Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford: a non-partisan issue polluted by partisanship

October 3, 2018

This trend we’ve seen is baffling:

Even before the hearing took place, Republicans seemed to automatically believe that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not guilty of sexual assault, and Democrats seemed to automatically believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were both in high-school.

It doesn’t make sense. A sexual allegation case is not a partisan issue. It’s not a policy issue or fiscal issue. So why is it so neatly divided between party lines? 

I think we’re seeing the dire result of severe partisanship in America: it’s making an ugly invasion on justice. It’s killing objective investigation. Severe partisanship is demolishing a bulwark principle in our country: innocent until proven guilty. 

Instead, now it appears a person is automatically guilty of a crime or lying depending on which political party they ascribe to. We’re essentially judging a person’s credibility and character based on whether they’re in the same political party as us. What a bizarre, biased measuring stick!

If this trend keeps up, will America be torn asunder by the ever-growing “us vs. them” mentality? 

Association with a certain political party does not determine someone’s guilt or innocence. Let’s return to the gold standard of innocent until proven guilty. 

That means we should believe Judge Kavanaugh’s sworn testimony that he has never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford, nor anyone else. Thus far in the process, there is not any evidence that he committed sexual assault.  

An experienced, career sex-crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, was chosen to be staff counsel for last week’s Senate Judiciary committee hearing that focused on sexual allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. During the 8+ hour hearing, Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh gave their personal testimonies and were asked questions by both Mitchell and senators on the Committee. 

After independently reviewing the evidence, Mitchell said in a memorandum that “I do not think a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee” and there is not evidence “sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of evidence standard.”

Indeed, currently there is not even corroborating evidence from witnesses. Dr. Ford named three people, including her close friend Leland Keyser, who were at the gathering where the alleged sexual assault took place. All three submitted  statements and, under penalty of felony if they are lying to the Committee, said they have no knowledge of the events described by Dr. Ford. Leland Keyser said she doesn’t even know Kavanaugh. 

Granted, at times, Kavanaugh wouldn’t give direct answers, like when he was questioned about his drinking habits and whether he’s blacked out before. Is that a sign of guilt and cover-up? Or is it a sign of being careful about what he says because he’s worried about people jumping to conclusions or the media spinning his words? Some have suggested he also told small lies throughout the hearing, such as lying about what some sayings in his high-school yearbook meant, but that’s open to debate. Regardless, although that could be perjury, it does not make him guilty of sexual assault.  

Since there’s no evidence except for Dr. Ford’s testimony, I have a new nickname for those who believe Judge Kavanaugh is guilty: how does Potiphar sound? In Genesis, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and when Joseph refused and ran away, Potiphar’s wife told Potiphar that Joseph had attacked her. Potiphar unjustly threw Joseph in prison for years. 

Do we really want our truth-seeking investigation to be done by “Potiphars”? It’s time we let evidence make up our mind instead of making up our mind before we’ve even seen a lick of evidence. 

Same goes for how we should view Dr. Ford. When people said Dr. Ford is lying, even before listening to her, they’re accusing her of the crime of defamation or perjury. They’ve made her guilty until proven innocent. But it first should be assumed that Dr. Ford is telling the truth about being sexually assaulted, unless there is evidence she is lying or not remembering correctly.

Any person who comes forward with allegations of sexual assault must be taken seriously at first. We shouldn’t always expect there to be corroborating witnesses for sexual assault cases. For instance, in Dr. Ford’s case, one of the witnesses, Mark Judge, is someone also being accused, so he would have incentive to lie if the assault did happen. And if others were there downstairs, unaware of an assault happening, they would not likely remember an insignificant gathering of a few friends from decades ago. It’s unrealistic to expect they could corroborate such a gathering.

What about the timing of the allegation—doesn’t it seem politically motivated, meant to delay Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation? Yes, but such suspicion is not evidence that Dr. Ford is lying. Someone can be politically motivated and still be telling the truth.

It might be evidence that she is being taken advantage of for a political game, though. On July 6, before Judge Kavanaugh was chosen as the Supreme Court nominee, Dr. Ford contacted her local government representative and sent a tip to the Washington Post. In late July, she sent a confidential letter to the ranking Democrat of the Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein. For some reason, it was not until someone leaked part of the story to the press in September that Feinstein finally told federal investigative authorities about the contents of Dr. Ford’s letter. 

It’s true that Feinstein promised confidentiality to Dr. Ford, but Feinstein could have handled the matter confidentially. Throughout this confirmation process, Feinstein had a one-on-one with Judge Kavanaugh, there was a closed session with Judge Kavanaugh for discussing sensitive information, and Feinstein’s staff had questioned Judge Kavanaugh about other confidential background information.  Yet, Feinstein never brought up Dr. Ford’s allegations. 

Why didn’t Senator Feinstein bring it up? Is it because she was saving this in her back pocket to delay the hearings on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation? Or is it because she did not believe Dr. Ford’s story nor take it seriously? 

It’s quite maddening that the allegation did not come out until right now, and it’s true that now the Democrats can try to delay until the midterm elections. It should have been brought forward earlier. We have a right to be angry about that. But we don’t have a right to be angry at Dr. Ford, who says she believes she is doing her civic duty by sharing her story. She is not guilty of political conspiracy, acting, lying, or forgetting…unless there’s evidence that proves she is. Again, people are innocent until proven guilty—no matter what side of the political aisle they’re on. 

All that to say, let’s stop making our decisions based on party lines and start examining evidence. Otherwise, severe political partisanship will continue to attack and occupy every part of culture and society.

In Service,

Colorado Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Colorado Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Colorado citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

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