The hearings over the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court are beginning to remind me of Rashomon. The Japanese movie, which was remade as a Western with Paul Newman, concerns several people telling their stories of a rape and murder. Except all of them differ wildly. In the end the truth comes out and all […]
The hearings over the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court are beginning to remind me of Rashomon.
The Japanese movie, which was remade as a Western with Paul Newman, concerns several people telling their stories of a rape and murder. Except all of them differ wildly.
In the end the truth comes out and all the witnesses and participants are revealed to be liars.
I fear we will never have that resolution.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is accused by Professor Christine Blasey Ford of having tried to force himself on her at a party 36 years ago when she was 15 and Kavanaugh 17.
The problem is, she can't remember the exact location or even the approximate date. She has named witnesses, and all of them dispute her account. She has mentioned the incident over the years, but apparently only identified Kavanaugh as her assailant recently.
And by the way, she's a Democrat activist.
The was brought forward in the worst possible way. Sen. Diane Feinstein knew of this accusation, sat on it for months and only brought it forward at the 11th hour. Most probably hoping to delay the confirmation vote till after the midterm elections.
Republicans who delayed confirmation of Obama's nominee are finding payback is a you-know-what.
Whatever your opinion of her veracity, this looks very bad from the viewpoint of law enforcement professionals. Even if she'd reported this at the time it was alleged to have happened they'd still have had nothing they could charge Kavanaugh with without witnesses.
And evidence decays! Memories alter and fade. Witnesses lose touch or die. 'Justice delayed is justice denied' is not idealistic moralizing but a pragmatic reality.
And yet lots of people are possessed of absolute certainty not justified by the evidence to date.
'It happened because I believe her,' a friend said.
Which sounds staunchly loyal if you're a friend, and chilling if you're worried about ever being in the position of the accused.
Now a second woman has come forth. Deborah Ramirez charges Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party at Yale.
And again witnesses have been named who deny knowledge of the alleged event.
Worse, she acknowledged her memories were foggy with drink and wasn't at first sure it was Kavanaugh, until according to The New Yorker, “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party.”
If anything good comes of this, perhaps it'll make people think about the harm that can come from participating in a culture of underage binge drinking.
But everything else is bad, whatever the outcome.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Democrats will take it as evidence Republicans trivialize sexual assault, and desire to send women back to the kitchen to be baby factories after Roe v Wade is overturned.
Republicans take the charges as a message.
'We can ruin you at any time with a mere accusation.'
And not just Republican men. A lot of women who are mothers of sons are concerned about the witch hunt atmosphere on college campuses, the eagerness to discard due process in cases of sexual assault, and a double standard when it comes to charges against Democrats such as Keith Ellison.
And some of us whose pasts are not spotless are asking, is there no forgiveness? No penitence, no passage of time sufficient to make up for harm done in our youth?
Nobody is going to win the battle over the Kavanaugh nomination, but some are going to lose worse than others.
Note: On the unreliability of memory, I looked up the Western version of Rashomon “The Outrage” which I remember clearly from decaddes ago. I remember it starred Paul Newman, Lawrence Harvey, William Shatner, and Lee Remick as the wife. Nope, it was Claire Bloom – but I can still “see” Lee Remick in the role!