Another day, another baseless charge against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the sliming continues.
Some on the political right encouraged the Senate last week to ignore the non-credible and unsupported charges of Christine Blasey Ford and go ahead and confirm Kavanaugh to a seat on the Supreme Court. They argued that Ford's repeated requests for delays in the hearing, at the same time pronouncing that she wanted to be heard, were a delaying tactic designed to give Democrats more time to find additional accusers. Sunday night, The New Yorker magazine rolled out an article that is so flimsy that it tarnishes the solid journalism that Ronan Farrow has done exposing predators in the news media and Hollywood. (Co-author Jane Mayer has no equivalent, non-partisan journalistic credentials.)
Deborah Ramirez was a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale. Ramirez claims that while she was falling down drunk, Kavanaugh dropped his pants and put his penis in her face. Damning and disqualifying if true, but when it comes to evidence to back up the charge, Ramirez comes up with only this:
A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez. He independently recalled many of the same details offered by Ramirez, including that a male student had encouraged Kavanaugh as he exposed himself. The classmate, like Ramirez, recalled that the party took place in a common room on the first floor in Entryway B of Lawrance Hall, during their freshman year. “I’ve known this all along,” he said. “It’s been on my mind all these years when his name came up. It was a big deal.” The story stayed with him, he said, because it was disturbing and seemed outside the bounds of typically acceptable behavior, even during heavy drinking at parties on campus. The classmate said that he had been shocked, but not necessarily surprised, because the social group to which Kavanaugh belonged often drank to excess. He recalled Kavanaugh as “relatively shy” until he drank, at which point he said that Kavanaugh could become “aggressive and even belligerent.”
Note several things about this anonymous man's claims:
Let's go over some of the ways that had these been the standards by which Farrow did his investigations into Harvey Weinstein and others, nothing would've come from it.
Apparently there were several people present at this party, yet Farrow and Mayer couldn't find a single one of them to verify Ramirez's charges.
The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party. The magazine contacted several dozen classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh regarding the incident. Many did not respond to interview requests; others declined to comment, or said they did not attend or remember the party.
One of the male classmates who Ramirez said egged on Kavanaugh denied any memory of the party. “I don’t think Brett would flash himself to Debbie, or anyone, for that matter,” he said. Asked why he thought Ramirez was making the allegation, he responded, “I have no idea.” The other male classmate who Ramirez said was involved in the incident commented, “I have zero recollection.”
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and one other classmate, Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”
She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections....
The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.
It's not just The New Yorker magazine that is guilty of journalistic malpractice. Just about every mainstream media outlet and reporter has uncritically parroted these charges; allegations so flimsy that, if the parties were reversed, they wouldn't see the light of day on publication other than Gateway Pundit or Breitbart.
Former Times columnist Frank Rich had this enlightened take:
Kavanaugh’s bragging about coaching girls’ basketball is troubling in retrospect.
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) September 24, 2018
Others dishonestly claimed that the similar charges not coming out against Justice Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation somehow make these charges against Kavanaugh more credible.
Whether you believe Kavanaugh or his accusers, the theory that these allegations are cooked up by partisans who’d do it to any conservative Supreme Court pick ignores the fact that Neil Gorsuch was confirmed last year with no sexual misconduct claims—and several Democratic votes.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 24, 2018
That's the national political reporter for Bloomberg News, who is a dishonest hack or shouldn't have his job if he doesn't realize why this time is different. Simply put:
Gorsuch wasn't seen as shifting the overall perceived partisan balance of the court, #Kavanaugh is.
— Matthew Hoy (@hoystory) September 24, 2018
Alex Seitz-Wald is a political reporter for NBC News. He shouldn't have his job either.
On Sunday, the Democrats' new hero, Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono decided that Kavanaugh is guilty of the charges against him because she doesn't like his rulings. Seriously.
CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Doesn’t Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?”
— CNN (@CNN) September 23, 2018
Apparently all textualists are rapists, who knew? Mazie Hirono, that's who.
I've seen the way Hirono votes, so I'm pretty confident that charges that she puts puppies in blenders and drinks them as smoothies is true.
Today, a couple of Hirono's colleagues decided that the hundreds of years old English common law tradition of being presumed innocent until proven guilty wasn't something they were much in favor of anymore.
Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware:
Dem idea of justice: on MTP Daily, Sen. Chris Coons just said that Judge Kavanaugh "bears the burden of disproving these allegations." #tcot#BrettKavanaugh#ChristineFord#MTPDaily#DeborahRamirez pic.twitter.com/fZcouvWsXo
— Mark Finkelstein (@markfinkelstein) September 24, 2018
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, an admitted liar:
.@NoahCRothman to Blumenthal: Do you agree w/ Hirono that Kavanaugh doesn't deserve presumption of innocence?@SenBlumenthal: Yes, the "burden" is on the White House to disprove his guilt pic.twitter.com/gvFv22vH6G
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 24, 2018
Many members of the media have also been echoing Democrat talking points alleging the GOP is "rushing" Kavanaugh's nomination. There hasn't been a rush, as a chart from the Wall Street Journal demonstrates.
What the media isn't asking is why Democrats want to delay the process. Why did Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sit on Christine Blasey Ford's letter that she received in July? The letter that she neither shared with her Senate colleagues, sent to the FBI, nor brought up the allegations either during the open or closed sessions of Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate.
The answer is simple: Democrats hope to do whatever they can to push back the vote on Kavanaugh until the next Congress is seated next year in hopes that the so-called blue-wave materializes and sweeps them to a Senate majority. Then you can be sure that no Trump nominee to the Supreme Court—or likely any lower court—will be confirmed before the 2020 presidential election.
Despite numerous news reports over the weekend that Accuser-without-evidence #1 Christine Blasey Ford had agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday, that wasn't quite true. And I give better than 50/50 odds that it won't happen after Grassley announced that she wouldn't get the spectacle of a bunch of white men questioning her, instead he plans to have a staff lawyer—an experienced sex crimes investigator—do the questioning.
“In our view, the hiring of an unnamed ‘experienced sex crimes prosecutor’ as Mr. Davis described in his email, is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations,” attorney Michael Bromwich wrote. “It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s repeated requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning. This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate.”
Apparently keeping the politicians out of the questioning makes it a political circus, or something.
Unless new evidence is forthcoming—real, credible evidence, not third-hand hearsay—Republicans should hold the committee vote immediately and follow with a full Senate vote at the earliest opportunity.
Failure to confirm Kavanaugh will just about ensure a blue wave this November.
Republicans promised, if given the levers of power, to repeal Obamacare.
Republicans promised to secure the Southern border.
Republicans promised to confirm judges who read the constitution as written, without projecting their policy choices into the document.
Thus far, that's the one substantial promise they've kept.
Failure to deliver a conservative majority to the Supreme Court will be seen as a betrayal, as it should.