is required to test the validity of this credible claim, despite any desire to have him approved to a position in the Supreme Court.

Guillermo Nery
2 months 2 weeks ago

.

Randal Agostini
2 months 2 weeks ago

I had no doubt that this article would at least infer a guilty plea for Kavanaugh, however I saw a different picture:
After anyone has been assaulted or violated there is invariably a change of character. The assault lingers in the mind almost as fresh as the moment it occurred. The memories are usually accompanied by unusual facts of an assailants behavior or appearance. The assault is retold with vigor and clarity recalling directly from memory - not a sheaf of notes.
A Judge, especially one with his experience and his belief in fairness as pillars of his career would be totally indignant. In his mind there would be no need for any investigation - because everything he has done in his life he believes screams of innocence.
I was however a little disappointed that Kavanaugh is not fully invested in the Love of God, where he would find sanctuary, peace and poise in this most desperate of times..
What this farce showed was that the Senate nor any political entity should not be allowed to come near any future nominee. I was a disgrace to put people through such mental and degrading torture. I challenge any hypocrite of any persuasion to find virtue in what is taking place.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The act of planting a garden is the easier part: It’s the small daily acts of caring over the long haul that can be a challenge.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 15, 2018
So what is it about these cheesy, mass-produced films that make them so irresistible?
Colleen DulleDecember 14, 2018
Last year, 'America' published “An (unconventional) Advent Playlist.” This is my (much more conventional) Advent playlist.
Molly MattinglyDecember 14, 2018
Jeff Daniels in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (photo: Julieta Cervantes)
Two starry new Broadway productions have no qualms about speaking their mind.
Rob Weinert-KendtDecember 14, 2018