Right and Left React to the Kavanaugh-Blasey Hearing

Emily Jashinsky in The Federalist:

“[T]he question for fair-minded senators now boils down to this: Does an unprovable and uncorroborated allegation that Kavanaugh did a terrible thing as a teenager — conduct that stands in contrast to what we know about his character today — disqualify him from sitting on the Supreme Court?”

Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey could both believe they are telling the truth, or one of them could be lying, Ms. Jashinsky writes, but there is no conclusive evidence either way. Absent that, she argues, Judge Kavanaugh should not be disqualified over an allegation from his teenage years that he has so resolutely denied. Read more »

Anna North in Vox:

“Again, a woman came before the Senate Judiciary Committee and had her memory, her credibility, and her sanity questioned. Again the hearing turned into a referendum on the woman, although she was neither the one accused of sexual misconduct nor the one hoping to ascend to the Supreme Court. Again, the man got the last word.”

The hearing bore a strong resemblance to the one in 1991 on Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas, Ms. North writes, even though this time there was a female prosecutor asking the questions as cover for the committee’s all-male majority. By giving Judge Kavanaugh’s recollections and outrage more weight than Dr. Blasey’s, Ms. North argues, senators showed that despite the #MeToo movement, the country hasn’t come as far as it thought. Read more »

Clover Hope in Jezebel:

“Reliving your trauma as public service feels altogether tragic, unfair, and most of all familiar. That the burden of this so-called civic duty has fallen on the survivor is unsurprising.”

Ms. Hope notes the multiple times that senators thanked Dr. Blasey for the “public service” she was performing by coming forward. She contrasts Dr. Blasey’s motivation for appearing at the hearing — concern for the future of the Supreme Court — with that of Judge Kavanaugh and Republican senators, who were there to defend his reputation and the party. Read more »

Amanda Marcotte in Salon:

“Between the powerful nature of her testimony and the realization that it’s not as fashionable as it once was to write off sexual accusers as lying sluts, Republicans realized that the old playbook wasn’t going to work this time. So they turned to Plan B: A bonkerballs conspiracy theory that Ford was somehow being manipulated by conniving Democrats into saying untrue things about Kavanaugh.”

What Ms. Marcotte dubs the “Manchurian Victim” theory allowed Republicans to acknowledge Dr. Blasey as a victim while portraying her as being taken advantage of by, as Judge Kavanaugh said, left-wing groups seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” Never mind that Dr. Blasey first reached out to her congresswoman before Judge Kavanaugh was even nominated, Ms. Marcotte writes — truth doesn’t matter in the age of Trump. Read more »

John Nichols in The Nation:

“Thursday’s hearing made it harder for [Senator Charles E.] Grassley and his committee colleagues to answer [Senator Mitch] McConnell’s call to ‘plow right through’ to a Kavanaugh confirmation. They still appeared to be determined to push ahead. But it is now clear that no senator can uphold his or her oath of office while voting for this nomination.”

Under the Constitution, senators provide “advice and consent” before a Supreme Court nominee can be confirmed. But they don’t have enough information to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Nichols writes. In addition to an F.B.I. investigation of the sexual misconduct allegations, Mr. Nichols has questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s earlier Senate testimony on his time in the White House under President George W. Bush. Read more »

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