The Judge rightly called out the politics of ‘search and destroy.’
By the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
Thursday’s Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was an embarrassment that should have never happened. Judge Kavanaugh was right to call the confirmation process a “disgrace” in his passionate self-defense, and whatever one thinks of Christine Blasey Ford’s assault accusation, she offered no corroboration or new supporting evidence.
Ms. Ford certainly was a sympathetic witness—by her own admission “terrified” at the start and appearing to be emotionally fragile. Her description of the assault and its impact on her was wrenching. She clearly believes what she says happened to her. Her allegation should have been vetted privately, in confidence, as she said she would have preferred. Instead ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein held it for six weeks and it was leaked—perhaps to cause precisely such a hearing circus.
Yet there is still no confirming evidence beyond her own testimony, and some of what she says has been contradicted. The female friend Ms. Ford says was at the home the night of the assault says she wasn’t there. The number of people she says were there has varied from four to five and perhaps more, but every potential witness she has cited by name says he or she doesn’t recall the party.
She still can’t recall the home where the assault took place, how she got there or how she got home that evening. She has no witnesses who say she told them about the alleged assault at the time—until she first spoke of it at a couples therapy session 30 years later in 2012. Mr. Kavanaugh’s name doesn’t appear in the notes of her therapist.
As for Judge Kavanaugh, his self-defense was as powerful and emotional as the moment demanded. If he was angry at times, imagine how you would feel if you were so accused and were innocent as he says he is. To deny the allegations as he did—invoking his children and parents and so many others who know him—and be lying would mean that he is a sociopath. If he were found to be lying, he would be impeached and probably prosecuted. Nothing in his long record in public life betrays the kind of behavior he is accused of against women.
Had he not been as forceful, his opponents would have said he looked guilty. Because he called the Democrats out for their character assassination, the critics now say he lacks the right temperament. The truth is that there is no answer, and no demeanor, that Brett Kavanaugh could offer that the left would credit. Their goal isn’t the truth. They want to destroy Judge Kavanaugh.
Republican Senators turned over their questioning of Ms. Ford to a trained prosecutor from Arizona, who attempted to clarify facts and fill holes in her testimony. Democrats showed zero interest in getting any facts from Ms. Ford. They spent their question time saying they believed Ms. Ford while badgering Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley to call other witnesses.
Yet those potential witnesses have all given sworn statements to Senate staff under penalty of felony that say they don’t recall the party or the alleged assault. Hauling them before the Senate wouldn’t illuminate the truth any more than Thursday’s hearing did.
Incredibly, Democrats spent their time with Judge Kavanaugh asking about drinking games and lines in his high school yearbook. Once Senator Lindsey Graham made that look foolish (see below), Democrats focused on their only other argument, which is that the FBI should investigate. But they well know the FBI would merely repeat the interviews they and the Senate Judiciary staff have already done.
The real Democratic goal is to push a confirmation vote past Election Day. They can then spare their incumbents running for re-election from taking a difficult vote. If they win the election, they will then try to block any confirmation until they take over the Senate in January. No nominee to the right of Merrick Garland would then be confirmed in the final two years of the Trump Presidency. The Supreme Court would be divided 4-4 until 2021 at least.
Senate Republicans should understand that these are the real political stakes. This nomination isn’t only about the fate of a single man whose reputation can be discarded like some tabloid celebrity. This is about the future of the Supreme Court and who will control the Senate. If Republicans reject Mr. Kavanaugh based on what we know now, millions of voters will rightly be furious.
But as important, a rejection will bring dishonor to the Senate. It will validate the ambush and smear politics that Democrats are using. And it will turn Supreme Court nominations over to the justice of the social-media mob and the politics of accusation. It’s time for Senators to stand up and confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
This Op-Ed first appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s September 28, 2018, print edition. It first appeared online here.