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Partisan Bias, Motivated Reasoning, and the Debate Over the Kavanaugh Nomination

The debate over the sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh is a striking example of partisan bias at work.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh.Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

One of the most striking aspects of the debate over the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is the extremely high correlation between what people think of the allegations and whether they believe Kavanaugh should be confirmed aside from them. Conservatives Republicans who like Kavanaugh's jurisprudence tend to dismiss the accusations. Liberal Democrats who oppose Kavanaugh on jurisprudential grounds tend to think the accusations are true (or at least highly likely to be so). A similar pattern emerges when it comes to the issue of burden of proof, with conservatives often claiming that it rests on the accuser and that Kavanaugh is "innocent until proven guilty," like a defendant in a criminal trial. Liberals, by contrast, tend to argue that the situation should be treated as more a "job interview" than a legal process, and it is up to Kavanaugh to prove that he is fit to be a Supreme Court justice. Some even contend that we should presumptively believe the accusers.

This seems to me an obvious sign of motivated reasoning driven by polarization and ideological and partisan bias. As a matter of logic it should be possible to believe that Kavanaugh could be a terrible judge, yet also innocent of sexual assault. Similarly, nothing necessarily precludes a nominee from simultaneously being a great jurist and a sexual predator. Good legal reasoning is not a guarantee of virtue in other aspects of life. Yet, at least in the world of legal and political commentary, there are very few if any exponents of either of these positions. The same pattern holds true for the issue of burden of proof. It is logically possible to believe that the burden of proof in cases where a judicial nominee is accused of sexual assault should rest with the accuser, while also believing that Kavanaugh is an awful jurist. Similarly, there is no contradiction in thinking that Kavanaugh's jurisprudence is laudable, while also endorsing the "job interview" approach to burdens of proof. Yet pundits who hold either of these two combinations of views are harder to find than albino elephants. That is very telling.

People on both sides of the Kavanaugh debate may wish to ask themselves whether ideology or partisanship are influencing their evaluation of evidence on factual and procedural questions that are at most only indirectly related to the political and jurisprudential stakes in the nomination. Many studies show that people often engage in "motivated reasoning" on political issues—twisting facts and logic to fit their ideological and partisan preconceptions.

This kind of bias can influence our views on almost any question on which we have strong feelings. But it is especially likely on political issues, where most people have very little incentive to curb their biases and seek out the truth. If you come to falsely believe that a friend, relative, or co-worker is guilty of sexual abuse, your poor judgment may have great costs for you. Ditto if you make such a mistake in the other direction. If a pundit, activist, or ordinary voter misjudges Brett Kavanaugh, he or she is unlikely to pay much of a price for failure. Indeed, he may even be lauded by fellow partisans for standing up for their cause. That is even more likely to occur in an era of extreme polarization and growing partisan hatred.

I do not claim to be immune to such biases myself. Far from it. But it is perhaps easier for me to try to avoid them in this case, because, as a libertarian, I strongly dislike both major parties—even more so at this time than I usually do. As for Judge Kavanaugh, I like many aspects of his jurisprudence, but have significant reservations on his views on executive power. It is not clear to me whether I would be happier (on jurisprudential grounds alone) with him or with whoever Trump might pick next, should this nomination fail. It may well depend on exactly who Trump chooses. Lack of investment in the cause makes it easier to avoid having it influence my judgment.

I believe there should be a more thorough investigation of the various accusations. At this point, I find it hard to say whether they are likely to be true or not. I also think it's very possible that even the best feasible investigation will still leave us with little more knowledge of what happened than we have now. More tentatively, I think the burden of proof should be roughly even between the two sides.

Be that as it may, we would be wise to consider the possibility that the facts about the accusations may not line up with our political and jurisprudential commitments as nicely as we might prefer. The first step towards overcoming our biases is to recognize that they exist.

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  • AmosArch||

    Well I'm off the hook here since I generally am against hysteria over the intersection of sex and crime and I don't much like ideas like any random woman being able to snap their fingers and destroy any man's life at any time with no evidence. I'd even be willing to contemplate giving Bubba Clinton a break considering his partner if he wasn't so heavily involved in selling other men up the river and codifying a system that punishes them for daydreaming about doing 1/1000000th of the stuff he's done.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Yes, on a woman should not be able to snap her finger, But "Bubba Clinton" reveals a level of bias that amounts to self-ridicule.

