Kavanaugh saga is tale of hypocrisy:… sanity and decency in short supply  – By Mohamed Hamuludin

Kavanaugh saga is tale of hypocrisy and sanity and decency in short supply  

By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

Reactions to the allegation that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted at least one woman have ranged from the absurd to the ridiculous among his supporters.

Gina Sosa, a former Florida congressional candidate, offered this defense: “Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school? We’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school, with testosterone running high.”

 Irina Villarino took it a step further: “In the grand scheme of things, my goodness, there was no intercourse. There was maybe a touch. Really? Thirty-six years later she’s still stuck on that?”    

North Dakota congressman Kevin Cramer, a candidate for the U.S. Senate: “It was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere. This case is even more absurd because these people were teenagers when this supposed, alleged incident took place. These are teenagers who evidently were drunk according to her own statements.”

South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman tried to be funny: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had accused President Abraham Lincoln of groping her.

And, as two more accusers spoke out against Kavanaugh, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro theorized that the women suffered from “hypnosis” gone “awry.”

A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forward to accuse the nominee of sexual misconduct while they were in Yale Law School. Attorney Michael Avenetti produced a third accuser, Julie Swetnick, and the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland reported that “an alleged witness to an unspecified incident involving Kavanaugh that occurred in high school in the 1980s” had asked police to launch an investigation. Still, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will decide Kavanaugh’s fate, is insisting that only he and Blasey Ford will be allowed to testify. That could change by the time this is being read but so far Republican leaders are not budging. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have all insisted that Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Kavanaugh, who has rejected the accusation, took the unusual step of going on television to defend himself.

The refusal to delay the proceedings pending an investigation, ideally by the FBI, is in stark contrast to McConnell’s blocking for some 400 days a hearing on then President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. That allowed Trump to put Neil Gorsuch on the court and nominate Kavanaugh. It has been left to the Democratic minority on the committee to press for a full airing of the accusation, a responsible step that the Republicans claim is playing politics. But it seems that the confirmation will succeed both in the committee and in the full Senate. That could influence the mid-term election on Nov. 6 but by then it would be too late.

The Supreme Court, which, in recent years was split 4-4, with one swing vote, will have a solid 5-4 conservative majority for at least a generation – one of them, ironically, another candidate who squeezed past allegations of sexual misconduct —  by claiming he was the victim of “high-tech lynching”: Clarence Thomas, whose accuser was Anita Hill. It is further ironic that the Democrats, who are now furious over the Kavanaugh nomination, voted to confirm Thomas when they had the majority, with then Judiciary Committee chairman Joe Bidden – later the other part of the Obama presidency – refusing to call two witnesses who were willing to testify for Hill.

There are key issues besides alleged sexual misconduct that should be motivating African Americans to push for rejection of the Kavanaugh nomination and it is disappointing that they have not been showing greater interest in the hearing. It is true that, unlike the Thomas affair, this one involves mostly white folks but matters of sexual assault are not race-specific. Not many people may know that the #MeToo movement was started by an African American, Tarana Burke, a Harlem activist, 10 years ago first as a forum for poor black women who were sexually abused.

But perhaps the greatest irony in the Kavanaugh affair is that he was nominated by Trump, whom 22 women have accused of sexual misconduct, including ogling, harassment, groping, and rape, between the 1970s and 2013. The women were all named in a Business Insider story that identified them, summarized their accusations and cited Trump’s standard denial and calling them all liars. Those allegations are on top of Trump’s boasting, as heard on an Access Hollywood tape in October 2016, that he had grabbed women by their genitals.

It would be another sign of the times if a Supreme Court nominee facing intense sexual misconduct allegations gets to the high court because of a man who himself is an accused serial sexual abuser.

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who  worked for several years at The Chronicle in the 1970s and in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating to the United States in 1984 where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a commentary every week or two for The South Florida Times, where a version of the above column first appeared. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 28, 2018 at 11:07 am

    It’s back to the Democrats, with Dick Durbin of Illinois backing Dr Ford.

    As the two sides trade interpretations of the event, it might be useful to review the University of Michigan’s guide to sexual assault misconceptions. This guide provides evidence-based clarifications of sexual assault myths.

    The hearing and commentating around it has used sexual assault myths to defend arguments on both sides.

    Facts from the University of Michigan guide:

    “Likable and charming people commit violence, too.”

    “Sexual assault is a traumatic experience, and one common reaction to the overwhelming thoughts and feelings of trauma is to attempt to forget that the situation happened and to move on.”

    “Sexual assault is an act of violence, NOT sex.”

    “The consumption of alcohol does not cause sexual assault.”

    • Sam  On September 28, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      America is a cesspool of depravity and immorality. Look who they elected president and who they are going to put on the high court.

    • Sam  On September 28, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      America has lost its moral compass. Electing an amoral president and now on the verge of putting an accused serial sexual assaulter on the bench of the highest court. That’s an all time low.

