Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Ford-Kavanaugh Hearing

I just finished watching the entire hearing today that included the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. These are my immediate reactions.

Ms Ford's testimony was highly credible. The use of Rachel Mitchel, a prosecutor from Arizona, resulted in nothing. The strategy of the Republicans was to avoid any charges of browbeating Ford even at the cost of losing the vote on Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh's testimony was mixed in my view. Initially, in his opening statement, he was fiery and indignant, as he needed to be. He was emotional, several times choking up. I am now going to make an observation based on my own experience as a federal drug agent testifying in hundreds of trials, grand juries and other courtroom processes. I always evaluate the performance of witnesses. There were times when Kavanaugh was not a particularly good witness. That can be excused given what he and his family have been through. He was often evasive and refused to answer questions as to would he agree to an FBI investigation. He refused to say yes or no. I would have just said,  "I have no objection, but it's not my call". At other times, he drifted into irrelevant minutia listing names of his high school and college friends.

In the end, the charges against Kavanaugh remain uncorroborated (including by the other three people allegedly present) and unproven. That said, I have no idea how Republicans like Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski will vote.

One thing is sure: The process is a national embarrassment. Senator Dianne Feinstein sat on the allegation for weeks. She waited until just before the vote to spring it. It also came out that it was her staff who arranged the legal aid Ford has received.

We should have learned a lesson after the Bork  hearings and the Thomas hearings. We have not. Is this what future Supreme Court nominees can expect? The whole thing was terrible.


Cole Cash said...

This didn't happen with Gorsuch. Seems like the Republicans could and should get a less problematic nominee. It seems pretty short-sighted on their part. Sure, they get what they want on the Supreme Court, but this might hurt them in future elections.

Gary Fouse said...

It's a mess all around. Of course, when Trump picked him these allegations were not known. On the other hand, if he is voted down based on an uncorroborated accusation, there will be political repercussions for that too.