    You say nothing about Republican refusals and LIES about the FBI -- which reopened to investigate Anita Hill's charges (oops). Or, also like the Thomas confirmation, refusing to subpoena known witnesses. That was bipartisan corruption, since Biden was a co-conspirator.

    They won't allow Mark Judge to testify because his book confirms the newer claims that Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker, and a nasty drunk. In Judge's second book, on his own heavy drinking, sex and wild parties in high school, he describes a classmate who pukes into a car and passes out,

    That classmate's name is given as "Bart O'Kavanaugh" (wink,wink)
    Grassley dare not allow Judge to testify. Watching him try to explain that would be like Trump trying to weasel out of his 5,000+ proven lies. This rush to vote will explode in their faces, between Friday and the election -- a victory of sorts. We libertarians prefer divided government as the best outcome for now.

    As the swamp keeps getting deeper.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "which reopened to investigate Anita Hill's charges (oops)."

    And came up with squat.

  • John Galt Jr||

    And came up with squat.

    (lol)
    whoooooooooooooooooooooooooosh

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    It matters because there is absolutely nothing that the FBI could turn up in the present case that isn't already known.

    The FBI does not have a magical truth detector. Polygraph results are inadmissible in court, because they are meaningless, unscientific hocus pocus.

    There is zero chance of obtaining forensic evidence in a case like this where the events in question happened 35 years ago, if they happened at all.

    All persons for has named as being at the party where the attack is supposed to have happened have officially denied that any such party occurred.

    Ford can't say when the party happened or where it happened, so there is zero chance that the FBI could find any other witnesses to verify that the party happened.

    In short, an FBI investigation of Ford's accusation is guaranteed to turn up squat, because there is squat for the FBI to investigate.

  • John Galt Jr||

    whooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosh

  • Joe_dallas||

    What is the FBI going to investigate

    An event that happened when?
    An event that happened where?
    An event that all 4 people named said did not happened
    An event that the accuser hasnt cooperated.
    An event that the accuser has brought forth in a partisan manner (an obvious red flag )
    An event that wasnt presented to any law enforcement agency

  • John Galt Jr||

    Nothing you name has a shred of relevance, and ignores everything that does.

    An event that the accuser has brought forth in a partisan manner (an obvious red flag )

    (lol)

    An event that wasnt presented to any law enforcement agency

    Are you talking about Dr. Ford or .... Ronald Reagan's daughter? (lol)
    Hello Hello?

    Right - Left = Zero

  • Joe_dallas||

    Galt - sorry I left out the part that all witnesses named by the accusers have disputed the accounts

    So what is the FBI going to investigate

    and why would that item or the previous items not be relevant.

    Or is what is not relevant is any actual facts -

    are only recovered memory facts valid
    Ask the accused of mcmartin day care if recovered memory are valid facts that are relevant.

  • DavidTaylor||

    "are only recovered memory facts valid
    Ask the accused of mcmartin day care if recovered memory are valid facts that are relevant."

    Prof. Ford has said that she has been troubled by the incident ever since it occurred. I'm not sure where the "recovered memory" issue comes in here.

  • Joe_dallas||

    The statements/affidavits that I have read from the 4 corrobarating witnesses are 1) husband stating she first told him circa 2002 (not 2012) but not telling husband the name, 2) a second person she told in 2013 telling him the accused was a federal judge, the 3 & 4 affidavit I couldnt access - so I cant comment.

    The recovered memory issue is that
    A) first time to name kavanaugh was in 2013 (possibly in 2012 at the therapy session)
    B) No corroborating witness and/or her telling someone circa 1982-1983
    C) The description of the event more closely resembles horseplay or a guy pretending to hump her and not an actual attempted rape.
    d) The recovered memory - conflating the horseplay into attempted rape.
    I for one have difficult time believing any high school kid would be stupid enough to actually try to rape someone with another person in the room and 3 other people in the house. Simply not likely to happen

  • DavidTaylor||

    @Joe: None of that constitutes "recovered memory."

