The Senate hearing to investigate Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was a great disappointment and bordered on farce. While Dr. Ford’s comportment was dignified, and she seemed to do her best to answer questions in a direct, helpful and open way, despite the great difficulty of the subject matter at hand, Judge Kavanaugh was frequently evasive, arrogant and combative during his testimony. In fact, his combative manner mimicked that of President Trump, known to launch into attack mode when challenged.
The fiasco was reminiscent of the Clarence Thomas / Anita Hill hearings, which polarized the nation 25 years ago. Thomas was also belligerent and angry, and decried the hearing by calling it a “high tech lynching,” in a histrionic slam that’s now infamous. It’s interesting to note that Kavanaugh, who mocked some democratic Senators by asking them their own questions in a mocking tone, apparently took a page from Clarence Thomas’s playbook in this regard.
Kavanaugh went as far as to invoke ridiculous conspiracy theories about political payback from Clinton supporters to explain away the allegations, which he vociferously denied, but offered no evidence to back up these outrageous claims. This extreme behavior, undignified for a high ranking justice, is also oddly reminiscent of a President Trump’s modus operandi.
During the entire process, which took the entire day, the Senate’s republican leadership seemed more interested in presenting the illusion of due process while rushing towards a confirmation vote (still scheduled for tomorrow despite strong objections from democrats, who repeatedly called for an FBI investigation of the allegations of sexual assault, only to be ignored.)
It appears that Judge Kavanaugh will likely prevail after the vote and join the Supreme Court: Republicans, who control the Senate, simply outnumber Democrats. But what kind of justice will he be? Even without considering the sexual assault allegation, the hearing exposed a serious character flaw: a tendency to evade and obfuscate the truth, like his denials of extensive teenaged drunkenness despite evidence to the contrary. Will the aggressive, belligerent manner he demonstrated during this hearing materialize during heated deliberations in the Supreme Court, the natiion’s highest deliberative body?