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Columns

Eleventh-Hour Slander

September 17, 2018 - 7:00am

After several days of showboating and judicial hazing, Democrats pulled out their biggest weapon against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh -- a letter from an anonymous woman claiming sexual misconduct in high school.

There are no words -- except perhaps desperate, scurrilous and embarrassing to anyone with a conscience and a grown-up brain.

The letter apparently has been in the custody of Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein since July, but it only recently surfaced. Feinstein says she didn't mention it sooner out of concern for the accuser's privacy and because the events were too far in the past to merit discussion, according to a source close to the California senator who spoke to the New Yorker. Under pressure from colleagues, however, she turned it over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Democrats surely were hoping the letter would prompt a federal inquiry and stall Kavanaugh's confirmation until after the midterm elections, when they hope to take over the Senate. But the bureau didn't take the bait. It added the letter to Kavanaugh's file but has not opened a criminal investigation. The allegations, which Kavanaugh vehemently denies, refer to when he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the 1980s. During a party, he allegedly held down and tried to force himself on a student from another school.

As awful as the allegation about Kavanaugh is (and one is justified in questioning its veracity under the circumstances), the use of an anonymous document to undermine him at a time when he's poised to become a Supreme Court justice is dreadful. Equally terrible was the recent unnamed op-ed from a White House insider underscoring President Trump's incompetence. No regular reader of this column would mistake me for a Trump supporter. But fairness and journalistic integrity took a hit with The New York Times' publication of the op-ed. In the newspaper world I inhabit, Anonymous doesn't get a byline.

Nor should Kavanaugh's accuser get a public hearing, especially under such clearly political circumstances. In today's #MeToo environment, a mere suggestion can be treated as an indictment -- and little imagination is required to make the leap to guilty. A letter of this sort by itself is of no value to the public other than to confirm that the U.S. Senate now traffics in gossip. And at a time when journalists are concerned with "alternative facts" and Trump's war on truth, how much faith can we put in the facts and truth of an anonymous letter or op-ed?

In the meantime, 65 women who have known Kavanaugh since his high school years signed a letter addressed to both Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Feinstein affirming Kavanaugh's good character.

"In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect," the letter said. "That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day."

So here we are debating an adolescent boy's qualifications to become a Supreme Court justice. What's next, his potty training?

Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is displeased with the way Kavanaugh has been treated by the Senate. Speaking last Wednesday at the George Washington University Law School, a day before Feinstein disclosed the letter, Ginsburg called the Kavanaugh hearings "a highly partisan show." She recalled both her own and Justice Antonin Scalia's "truly bipartisan" hearings in better days.

After she was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg was confirmed in two months by a vote of 96-to-3. Scalia, whom she described as "certainly a known character," was confirmed unanimously. "Every Democrat and every Republican voted for him," she said.

"That's the way it should be. ... The Republicans move in lockstep, and so do the Democrats. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have it go back to the way it was," said the 85-year-old jurist.

Brava, Madam Justice, brava.

Clearly, both political parties are responsible for the highly partisan show now taking place, but Democrats currently lead what appears to be a race to outdo the other in bad form. A lower point is hard to imagine.

Bipartisanship (and fairness) may be forever beyond our reach, but we should at least be aware of our participation in this dismal prospect. There is a way back to the better times of which Ginsburg spoke, though it will require great courage and character -- to confirm the highly qualified Kavanaugh with a bipartisan vote.

Alas, there's no such thing as a magic wand.

Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

 

Comments

But what if it is true?

But what if it isn’t? What if it is just a lie designed (as most suspect) to delay or cancel the Kavanaugh confirmation? Would the Democrats willingly sacrifice Professor Ford in order to advance their cause? Absolutely they would, the ends justify the means

You mean like "Santa Claus", the "Easter Bunny", "Superman", "Bugs Bunny", "Mickey & Minnie"...????? (C'mon "Barbara"?... How many indiscretions were YOU involved in way back in high school???) (NONE you loudly protest??!!??....See, YOU protest indignantly and loudly if it weren't actually true...or, even if it WAS true... It's like the "OLD QUESTION", (Do you still beat your Wife?) IT'S A TRAP!!!. "Adult life" is for "grownups" Barbara; NOT for LIARS nor 'contemptible' LIARS at the behest manipulative political LIARS !)

The "actions" of obstreperous Democrats today are seditious, legally actionable, and subject to prosecution under the tenets of our "U.S. Constitution".....NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW ! {Unfortunately, the FBI and the JUSTICE DEPT, are "not the Agencies of old" when AGENTS came from the ranks of EXPERIENCED Police Depts around the country (those Agents are STILL dependable and honorable); HOWEVER, The FBI, over many decades, has recruited lawyers and accountants right out of our LIBERAL colleges, and made them substandard agents given "passes" in their training}. These "agents" have risen in the ranks until they have reached Administrative & Leadership levels that they are LARGELY unsuitable for....THEY ARE NOT THE FBI AGENTS OF OLD ! The U.S Justice Dept. has also, over decades, been inundated with with the "Affirmative Action products" of LIBERAL colleges and universities, to the detriment of "blindfolded Lady Justice". WE THE PEOPLE are "are in the hands" of increasingly inept Federal Agencies and their minions, Folks.... BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL IN YOUR VOTE SELECTION FOLKS.....Our continued "freedoms" depend upon YOUR choices ! ! !

The Democrats have sunk to a new low and its disgusting.

And the Republicans have taken the high road with Manafort, Cohen, Flynn, Gates, et. al. ... and, now, Kavanaugh? If there's anything or anybody that's "low" here, it's Trump, his lickspittle accolytes, and a nefarious House and Senate leadeship who acquiesce to the Trump Trash!

Someone’s lying. She took and passed a polygraph administered by a former FBI agent; and now Kavanaugh’s calling her a liar. Time to put up or shut up, Brett?

SAYS WHO ? Time to put up or shut up, "Anon"?

How valid could the lie detector be when she cannot remember the date ( "early 80s") the location (somebody's house by a country club) and never mentioned it to anyone for three decades, and even then stated she was attacked by a group of boys.

My problem with this is if it was a real issue, why wasn't this brought up before he became a supreme court candidate? Magically, now if appears... I think #Meetoo, has unfortunately become #witchhunt....and not like Trump's witchhunt either, 5 indictments doesn't qualify...

"Fabrication is a convenient thing"...... almost ALWAYS utilized by liars, at the behest of manipulators for political and/or profit motives. IF legitimate, "STAND UP" and file your complaint in a LEGAL DEPOSITION... (OR remain quiet in your "hide-y-hole" misery..!)

Yes I agree this was an obviously a disgusting attempt to stop an immensely qualified person, Mrs. Ford...………..As they have a chance to get though all the nominie's records thy are finding more lies he told to the committees is why repubs are trying to rush this through when they blocked for no reason 14 months the dems last choice...………..The only reason to rush this is to keep facts from getting out we are seeing.

Parker, how would you feel if you were that woman?...…………….She has never been anonymous as her name was always known by select people because of people like you raking her through the coals that proved correct, unlike you...……And she brought it forward months ago....…...Because of people like you, Grassley, etc she is coming out after being raked through the coals like here and we find out there is evidence from her therapist's notes and she took a lie detector test and she is an upstanding person...…………..Now you, many other abuse the victim shows you, them, just what you are, abusers...…………..Will you apologize for abusing her too?

Nice try at shaming. This is obviously a disgusting attempt to stop an immensely qualified person.

"jerry" is a "sick puppy" recognized by ALL !

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