Analysis: the Ford-Kavanaugh Hearing
The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing was in full force with a tearful testimony from both parties.
Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Dr. Cristine Blasey Ford spoke in front of the Senate last week and said that she was “one hundred percent” certain that Kavanaugh was the one that attacked her when she was the age of 15.
In the summer of 2018, Dr. Ford writes a letter to The Washington Post and to her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo stating that she was assaulted by Kavanaugh. In The Washington Post article, congresswoman Eshoo stated, “She doesn’t have a political bone in her body. And she obviously was really terrified about what could become of her and her family.” Eshoo then passed this onto Senator Dianne Feinstein, a top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Since then, Feinstein has been criticized for upholding this information on many occasions.
Before Dr. Ford testified, Feinstein states the following: “Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I’ll make just a brief comment on your references to me. Yes, I did receive a letter from Dr. Ford. It was conveyed to me by a member of Congress, Anna Eshoo. The next day, I called Dr. Ford. We spoke on the phone. She reiterated that she wanted this held confidential. And I held it confidential, up to a point where the witness was willing to come forward. And I think as I make my remarks, perhaps you’ll see why.
Because how women are treated in the United States, with this kind of concern, is really wanting a lot of reform. And I’ll get to that for a minute. But in the meantime, good morning, Dr. Ford. Thank you for coming forward and being willing to share your story with us. I know this wasn’t easy for you. But before you get to your testimony — and the chairman chose not to do this — I think it’s important to make sure you’re properly introduced.”
Dr. Ford’s opening statement starts off as this: “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
Dr. Ford starts to explain the details on being assaulted she states, “…When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me.
Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time.”
A tearful Dr. Ford had to put herself throughout an emotional rollercoaster of questioning from both Democrats and Republicans (through Rachel Mitchell, a sex-related prosecutor from Arizona.)
From Mitchell’s Memorandum, she states that it is a “he said, she said” case. Mitchell stated the following:
- Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened.
- Dr. Ford has struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.
- When speaking with her husband, Dr. Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific.
- Dr. Ford has no memory of key details of the night in question—details that could help corroborate her account.
- Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended—including her lifelong friend.
- Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault.
- Dr. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory
- Dr. Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions
- The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account.
However, others did not feel this way. Celebrities and Politicians supported Dr. Ford and her story by saying:
History will show Dr. Blasey Ford is a true profile in courage. pic.twitter.com/bG36lOA7AD
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 27, 2018
The Senate's advice and consent process to evaluate Supreme Court nominees is a job interview, not a criminal trial. There is no entitlement to a seat on the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh's character, credibility, and candor matter. pic.twitter.com/UZ77LKmPHv
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) September 28, 2018
So #WhyIDidntReport I was 15. Raped by a drunk football player at a high school party. I was SURE my dad would shoot him if he knew and then my mom would be alone. I stayed in my room for days and cried to my cat. Didn't tell dad until like 20 years later after my rapist died.
— Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) September 22, 2018
Rape is the most underreported crime in the U.S. Listen to women's stories of #WhyIDidntReport. pic.twitter.com/XAdkvTuH3p
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 5, 2018
Later on in the day, it was eventually time for Kavanaugh to testify or what Democrats called it, “a job interview.” Kavanaugh starts his opening statement like this: “Less than two weeks ago, Dr. Ford publicly accused me of committing wrongdoing at an event more than 36 years ago when we were both in high school. I denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally. All four people allegedly at the event, including Dr. Ford’s longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, have said they recall no such event. Her longtime friend, Ms. Keyser, said under penalty of felony that she does not know me, and does not believe she ever saw me at a party, ever.
… The day after the allegation appeared, I told this committee that I wanted a hearing as soon as possible to clear my name. I demanded a hearing for the very next day. Unfortunately, it took the committee 10 days to get to this hearing. In those 10 long days, as was predictable, and as I predicted, my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations. The 10-day delay has been harmful to me and my family, to the Supreme Court and to the country.
When this allegation first arose, I welcomed any kind of investigation, Senate, FBI or otherwise. The committee now has conducted a thorough investigation, and I’ve cooperated fully. I know that any kind of investigation — Senate, FBI, Montgomery County Police — whatever, will clear me. Listen to the people I know. Listen to the people who’ve known me my whole life. Listen to the people I’ve grown up with, and worked with, and played with, and coached with, and dated, and taught, and gone to games with, and had beers with. And listen to the witnesses who allegedly were at this event 36 years ago. Listen to Ms. Keyser. She does not know me. I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford.
This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.”
A tearful Kavanaugh came off harsh, distasteful, shouted (many times) and says that “words have meaning.” He cried to the Senate committee and said that this has impacted his life and family. (What about Dr. Ford’s family and wanted accommodations?)
Kavanaugh expressed that he was “innocent of this charge.”
Viewers saw a switch in Republican questioning. At first, they (the Republicans) wanted Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor to do the questioning for them (which was seen throughout Dr. Ford’s time.) Viewers then saw this explosion from Senator Lindsey Graham.
Senator Lindsey Graham says the following [referring to Democrats], “”Boy, you all want power,” he said. “God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham that you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None. She’s as much of a victim as you.”
One thing that stuck to viewers was Kavanaugh liking beer. He says, “My friends and I sometimes got together and had parties on weekends. The drinking age was 18 in Maryland for most of my time in high school and was 18 in D.C. for all of my time in high school. I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out and I never sexually assaulted anyone.”
Rachel Mitchell: “What do you consider to be too many beers?”
Brett Kavanaugh: “I don't know. Whatever the chart says. Blood-alcohol chart.” https://t.co/wkM6MaQZZI pic.twitter.com/l6fYaj5cst
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 27, 2018
What about the weird habit that he picked up from his father on keeping calendars from 1983? While speaking to the Senate committee, Kavanaugh states the following, “…Why did I keep calendars? My dad started keeping detailed calendars of his life in 1978. He did so as both a calendar and a diary. He’s a very organized guy, to put it mildly. Christmastime, we sat around and he would tell old stories. Old milestones, old weddings, old events from his calendars.
In ninth grade — in ninth grade in 1980, I started keeping calendars of my own. For me also, it’s both a calendar and a diary. I’ve kept such calendar diaries for the last 38 years. Mine are not as good as my dad’s, in some years, and when I was a kid, the calendars are about what you would expect from a kid. Some goofy parts, some embarrassing parts. But I did have the summer of 1982 documented pretty well.”
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