Justice Kavanaugh vs Prof. Ford: The Challenge of Impartiality

In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

By Michael Brown Published on September 19, 2018

Justice must be impartial. It must be fair. It must not have preconceived notions. It must not show favoritism. It must be guided by evidence rather than preferences, by facts rather than sentiments.

But in the real world, justice is hard to come by.

Is it possible, then, to remain impartial when it comes to the accusations of Prof. Christine Blasey Ford and the denials of Justice Brett Kavanaugh?

I asked my Twitter followers if they believed Kavanaugh, Ford, or were undecided. The results were 74 percent for Kavanaugh, 6 percent for Ford, and 20 percent undecided. On Facebook, where I could only give two options, the results were even more one-sided: 97 percent for Kavanaugh and 3 percent for Ford.

I have no doubt, though, that the results would have been radically different if my social media audience was primarily liberal rather than conservative.

What if we asked the hard questions and thought through the difficult answers?

And that brings us back to the challenge of impartiality.

We tend to surround ourselves with supporting positions rather than dissenting positions, which means that our views are rarely challenged. It also means that we tend to become more partial, more opinionated and, potentially, more biased.

What if we determined to hear both sides of the story? What if we asked the hard questions and thought through the difficult answers?

Ford’s Story

When it comes to not believing Prof. Ford, there are many reasons for suspicion, the most obvious being: 1) the timing of her accusation surfacing; 2) her own liberal, anti-Trump background; and 3) the tried and true Democratic strategies.

Stream columnist Al Perrotta also noted some serious questions in Ford’s account of the alleged sexual assault:

  • She doesn’t know the date, the week and the month. She isn’t even sure about the year.
  • She doesn’t remember how the party came about.
  • She doesn’t remember where the party was.
  • She doesn’t know who owned the house.
  • She doesn’t know who invited her.
  • She doesn’t know how she got there.
  • She doesn’t know how she got home.

But, Perrotta adds,

She does remember drinking.

It was only decades later, during psychotherapy, that the story emerged. According to Ford, this is when she realized the impact the alleged incident had on her life and relationships.

Along with this (and more) is the fact that Mark Judge, a friend of Kavanaugh who was allegedly present (and also drunk, with Kavanaugh) when Ford was assaulted, denies that any such thing ever happened.

Mark Judge’s Story

But is Judge the most reliable witness?

An article by Sophie Tatum on CNN notes that, “Judge wrote the book Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk, where he details his experiences of extensive drinking while attending Georgetown Preparatory School. [This is where he and Kavanaugh were students.]

Judge writes that he is “shocked” about what he got away with in high school — recalling beach parties that hundreds of people would attend.

At another point he describes his high school as “positively swimming in alcohol.”

Judge has also had harsh words for President and Mrs. Obama, not to mention quite a few comments that could be taken as sexually degrading to women.

The CNN article also notes that,

Attorney Seth Berenzweig, a Virginia-based lawyer who otherwise has no connection to Kavanaugh or the allegations, was given a copy of the high school’s 1983 yearbook by an individual who requested anonymity. The yearbook features captions such as “Do these guys beat their wives?” and “Prep parties raise question of legality.”

Challenging Presuppositions

My point in quoting these disparate views is not to question the integrity of Ford, Judge or Kavanaugh. It is simply to illustrate the wisdom of a verse in Proverbs that says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17).

My own leanings are very much along the lines of those expressed by my Stream colleague Al Perrotta. And I have also addressed the question of how we handle accusations (and/or evidence) of past transgressions.

Yet I am doing my best to maintain an attitude of neither trusting nor dismissing Ford or Kavanaugh based on the conflicting reports, seeking to remain impartial until the truth comes to light.

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It appears that one of them is lying — either lie would be monstrous and ugly — or one of them does not remember what actually took place. Hopefully, we’ll have a better idea of which report is accurate in the days to come.

For our part, though, when we hear conflicting reports, we do well to challenge our presuppositions, to hear both sides of the story, and to weigh the evidence carefully.