  • Joe_dallas||

    Her statements have many of the indices of recovered memory

  • DavidTaylor||

    Sorry -- most of us physicians don't believe in "recovered memory". And though I am a cardiologist and not a psychiatrist, I recall enough of my psych rotation to wonder what on earth you mean by "indices of recovered memory."

    Prof. Ford clearly stated that she has been perfectly conscious of the incident since it happened.

    David T, MD, PhD

  • Joe_dallas||

    Sounds like we agree with the concept of recovered memory - along with most other physicans and psychologists - that it isnt valid but is imaging events or details that didnt happen.
    my point is that her recovered memory has those indices.

  • D-Pizzle||

    Yet she cannot remember how she got home that night? Sure, I've heard that it's possible to remember some events revolving around a traumatic experience, but forget about others, but is it likely? Even remotely so?

  • Careless||

    It's accuser number two who has the recovered memory bullshit

  • John Galt Jr||

    You're still ignorant of the "inconvenient" factors.

    Are you talking about Dr. Ford or .... Ronald Reagan's daughter? (lol)
    Hello Hello?

    Cowardly evasion. Hello? Hello?

  • aluchko||

    Galt - sorry I left out the part that all witnesses named by the accusers have disputed the accounts

    So what is the FBI going to investigate

    Here's an easy question.

    Do they still dispute the accounts when questioned under oath?

  • M.L.||

    Funny how the MSM spun into overdrive talking about Kavanaugh's yearbook, but total blackout silence about Ford's yearbook.

  • NToJ||

    Well it's not a total blackout, since you're talking about it (even though your links are... troubling).

    But why would Ford's yearbook be relevant? If she was a drunk in high school, does that make her allegations more or less credible? Think about your answer.

  • M.L.||

    I said MSM, as in mainstream media.

    Why is the link "troubling"? Genuinely curious -- I assume you have some examples I'm not familiar with about this WND outlet being awful and right wing -- maybe they were even as dishonest and biased as WaPo and NYT and CNN are on a daily basis.

    Or, maybe it's the content that you find troubling.

    I don't think that general themes of drunkenness and promiscuity in a yearbook -- whether Kav's or Ford's -- are very relevant on these specific allegations. Nor the specific references to drinking in Kav's entry.

    Yet here we are, and the media is still screaming about Kav's yearbook. In fact, if you try to google for information about "Christine Blasey Ford's yearbook," you are met with blaring headline after headline condemning Kavanaugh from CNN, NYT, WaPo, and the rest -- multiple from each outlet.

    Meanwhile, Ford's yearbook was unearthed and reported on by a random unknown blog called "The Cult of the First Amendment" before being deleted from the internet, and there is virtually zero subsequent reporting other than some fringe outlet known as WND. That's all my point is here.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    " In fact, if you try to google for information about "Christine Blasey Ford's yearbook," you are met with blaring headline after headline condemning Kavanaugh from CNN, NYT, WaPo, and the rest -- multiple from each outlet."

    You need to not use Google. They seem to be deliberately burying it. If you use DuckDuckGo, the original post at cultofthe1st is the top result. Use Google, and it's middle of the second page of results, with the identical search string.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    If she were regularly black out drunk would that make her recollections more or less credible?

    There is nothing solid either way at this point and I don't see how there can be. Even if a slew of people came out today saying they were told of this 35 years ago that itself would contradict Ford and her account.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Ford's yearbook is right-wing bullshit.
    Self-evident by the graphics. But goobers are SO easily manipulated.
    And the "sources" are WND and Gateway Pundit. (snort)
    What does Alex Jones have to say?
    And that former President, the Muslim from Kenya?

    Educate yourself, else you make an even biggest fool of yourself,
    Kavanaugh's yearbook is his actual personal profile.
    So is Mark Judge's.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Lol.

    "But "Bubba Clinton" reveals a level of bias that amounts to self-ridicule."

    "Now, hold my beer..."

  • WillPaine||

    And the optics are going to be a very weird mime show as the plot..#:-).."You thought the campaign was weird, wait until you see the impeachment." W. W. Spain- 01/20/2017
    Just the picture of 11 old white men behind a skirt is going to come off as the clown show it is.

