Saturday, September 22, 2018

Ford Tempo

Here's how the issue of Christine Blasey Ford's attempt to testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh  stand at this point.  After Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley set an arbitrary deadline for Mrs. Ford to agree to a time to testify and she and her attorney held out for demands to benefit her ability to present her case, the chairman kept setting the deadline further back.  And further back,.  And further back.  And so on and so on, until Mrs. Ford finally agreed to testify, and now she and her attorney are in the process of negotiating the particulars. 
What caused Grassley to be more accommodating? Probably Donald Trump's tweet in which he wanted to know why the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which would investigate Mrs. Ford's claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, didn't hear from the accuser in the early 1980s, when the assault was supposed to have taken place.  Once reminded that the FBI doesn't involve itself in sexual-assault cases involving people who have not been appointed to the judiciary due to the fact that they are teenagers, Trump then asked in a follow-up tweet why she and her "loving parents"  (his words) didn't report the assault to local authorities in Maryland, where Kavanaugh and Mrs. Ford lived.  Well - thousands if not millions have people who had been sexually assaulted took to Twitter to explain why they never reported cases of assault - because they involved family members, a star student, an employer . . . and fear of retribution was a common factor in all of these cases.  They feared not being believed or having the blame deflected to them if they were believed.
Nevertheless, the Senate Republican caucus seems hell-bent on getting Kavanaugh confirmed, and with a couple of renegade Democrats, they're likely to pull it off.  But Christine Blasey Ford can still pursue a case against Kavanaugh even if he makes it onto the Court, and what might ultimately happen is that Democrats can "Fortas" him.  I refer to what happened to former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. who in 1969 was shown to have accepted a $20,000 retainer and was believed to have entered into a tax evasion scheme with other judges.  Fortas resigned from the Court under pressure, rather than face lengthy impeachment proceedings, to save his family grief.  If Kavanaugh is confirmed and the charges against him don't go way, he could be forced off the Court like Fortas was, resigning to spare his wife and daughters further grief.
But then he'll have more time to devote to charity.
I've been led to understand that the Senate Judiciary Committee didn't do a good job the last time it looked into a sex scandal, when many of its members didn't take seriously Anita Hill's charges of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas in 1991.  The full Senate did a better job of that. Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48 - the highest negative vote ever received by a confirmed Supreme Court justice.

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