  • Clyde Duncan  On September 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Kavanaugh Changes Stance on Lie Detectors, says polygraph tests “not reliable”

    The Indian Express

    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh played down the importance and reliability of lie detector tests during his confirmation hearing. But the judge wrote in 2016 that polygraph tests were an ‘important law enforcement tool’.

    As Kavanaugh’s testimony was winding down Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, asked Kavanaugh whether he had taken a polygraph examination after being accused of sexual misconduct.

    Kavanaugh said he’d be willing to do whatever the Judiciary Committee wanted, but added that polygraphs can’t be used in federal court because “they’re not reliable”. However, Kavanaugh sang a different tune just 2-years ago.

    The judge wrote in 2016 that polygraph tests were an “important law enforcement tool”.

    Kavanaugh wrote the unanimous opinion for the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., finding that the Defense Department could withhold reports about whether lie detector tests were effective under the federal public records law.

    “The Government has satisfactorily explained how polygraph examinations serve law enforcement purposes,” Kavanaugh wrote.

    Lie detectors tests are generally not accepted as direct evidence in criminal trials, but their use varies by state. Some ban them outright, others allow them if all parties consent, and some allow them as supporting, rather than direct, evidence.

    “As a judge on the D.C. circuit, Judge Kavanagh ruled they are in fact meaningful,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said Friday. “By refusing to take a polygraph, Judge Kavanaugh has failed that test.”

    Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women, putting his nomination for the high court at risk. He and one of the accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers, testified publicly before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He vehemently denied the allegations.

    Ford attorneys sent the Judiciary Committee a report on an Aug. 8 lie detector test she took that states her account of what happened was “not indicative of deception.”

  • Cyril Persaud  On October 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Not surprised by this article as it is written by a flaming liberal. GUILTY until proven innocent. I thinkbNOT

    • Trevor  On October 5, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      A Muslim who supports feminism—is that supposed to be an oxymoron? Under Islamic law, a woman’s testimony is considered not credible unless she has several witnesses who aren’t her friends, or are men….I dunno….The point is that the last person to support false accusations would be someone of the Abrahamic religions.

  • Clyde Duncan  On October 3, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Hundreds of Law Professors Sign Letters Rejecting Kavanaugh Nomination

    One letter from a group of female legal academics, say Kavanaugh is ‘unable to adhere to judicial professionalism’

    The other states his conduct “did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land”

    Jon Swaine | The Guardian UK

    Hundreds of US law professors are urging the Senate to reject Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination because of his conduct at last week’s hearing on sexual misconduct allegations.

    Signatures are being collected for two letters arguing that Kavanaugh disqualified himself with his angry and tearful remarks to the Senate judiciary committee.

    Kavanaugh claimed an allegation that he committed a sexual assault aged 17 was “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” by Democrats.

    The professors say in their letters that Kavanaugh displayed contempt towards members of Congress and showed a political bias that could call into question his future rulings. They also say his temperament is unsuited to a lifetime position on the highest court.

    Citing federal law and the American Bar Association’s code of judicial conduct, the academics note that Kavanaugh is obliged to promote “public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary” and will be required to step aside from a case if he is at risk of being perceived as unfair.

    One of the letters, from a national group of female legal educators, accuses Kavanaugh of showing a disrespect for women, after he lashed out at Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Kavanaugh later apologised for asking Klobuchar about her drinking habits when she tried to ask about his own.

    “Judge Kavanaugh’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions and women in positions of power in particular revealed that he does not have a judicial temperament and is unable to adhere to judicial professionalism,” says the letter.

    The second letter says that while the questioning Kavanaugh faced was “of course painful”, he chose to be “intemperate, inflammatory and partial” rather than assist senators trying to assess the allegation against him.

    That letter has been signed by hundreds of professors, including some from prestigious law schools such as Columbia, Harvard and Yale. The signatories say that despite having “differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh”, they are now agreed that he “did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land”.

    Kavanaugh said in his remarks that Democrats were attacking him because of their anger about Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election or as “revenge on behalf of the Clintons”, all fuelled by “millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups”.

    During the 1990s, Kavanaugh aggressively pursued investigations into then president Bill Clinton while working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

    The women’s letter says that as a result of his remarks, Kavanaugh could no longer realistically claim to be impartial when ruling on cases involving liberal groups.

    “Judge Kavanaugh’s remarks suggest he would not give fair consideration to cases that he perceived to be brought by left-leaning organisations that he has already denigrated,” they write.

    The deadline for signatures to the women’s letter was set for 8pm on Tuesday. A copy was obtained by the Guardian. Representatives of the group did not immediately respond to questions about how many professors had signed.

    Professor Bernard Harcourt of Columbia law school, one of the organisers of the second letter, said it had attracted almost 400 signatures by late Tuesday. The letter was scheduled to be delivered to the Senate at noon on Thursday.

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