Judge Kavanaugh

I mainly use this blog to comment on things and events I can claim to have some expertise in. American politics is just about one of those areas, having studied them, written about them and lived there for fairly long periods; but on American topics I usually defer to my far better-informed transatlantic friends. On the other hand, the present situation in America is obviously of some indirect relevance to people in other countries – direct if Trump ever starts a trade war – and the recent Kavanaugh hearing was a world event, televised in toto here in Britain, almost as a form of ghoulish entertainment.

My main question during that hearing was this. Why on earth did Judge Kavanaugh not admit to, and apologise for, at least some of the schoolboy indiscretions on his charge sheet? It is simply unbelievable that any boy could have passed through an élite American private school in the less enlightened 1980s without getting drunk quite a lot, occasionally behaving riotously, and making inappropriate advances to girls. Many adolescent boys, in the environment of that time and that society, do things they will be ashamed of afterwards. As it happens, and for what it’s worth, I believe that Kavanaugh’s ‘advances’ to Christine Blasey Ford must have gone further than merely ‘inappropriate’. But if he had denied that, but admitted some of the rest, his credibility would surely have been enhanced. And it’s possible that even if he had acknowledged the particular assault on Dr Ford, but had shown genuine contrition for it, he might have got away with that. Denying everything  however, and against the evidence of many of his contemporaries, stretches the bounds of believability to breaking point.

All of which means that he lied in any case, irrespective of the main charge, and not thirty years ago but only the other day; which is not a good character trait to take with you into the higher judiciary. As neither is the extreme political prejudice he displayed during his rants – which was clearly why the President fell in behind him after the hearing. They mirrored his own prejudices, and style. These are the main reasons – not the Ford affair; or even that unfortunate, nose-crinkling sniff – why he should certainly not become a Supreme Court justice.

People can be forgiven for youthful indiscretions. I know that I’m not the person I was at the age of 17. But obvious lying at a job interview can’t be excused. Unless, of course, you’re one of Trump’s men.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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5 Responses to Judge Kavanaugh

  1. Only naive liars admit to the truth of some of the accusations made against them; they think that by conceding some ground they will be allowed to keep their most cherished territory. However, the serious liars of history – Hitler, Goebbels, Mao, Stalin, Nixon and now Trump – have rejected this approach and have opted instead for the big lie, never allowing their opponents a hint of credibility.


  2. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of serious sexual assault. If he acknowledged the truth of her claim, he would have identified himself as a virtual felon, thus effectively disqualifying himself from any judicial office. By acknowledging the truth of any or many of the lesser claims against him – that in his youth he was a drunken and unruly character, who was also an initiator of inappropriate advances to females – the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s accusers would have been correspondingly enhanced, making her main charge much more plausible. This is why – in the end – Trump ‘chose’ (was advised to make) a total denunciation of Ford and her claims. Allowing his accuser and her accusations to possess even a small degree of credibility was judged to be a threat to Kavanaugh’s appointment.
    The US Supreme Court is exposed yet again as just another chamber of Congress.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TJ says:

    Kavanaugh was probably advised to admit nothing, appear outraged and angry (although this was counter-productive of course) and let the hearings run their course, He may have been assured his appointment would go ahead anyway once the furore had died down. This is a purely partisan appointment of a very conservative figure (although a registered Democrat), and once objections are raised becomes even more so, as in the Clarence Thomas case.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandy Tyndale-Biscoe says:

    My thoughts exactly. Why didn’t he just come clean and admit to a (probably mildly) mis-spent youth. But no; politicians (and that’s what he’ll be, judge or not) just cannot be allowed to admit to any possibility that they aren’t sqeaky clean. And the fact that he falls for that is enough to shbow that he lacks the wisdom to be a Supreme Court judge.

    Liked by 1 person

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