  • KevinP||

    "Concerned" Dems aren't concerned about past sexual assaults by Dems


    Excerpts:
    Who among these "outraged" Senators has complained about serving with Democratic colleagues credibly accused of, and in at least two cases admitting to, assaulting women?

    Sen. Sherrod Brown's ex-wife claimed [in court documents] that Brown threw her up against a wall and showed "physical violence and abusive nature."

    It must also be mighty difficult for Kavanaugh's Senate critics to serve with Sen. Tom Carper. He admits he gave his ex-wife a black eye.

    Sen. Cory Booker has admitted groping a friend when he was in high school. He made the admission in a characteristically pompous column in the Stanford school newspaper.

    And what about Sen. Mazie Hirono? From her perch on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she asks every male judicial nominee whether he has ever sexually harassed or assaulted anyone.

    Yet, according to the Washington Free Beacon, Hirono's Senate campaign accepted $1,000 from Sen. Carper's First State PAC in June of this year.

    Finally, let's not forget the case of Keith Ellison. He stands very credibly accused of assaulting two women as an adult. Contemporaneous police records back up at least one of the assault claims.

    Yet, Ellison remains Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Sufi||

    The author writes:

    "nothing necessarily precludes a nominee from simultaneously being a great jurist and a sexual predator."

    Are you f-ing kidding me?

  • Eddy||

    I'm open to the possibility that Kavanaugh drank and groped his way through high school and college, his can of Coors on one hand and himself in the other, and then, after hitting bottom, straightened up and flew right - that's still not a reason to air charges of wrongdoing (short of murder or genocide) 35 years later.

    Kavanaugh isn't competing with a hypothetical ideal candidate like Bao Zheng or Solomon (and there's no record that any of Solomon's 1,000 wives and concubines accused him of sexual harassment). He's competing against some possible Anthony Kennedy clone who will be foisted on the country as a "compromise" if Kavanaugh fails - and even if Anthony Kennedy never waved his dong around in college, he gave his approval to the killing of unborn human beings in the name of constitutional rights - a shameless crime committed in the light of day, a crime which pales next to belated, poorly-supported charges of after-school-special style foolishness.

  • Eddy||

    I mean a crime next to which belated, etc. charges pale in comparison

  • Eddy||

    Nor am I a fan of unsealing Keith Ellison's divorce records unless there's a suggestion the divorce itself was fraudulently procured, or in general that the divorce itself wasn't on the up and up.

  • John Galt Jr||

    You probably gave the same shameful excuse for Trump's Access Hollywood video,
    "(shrug) That's just how guys are."

    No. Only assholes.

  • Eddy||

    I voted against Trump twice, but it's not as if I said "it's too bad the scandal-free Hillary Clinton lost to this guy."

  • Eddy||

    And you compare an actual tape of Trump describing his own behavior with recent allegations of events going back 30 or 35 years.

    Trump got arm-twisted into promising Supreme Court justices who don't suck. He doesn't care himself about the issue except so far as it keeps a (highly well-informed) part of his base happy. If he just followed his own impulses, he'd probably appoint Judge Judy.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The thing I like is, after getting arm-twisted into making that promise, he's actually keeping it. I find that refreshing.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Non-responsive.

  • damikesc||

    And you compare an actual tape of Trump describing his own behavior with recent allegations of events going back 30 or 35 years.

    Technically, he didn't say he did it. Just that women allow celebrities to do it. Which nobody SERIOUSLY disputes. How do you think an ugly dipshit like Tarantino got pussy in his life?

  • ragebot||

    If the truth be known Trump's current wife Melina answered your question quite well. When she was asked if Trump would have married her if she was not beautiful she replied 'do you think I would have married him if he was not rich?'.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Actually, I'm a fan of unsealing them, but only because they're court records which wouldn't normally be sealed. But it's amazing how often records get sealed contrary to normal policy where politicians are concerned.

  • Eddy||

    I would go the other way, let the prosecutors set an example for the plebes - keep them all confidential, except to uncover bribery or misconduct in the divorce proceeding itself

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'd be fine with the policy being altered, but I don't like retaining the policy that divorce records are normally open court records, and just making exceptions where politicians might be embarrassed.