The truth will stand with us or without us.

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  • Chip Crawford

    This is an “also ran.”

  • NellieIrene

    What irks me most about this, other than the large amount of time that has lapsed since the alleged incident and the lack of any evidence other than “he said, she said”, is that you have democrats, on this very judiciary panel, who have extolled the “virtues” of Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton. One who left a woman to die a horrible death, and another who had a credible accusation of rape from a woman who was a volunteer on his gubenatorial campaign. And these democrats have extolled those aforementioned “virtues” AFTER knowing all these things. It goes beyond rank hypocrisy. There is nothing to see here and yet we will be hearing about this for a long time. Just another Democrat style “high tech lynching”. I pray they are not successful.

  • John A.

    Like many other conservatives my first inclination is to resist taking a strong stand on this for fear of being (or perceived as being) insensitive. After all, this poor lady thinks it’s true and that she endured a traumatic experience; however, upon reflection I do not believe her. Her story is scattered and hazy. She is clearly being “handled” by the far left in her responses. She really expects the FBI to investigate this farce? Ridiculous. They’ve already vetted the guy half a dozen times. She gives no specifics. She has no witnesses. More to the point, there are many dozens if not hundreds of witnesses to Judge Kavanaugh’s behavior over the years. 100% of those witnesses are in agreement regarding his integrity. 100%! This is yet another case of idiot conservatives (I am one) bending over backwards trying to appear reasonable and willing to see the other side. Well I’m done with that. He has literally nothing at all in his past to suggest we take this seriously. More importantly – since he could be great a hiding things – there is NO evidence. Not a shred. On the other hand we have his accusers – it goes beyond just her – who have shown they will do anything and destroy anyone to achieve the end they want. We must stop giving them reason to think this tactic will work.

  • concerned

    I just have one question. Has anyone vetted the polygraph session that she allegedly passed? I wonder if they even know what specific questions were asked or have seen the readout. I can’t help but think that, if she did actually pass it, she was only asked if she believes that an incident happened and not if Kavanagh did it. It’s just a gut feeling that I have.

    • Andrew Mason

      Elsewhere an article seemed to say that she truthfully claimed that the statement detailing allegation was correct. It’s possible she hasn’t actually testified that her allegation is truthful.

  • Trilemma

    False memories maybe? Here’s an article on false memories (delete the space after each dot).

    science. time. com/2013/11/19/remember-that-no-you-dont-study-shows-false-memories-afflict-us-all/

  • Cody

    Mr. Kavanaugh should sue her for slandering his name, without proof this should of never been released to the media, she must be punished, or these kinds of accusations will come up on anyone someone wishes to slander, just throw out any accusation against anyone you don’t like so they look dirty this is just a trick of the devil to keep someone from running for any office or pasition you don’t want them in.

  • Asante

    I wish you fairly addressed this issue according to your criteria which I love: you’ve not adequately recounted why her story seems credible like her requesting an fbi investigation, doing a polygraph test, and her bringing up this issue years before now in her therapy. Overall, It’s not easy for a woman to come out with these allegations.

    • Andrew Mason

      Except the FBI cannot investigate the case unless Ford provides some actual details. Demanding the FBI investigate sounds great, until you realize that it’s a meaningless demand. Yes Ford passed a polygraph test, but what exactly was tested? And how reliable are such tests? True Ford said something in therapy, but was it couples therapy as mentioned elsewhere? And leaving outside the queerness of that, what exactly was recalledinvented in said therapy session? The near anonymous leaking of selected facts suggests that the rape claim is actually a stage managed political attack. If that’s so then women need to disown the Democrat Party, or at least those responsible for such a sickening effort! Yes it’s remotely possible Ford is telling the truth but the burden of proof is on her.

  • Martin Smith

    The dark spirit of deceit is deep
    and dangerous. A decent honorable
    man’s character and reputation are at
    stake!! PRAY PRAY PRAY that lies
    will be silenced and the truth will
    prevail ❗

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