AP NEWS

For Blumenthal, whatever can stop Kavanaugh is OK

September 20, 2018

Almost any accusation against a 17-year-old boy may be plausible. But plausibility is not fairness, even if fairness long ago lost any standing in this country’s politics, and there are big questions of fairness in the accusation by the college professor from California who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh jumped on her and tried to rip off her clothes when he was drunk at a party while they were in high school about 35 years ago:

According to her interview with the Washington Post, the accuser can’t remember exactly when or where the incident happened, nor how she got there or left.

She never complained publicly about the incident until this week, on the eve of the Senate’s action on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

She told California Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the incident by letter in July but Feinstein, part of the Democratic opposition to Kavanaugh, kept the accusation private for two months because the accuser did not want to be identified. At first Feinstein doesn’t seem to have considered it terribly credible. But as the opposition to Kavanaugh failed to wound him, Feinstein leaked the letter while still concealing the accuser’s identity. The leaking seems to have induced the accuser to go public via the Post.

While Kavanaugh denies the accusation, even if there is something to it, the accuser has produced no evidence, and just how long are 17-year-olds to be held responsible for misbehavior that never resulted in a contemporaneous complaint? Connecticut’s Democratic state administration has been trying to achieve a “second-chance society” for youthful offenders, relieving them of lifelong responsibility for proven criminal acts. But apparently there is to be no such forgiveness for unproven and probably unprovable accusations against a teenager if decades later he is nominated to the Supreme Court and his politics are detested by Democrats.

Indeed, having learned no more of the matter than what the Post published in its interview, and without waiting for any hearing, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal declared Tuesday that he believed the accuser. Of course for political reasons Blumenthal wants to believe her, as he had declared his opposition to Kavanaugh even before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, held its hearing on the nominee.

Blumenthal said Tuesday the Senate should delay acting on Kavanaugh until the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigates the accusation, adding that the FBI should “take as long as it needs.” Minutes later the accuser herself said she didn’t want to testify to the committee until the FBI completes an investigation.

How long would that take? Maybe two months or two years, by which time a different Senate may be deciding on Supreme Court appointments or a different president may be nominating justices.

Therein lies the Democratic objective — not to prove or disprove drunken juvenile misbehavior decades ago but to prevent the appointment of another conservative to the country’s super-legislature.

Kavanaugh’s judicial ideology, not his supposed conduct as a juvenile, remains the real issue here. Blumenthal and most other Senate Democrats will oppose the nominee on any pretext, no matter the expense to due process of law or decency. To pander to the supposed sensibilities of women, mere accusation against a juvenile, unprovable and undefendable because of the passage of time, is now sufficient.

If the stakes are high enough, mere accusation, no matter how vague and opportunistic, must be believed.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

AP RADIO
Update hourly