    One policy for us peons, and for our lords and masters.

  • damikesc||

    I'm all for that --- except that it is only honored in one side of the equation.

    Obama won his Senate seat when his original Republican opponent's record was unsealed against both his and his wife's request and the progs were SCANDALIZED that Ryan and his wife --- had sex.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Seems so tame now. She said [he denied] that he "coerced" her [not defined] into going to "sex clubs" to have sex in front of people. I am not sure if she even said it actually happened.

    A bit kinky if true but it was having sex with his wife after all.

  • hugh59||

    Ryan's wife disavowed the information regarding the "sex clubs." But the damage was done.

  • bernard11||

    Yes. Like Kavanaugh's emails.

  • hugh59||

    They unsealed Jack Ryan's divorce records back in 2004. IIRC, a California judge unsealed the limited portion of the record that had been sealed involving child custody. The press had a field day with all the embarrassing information in it (information that was disavowed by his wife, Jeri Ryan AKA Seven of Nine).

    As Captain Spock would say, "Sauce for the goose."

  • Krayt||

    ===or Solomon (and there's no record that any of Solomon's 1,000 wives and concubines accused him of sexual harassment)===

    "Judge Solomon," the female Democratic senator continued, "you are accused of having 1000 wives. This can't be short of coercive for many of them, if not outright abusive. What do you say?"

    "Every one," Solomon responded, "loves me and I love them. And I am a great lover. Say, would you like to be #1001? Maybe a trial run?"

    "Absolutely not! I think you should apolo..." but by that time his steely blue eyes had locked with hers.

    "You know," he said, much less interrupting than filling the pause, "I do have experience splitting things in half..."

  • bernard11||

    Once the charge is aired, is it OK for him to lie about it?

    If Kavanaugh, or the GOP leadership, thinks 35-year old incident is not disqualifying, shouldn't an honest individual just admit it?

  • damikesc||

    Who says he lied?

    His story has been quite consistent.

    Her story --- has changed. Repeatedly.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    All the other witnesses she identified [including her own female friend] have denied it happened in official responses to Judiciary.

    It never happened.

  • Rossami||

    No, it would not be okay to lie about it. So what evidence convinces you that he did?

  • bernard11||

    I'm not sure he did. Maybe he was just so wasted that he honestly doesn't remember.

    Aside from that, themas has major credibility problems on other matters. But that's beside the point.

    Eddy think she charges shouldn't have been aired. This is another version of "It happened 35 years ago, so forget it." Eddy, or anyone else, can make that argument, but then you are faced with the denials.

    If it happened, and shouldn't matter, then let Kavanaugh admit it, and make the case. Or let his supporters do so. But stop this BS of it doesn't matter if it happened. It matters precisely because he is denying it.

  • Eddy||

    We're not debating in the abstract, we're choosing between a candidate who faces some sketchy accusations dating back three decade or more, versus the risk of another Anthony Kennedy if the first candidate is rejected (and the Democrats retake the Senate and with it acquire the power to force another Kennedy on Trump).

    It's "alleged to have done stuff in high school 3+ decades ago" versus the risk of another gladhandling child-killer. (And many, perhaps most, of those killed in abortion are female).

    As I said, let me know when the alternative to Kavanaugh is a judge like Solomon or Bao Zheng.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yes, we all know the GOP is prioritizing judicial outcomes over potential sexual assault and current lying about it, but most don't just come out and say it.

  • Eddy||

    I'm not "the GOP," I didn't nominate Kavanaugh (nor would I have done so) and I think of the duopoly parties more of a "them" than an "us."

    But we know that if Kavanaugh goes down, there will be a greater risk of the country ending a glad-handling child-killer.

    I have such low expectations of the duopoly. Killing babies goes below even *those* expectations.

  • Eddy||

    (ending up *with* a gladhandling etc)

  • aluchko||

    I'm open to the possibility that Kavanaugh drank and groped his way through high school and college, his can of Coors on one hand and himself in the other, and then, after hitting bottom, straightened up and flew right - that's still not a reason to air charges of wrongdoing (short of murder or genocide) 35 years later.

    What about charges of perjury for lying to congress about the incidents in question? That's not 35 years ago, that's earlier today.

