If Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not telling the truth Thursday at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court, he is one of America’s greatest actors.
The emotion Kavanaugh evinced during the hearing cannot be feigned. When it finally spilled out, it was real and raw. His justifiable anger at being falsely accused of sexually assaulting Professor Christine Blasey Ford when both were teenagers some 36 years ago was palpable.
“I swear today, under oath, before the Senate and the nation, before my family, and God, I am innocent of this charge,” Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh condemned their actions for transforming the Senate confirmation process into “a national disgrace” and “replacing advise and consent with search and destroy.”
Most people who are grievously wronged react with outrage. In his statement and testimony, Kavanaugh expressed such righteous indignation. His defense of himself was forceful and convincing.
Kavanaugh’s core message was both conciliatory and compelling.
“I don’t question that Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted at some time and at some place, but it was not me,” Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh emphasized that none of the people identified by Ford as attending a party – where Ford claims a drunken Kavanaugh got on top of her on a bed, tried unsuccessfully to take off her clothes and covered her mouth to stifle her screams – corroborate the accusations leveled against him.
Kavanaugh also firmly denied claims by three other women not at the hearing that he was guilty of sexual misconduct. Like Ford, those women have presented not a shred of corroborating evidence or any other witnesses to back up their claims against the judge. One accusation came from an anonymous person who claimed to be the mother of another woman and is so weak that it can’t even be seriously considered.
In support of his denial of Ford’s allegations, Kavanaugh offered a meticulous calendar he kept in 1982. It served as a remarkably convincing piece of evidence showing he could not have been the teenage boy who attacked Ford.
Significantly, the calendar shows that the then-17-year-old Kavanaugh was out of town nearly every weekend of the summer when Ford claims he attacked her at a house party in Maryland, just outside Washington.
For the two weekends Kavanaugh spent at home, his whereabouts were accounted for. His weekdays were equally accounted for.
These records clearly reflect that there were no house parties involving the people Ford said were at the party where she was allegedly attacked. While not dispositive evidence, the calendar is highly persuasive. Why would young Kavanaugh have noted all his other activities on the calendar but for some reason left off the party?
Ford also told a credible story. During her testimony, she seemed authentic and sincere. However, when two people tell different and conflicting stories, the benefit of the doubt must always go to the accused. This is consistent with an important principle by which our democracy abides both inside and outside the courtroom: the presumption of innocence.
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