Letter 2 America for September 25, 2018

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Dear America,

As the world knows, a new allegation about, let's call it inappropriate sexual behavior has arisen against Brett Kavanaugh.  This time, allegedly, he just pressed his exposed penis against the cheek of a young woman at Yale during a drunken dorm party at Yale.  He didn't attempt to disrobe anyone...supposedly.  The woman involved, then in her late teens as a freshman at Yale, is now in her fifties, like the good judge, and she isn't quite confident in her memory of the event, though, it must be added, there don't seem to be first-hand witnesses who could share or refute her recollection.  Some classmates have come forward claiming that if the event had occurred, they would have heard about it--a dubious and presumptuous claim of social prominence that invites incredulity.  That's especially so in light of the existence of some sort of email chain among other classmates regarding the purported event and what are called "prior consistent statements" that have evidentiary weight when a witness is impeached regarding her account of an event.  To sum it all up, this is not hard evidence of misconduct, but it is significantly more than nothing at all as the Republicans would characterize it.

What is just as persuasive to me is information about Kavanaugh from his old friend, Mark Judge, himself an admitted reprobate, who has referred to Kavanaugh as what might be called a fellow traveler.  Judge says that Kavanaugh was in a group who pledged to consume a hundred kegs of beer while at Georgetown Prep, a school attended by both in the early eighties when neither had been of legal age to drink for long, if at all.  Judge has written auto-biographical publications that name Kavanaugh in the context of questionable personal values shared by the two, which doesn't mean in and of itself that Kavanaugh was the reprobate that his friend Judge was, but it certainly doesn't redound to Kavanaugh's credit that he was drawn to such a character as Judge confesses to have been.  And while none of this constitutes an air-tight case against Kavanaugh, the issue isn't whether he is guilty of anything.  The issue is whether he is of the kind of character we want seated on the U.S. Supreme Court, which gets me to my point.

When Clarence Thomas was being confirmed by The Senate in 1991, notably by the slimmest margin ever at that time, 52-48, much was made of the testimony of Anita Hill regarding Thomas's unseemly conduct while head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  My reaction to it all was that Thomas was an awkward guy who didn't know how to approach women, and he made some choices that may not have risen to the level of odious, but they were certainly inappropriate.  That wasn't disqualifying in my mind, though frankly, I didn't much like his politics.  What was disqualifying to me was that he lied during his testimony, not just about the events recounted by Anita Hill, but about other things he didn't want to talk about.  For example, he was a student at Yale--an interesting coincidence--when Roe vs. Wade was being discussed everywhere in legal circles.  But when he was asked about his opinion on the matter, he said he had none, and that he had never been involved in discussions about the case.  I don't see how he could have been at one of the two most prestigious law schools in the world without even inadvertently getting drawn into a conversation about a case that still gets discussed by every class that graduates from every law school in the United States to this day, if not in classes, at least informally.  What bothered me to the extent of disqualifying him for the Supreme Court in my mind was not that he was an awkward nerd.  It was that he was a liar, and presumably still is.

So now you know why I oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.  He seems to have been an aspiring wild child, though if only these two incidents occurred in his youth, he didn't aspire too hard; Brett the nerd prevailed over his Dorian Gray side.  They certainly discredit him, but whether they should keep him off the Supreme Court is at least open to debate.  However, the fact that he is lying about it means that he is dishonest.  And if he has convinced himself that he is being wronged because these things have come out, which is what his denials suggest, he is intellectually dishonest as well, and that isn't a quality we want in a person we call Mr. Justice.   

Your friend,

Mike

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on September 25, 2018 2:05 PM.

Letter 2 America for September 22, 2018 was the previous entry in this blog.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on September 25, 2018 2:05 PM.

Letter 2 America for September 22, 2018 was the previous entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.