    Seems like a poor quality for a Supreme Court Justice.

  • Eddy||

    Perjury isn't limited to lying about past (30 years +) conduct.

    Perjury also includes swearing to support the Constitution...and then failing to do so.

    Which would describe any candidate the Democrats will foist on Trump if they win the Senate during the midterms.

    Any judge who promises to uphold the Constitution and then says there's a constitutional right to kill children...is a perjurer and a murderer.

  • AmosArch||

    Also Ilya tries to be mealy mouthed in this piece but consequently says some things that don't make much sense. "There should be a more through investigation". Okay, if progs want to keep digging for actual evidence of a crime nobody's stopping them. The question is whether you want to derail a confirmation over a couple of accusations and innuendo which Ilya seems to avoid answering. Thats all they really have. The word of random crazed Dem operatives vs his word on whether what would have been considered a kindergarten playground prank a few years back but is now a Watergate level scandal took place. So the phrase "the burden of proof should be equal" doesn't make much sense either. They say he grabbed their butt he says he didn't. So are we completely frozen and can't do anything either way now? I dunno maybe he clarifies it somewhere else but I don't feel like scrolling through hours long of rambling arcane videos.

  • gormadoc||

    "kindergarten playground prank"

    One of the accusations is groping, another is flashing, and the latest (and least likely) is gang rape. If you think that's okay on a kindergarten playground I think you have issues.

  • gormadoc||

    I suppose there's also the "he wrote something mean in a yearbook", which I suppose means my wife could never be on the SC.

  • Goju||

    The gang rape story is looking like a 4chan punk of Avenatti.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Nobody on 4chan has a gf, let alone a stripper gf.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I wouldn't bet that somebody who can convince Democrats that the "OK" gesture is a white power signal couldn't get a decent girlfriend. That's some major mind control juju there.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Yeah. They also convinced them that milk was a white supremacist beverage.

  • AmosArch||

    Since any reasonable person already sees there really isn't anything to work with on the other two and the last is 'the least likely' I think we're good disregarding them all unless Ford Inc can actually present something solid.

  • bernard11||

    unless Ford Inc can actually present something solid.

    Which Grassley is preventing her from doing. No investigation, no other witnesses.

    Goes right along with the railroad job this whole confirmation process has been, with Kavanaugh spewing BS denials right and left.

  • damikesc||

    Which Grassley is preventing her from doing.
  • Bob from Ohio||

    "No investigation, no other witnesses."

    Judiciary staff and the media have investigated. All the other witnesses have denied it in responses to Judiciary carrying criminal penalties.

    Stop lying.

  • ragebot||

    When posting in a quasi legal site you may get dinged for ignoring standard legal procedure. Many lawyers start with an interrogatory, then depose a witness before questioning them in a formal forum. This is what has been done here, albeit with the interrogatory being produced by the witness's lawyer rather than the investigator. I have little doubt, especially given that the witnesses have secured legal advice, that any testimony would mirror their written statements.

    While Perry Mason was able to produce witness breakdowns on the stand on demand in real life that is less common than finding a unicorn.

    The key factor to me is the timing. If DiFi and the Democrats wanted an investigation they could have requested one based on their claims much earlier and I don't see any way it would not happen. On the other hand by waiting so long it is easy to say this is a last minute stalling tactic.

  • Rossami||

    What, precisely, is Grassley preventing her from doing? And how, precisely, is he preventing it?

  • bernard11||

    Having other witnesses heard.

    Having an FBI investigation, rather than one by a staff which plainly wants Kavanaugh confirmed.

    Having access to documents that might shed light unjust how credible the guy really is.

    For starters.

  • Joe_dallas||

    multiple parties with multiple gang rapes with multiple girls

    I would expect to see multiple police reports along with his registration on the local sex offenders list.

    Six separate FBI investigations - and not finding anything

  • John Galt Jr||

    The question is whether you want to derail a confirmation over a couple of accusations and innuendo which Ilya seems to avoid answering.

    Make a total fool of yourself often, winger?

    Don't allow any witnesses ... and then say it's all innuendos and accusations ... because you refused to hear witnesses!!

