Questions About the Kavanaugh Hearing That We Aren’t Focusing On Enough, But Should Be
As The Pieces Come Together, They Don’t Paint Such a Rosy Picture
One: Christine Blasey Ford has passed a polygraph test administered by a retired FBI agent. Why doesn’t that count for more amongst people who would otherwise be inclined to consider that compelling evidence?
Two: Kavanaugh has a documented history of disembling and misled congress during his 2004 confirmation hearing for his DC Circuit Court seat. Someone who routinely tells minor untruths to get what he wants probably tells larger ones also.
During his 2004 confirmation hearings for a seat on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh was asked about his role as a White House staffer in the effort to get William Pryor confirmed for a different appeals court seat.
“No, I was not involved in handling his nomination,” Kavanaugh said then in response to questioning. But as the Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim first reported, between 2002 and 2003, Kavanaugh was included in several emails referencing the Pryor nomination. In one exchange between Kavanaugh and White House aide Kyle Sampson, Kavanaugh is asked: “How did the Pryor interview go?” He responded, “Call me.” In another email chain, Kavanaugh is included in a conversation about a conference call to “coordinate plans and efforts” around Pryor.
Three: Kavanaugh clerked for disgraced Federal judge Alex Kozinski from 1991–1992. Kozinski resigned from his life-time appointment in 2017 rather than face further investigation into the sexually charged hostile work environment that he’d created. More than 15 women accused Kozinski and gave detailed accounts of the abusive atmosphere they were exposed to, including being shown pornographic images and receiving inappropriate emails on a list circulated to everyone, the so called Easy Rider Gag List.
Kozinski was a power player, who was known to have the clout to make or break careers. He was very open about how he behaved (after all, he had a lifetime appointment) and it was no secret around the Washington, DC area. My husband, who was a lawyer in private practice in that area in the early 90s, knew all about Kozinski’s reputation. And yet, Kavanaugh, who was in the midst of it all, claims to have had no knowledge of anything inappropriate and to not have been on the email list. If he’s lying about this, what else is he lying about?
“One undisputed fact is that after his Kozinski clerkship, Kavanaugh’s legal career thrived, while Bond (who spoke openly about the abuse she experienced under Kozinski), despite also clerking on the Supreme Court, chose to leave the profession entirely.”
Four: A closer look at Kavanaugh’s high school days is not congruent with his description of himself as “good student who went to church and tried to be a good friend to everyone.” Boofed is a term referring to inserting drugs into the anus for a longer trip. “Urban Dictionary confirms that “FFFF” often is an acronym for “Find ’em, Feel ’em, Fuck ’em & Forget ’em.” Devil’s triangle is a term referring to two men and a woman having sex.
Five: Kavanaugh is a practicing Catholic and there are already 4 other justices out of 8 who are Catholics. Neil Gorsuch was raised in that faith, but now attends Episcopal church. The other three justices are of the Jewish faith, which makes up about 1.4% of the US population. Given that only 22% of the population in the US is Catholic, and that it is a denomination with very specific social outlooks, wouldn’t it better serve the country to have greater diversity and balance on the court?
But the fact that Kavanaugh, or any other judge, has personal faith by no means indicates that they can’t follow the Constitution or the laws of the land. Kavanaugh won’t be deciding cases according to the Catholic canon any more than Ginsburg is writing opinions based on Jewish law, or Halacha.
As noted above, a particular faith alone should not disqualify an otherwise qualified jurist, but it seems odd to potentially have a majority of justices come from one minority religion.
Most of the discussion around Brett Kavanaugh’s upcoming hearing before the senate seems to be focused on the plausibility of whether or not a young woman who was nearly raped would come forward years later to try to ensure that her attacker does not get a life-time appointment to the highest court in the land. But it’s certainly not the only thing for us to consider as this time.