The Death of Reason

Christine Ford has accused Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to serve as Supreme Court Justice, of a sexual assault against her at an unidentified home in Montgomery County, Maryland, sometime in the summer of 1982.  Brett was 17 at that time Christine was 15.

Kavanaugh insists on his innocence, Ford proclaims his guilt. Friends of both Kavanaugh and Ford attest to their outstanding character and proffer their support.

Faced with only the facts hereinafter stated, what is the average citizen to think?  The sad truth is that most of them do not think.  Most of them make a visceral judgement based on whether or not they favor Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court – let the facts be damned!  The talking heads on television are predictably consistent. The conservative pundits universally portray Kavanaugh as a paragon of probity.  The liberal commentators are ready to condemn him as a sexual predator.

All will agree that the nomination of Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court will have long lasting and potentially significant results.  His fitness for the position is of critical importance.  Christine Ford’s accusations cannot be taken lightly.  But the incident described as by Ford supposedly took place more than thirty-six years ago.  How can we determine what really took place?  What is the truth?

Additional facts may come out next week.  Christine Ford and Bret Kavanaugh have both been invited to tell their stories before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  At this moment, these are the factual details as we know them.

  • Christine Ford says that she and others were at a party in the summer of 1982. The party supposedly took place at an unidentified home in the DC suburbs.Except for Bret Kavanaugh, a friend of Kavanaugh’s named Mark Judge, and a boy referred to as PJ, no other party goers were identified.


  • As the incident was described by Ms. Ford, she was forced into a bedroom by an inebriated Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge.  Kavanaugh and Judge turned up the music volume, and Kavanaugh got on top of Christine on the bed.  He then placed his hand over her mouth and attempted to remove her clothing. At that moment Judge jumped onto the bed on top of the couple, and in the tumbling confusion that followed Christine managed to flee the room and lock herself in a bathroom.  Kavanaugh and Judge then went downstairs, and Christine ran out of the house and headed for home.


  • Ford said she told no one of the incident until 2012, when she was in couples’ therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.


  • A letter containing Christine Ford’s accusations against Bret Kavanaugh was addressed to Senator Dianne Feinstein on July 30, 2018.  The existence of this accusation against Kavanaugh was not revealed during the Judiciary Committee’s hearings on his nomination.


  • Kavanaugh denies any knowledge of the party described by Ford and says that the incident described by her never took place.  Mark Judge also rebuts Ford’s story.  P.J. Smythe, identified as the P.J. in Ford’s story, says he has no memory of the party and knows nothing of the incident described by Christine.


  • Christine reportedly passed a polygraph test arranged by her attorney.  This does not prove that her story is true, but it does imply that she believes it.


  • No other woman has come forward to charge Kavanaugh with inappropriate conduct.  In fact, many women have vouched for his excellent character. That would seem to indicate that the incident with Christine Ford, if true, was an aberration.


At this moment in time, who knows what if anything happened at that unidentified house in the summer of 1982.

Perhaps the truth will be revealed next week.  I pray that is so.  In the meantime, exercise good sense.  Are your ready to condemn a man of good character and high accomplishments on the basis of such a nebulous claim as that made by Christine Ford?

In this era of internecine political warfare, have we abandoned any respect for reason?  Appealing to those sentiments expressed by Robert Reich in his recent book, let us strive for “The Common Good.”



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