    This seems to be your attitude to everything

    I dunno maybe he clarifies it somewhere else but I don't feel like scrolling through hours long of rambling arcane videos.

    "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with facts. We all know Democrats are always wrong. MAGA"

  • M.L.||

    Check out what Biden said during Clarence Thomas' hearing. FBI reports are useless!!

  • hugh59||

    Factitious personality disorder or malingering. That is probably the underlying basis for the accusations against Kavanaugh.

  • DjDiverDan||

    I'm certainly open to a reasoned debate on just where the burden of persuasion lies, with the burden of coming forward with at least some credible evidence on the accuser. But a system in which either: (a) any random accusation can permanently destroy the reputation, life, or career of any nominee, without any corroboration or supporting evidence; or (b) as that complete fricking MORON Mazzie Hirono seems to claim, we must believe the woman and assume the man guilty any time such an allegation is made, is not only unacceptable, but completely insane. Frankly, I am very, very disturbed that a 36-year old allegation, one never raised with anyone for over 30 years, could be taken seriously absent any corroboration by anyone. Yes, attempted rape is a serious allegation. But it's going to take more than a swearing match for me to think that this is a disqualifying allegation. If all we get out of Thursday's hearing is Christine Ford swearing under oath that it happened and Brett Kavanaugh did it, while Kavanaugh swears that it was not him, then the tie has to go to the accused and Kavanaugh ought to be confirmed.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "we must believe the woman"

    Yup. Many senators have said that we should simply "believe the woman". All that means is that the opinions of those Senators should carry no weight.

  • Sarcastr0||

    It looks to me like the Dems are being pretty careful to stay away from that rhetoric here.

  • damikesc||

    Mazie Hirono did?
    Blumenthal did?
    Schumer did?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    On what planet? Loads of Dem Senators (Harris, Gillibrand (who brought a rape hoaxer to the SOTU), Murray, and many more) have been tweeting under the #believesurvivors hashtag. Mazzie Hirono said that men need to shut up, and women need to be believed. Etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they add believing accusers based on gender to the party platform next time around.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    To be fair, that one Senator did explicitly restrict the "must believe the woman" rule to Republicans.

  • Naaman Brown||

    After myself jumping to the conclusion the Duke Lacrosse team had to be guilty as charged by Mangum because of my dislike of privileged jock frat boys, I realized I needed to demand more evidence before jumping on a bandwagon.

    I have read a number of women who do not believe the accusations by Asia Argento against Jimmy Bennett or Amber Heard against Johnny Depp.

    Christine Ford first mentioned this 1982 party to a therapist in a 2012 couples session that included her husband. The therapist's notes contain no names and is vague about the date and place. In July 2018 when it appeared Brett Kavanaugh was a shoo-in for nomination to the Supreme Court, Ford accused him by name of attempting to rape her in 1982 at party with Leland Keyser, P.J. Smyth, Brett Kavanaugh, and Mark Judge. The charges were made public 16 Sep 2018 at the end of Kavanaugh's nomination hearing after all else had failed to derail his nomination. All four other than her - Keyser, Smyth, Judge, and Kavanaugh (of course) - have issued statements denying any memory or knowledge of being present at such a party.

  • Joe_dallas||

    Did someone jump on Christine and pretend to hump her at a high school party? - probably
    Was it attempted rape? - highly unlikely
    Was it Kavanaugh? - maybe - but lack of corroborating witnesses makes it very iffy.
    Did the recovered memory conflate boorish horseplay into imaginary attempted rape? probably

  • bernard11||

    For the 10,000th time, Grassley is completely blocking any further information from coming out, either through an investigation or even other witnesses.

    All the "unsupported accusation" rhetoric is hypocritical crap.

    Oh, and what about those documents, emails, etc.?

    Oh, and if the accusation is "uncorroborated," what is corroborated is that Kavanaugh was a blackout drunk in HS and college, so might well not recall the incident he so insistently denies.

  • damikesc||

    What other witnesses? Judge? Who has ALREADY said it did not happen?

    You cannot investigate if the accuser provides zero evidence or information.

    Oh, and what about those documents, emails, etc.?

    The Democrats SHOULD release her email to them. They have not done so, mind you.

    Oh, and if the accusation is "uncorroborated," what is corroborated is that Kavanaugh was a blackout drunk in HS and college, so might well not recall the incident he so insistently denies.

    Keep forgetting that the word of somebody you label a liar is worth so much. We have zero evidence of him being blackout drunk in HS or college --- just incredible academic achievement and impressive credentials as a judge.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    The other 4 witnesses have denied it in written communications to Judiciary that carry criminal penalties.

    Stop lying.

  • Sarcastr0||

    There is another woman who wants to testify under oath.

    And his Yale classmates who want to impeach his apparent needless lying about clean living in college.

  • damikesc||

    When did he say he didn't drink at all in college?

  • Bob from Ohio||

    He didn't. Its a lefty lie.

  • damikesc||

    They keep shifting those goal posts.

    From "He raped her" to "well, he drank in college". Any guesses how much the idiot Dems drink NOW?

  • Krayt||

    I wonder what they would think of someone who got so drunk they didn't just grope a chick but killed her in a drunken accident?

  • damikesc||

    That guy would be a fucking hero to women.

    ....if he were a Democrat.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "lying about clean living in college"

    That is a lie.

    He said he drank. He just said he never blacked out.

  • Sarcastr0||

    And his classmates say that's very much untrue. Lots of them. And there's contemporary documents citing him as a champion of kinds of dumb drunken shenanigans.

    Not a big deal at all. Not acts that should keep him off the Court.

    But he's lying about it. That's pretty dumb and bad.

    Ain't moving the goal posts, the old goal posts about Ford et al are still there. But this is a new front that Kav has opened up via an unforced error.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    Mark Judge's own book describes Kavanaugh passing out -- after puking into a car.
    That's why Grassley CANNOT allow him to testify.
    Oh well, the GOP has been destroying itself for decades. So have the Dems.

    Left - Right = Zero

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "needless lying about clean living in college."

    I suppose next, you're going to talk about how thinks claiming that he's a virgin disproves the allegations of groping? The MSM and leftist internet are all over that one.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    Right-wing goobers are so eagerly manipulated.

  • Joe_dallas||

    "For the 10,000th time, Grassley is completely blocking any further information from coming out, either through an investigation or even other witnesses."

    Can you explain how grassley is blocking any further information from coming out when said information is in the possession of Ford, Ford's attorneys and the minority members of the committee?

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    Can you explain how grassley is blocking any further information from coming out when said information is in the possession of Ford, Ford's attorneys and the minority members of the committee?

    You slugs tell bigger lies every day.
    *THOUSANDS of pages of Kavanaugh's have been suppressed. Do you swallow your pathetic bullshit?
    *Mark Judge is not testifying, because his books describe Kavanaugh as a severe drinker, passing out, losing control
    *Dozens of sworn affidavits have been submitted to the committee -- on Kavanaugh being a frequent and nasty drunk, which is criminal perjury if they are lying,
    *Other victims are being denied.

    You need to pull your nose out of Judge Janine's twat and follow the real news.

  • Don Nico||

    Bernard,

    " Kavanaugh was a blackout drunk" explains rather nicely why both BK and Ford are speaking truthfully about what they believe occurred when they were in high school.

    Granting that both are speaking truthfully about the present state of their recollections, should the alleged incident be disqualifying?

    I suspect that this is a question is one which Somin tried to address.

  • KevinP||

    Senator Mazzie Hirono is a dirty hypocrite.

    Senator Hirono Didn't Always Tell Men to 'Shut Up' and Believe Accusers: When it mattered in her own backyard, with a male Democratic senator, she turned a blind eye to sexual abuse.


    Quotes:
    In Senator Hirono's case, she had the opportunity to choose sides in the 1990s when credible allegations were made that Daniel Inouye, then a Democratic senator representing Hawaii, had engaged in a pattern of sexual assault.

    Lenore Kwock, the senator's hairdresser for 20 years, said she had been forced into nonconsensual sex back in 1975 and had suffered persistent gropings since then.

    Kwock was surprised at the silence of Hawaii's female political leaders about her account, given that the Anita Hill hearings had riveted the nation just one year earlier. Mazie Hirono, then considered a protégé of Inouye's as a member of the State House, maintained a studied and consistent silence. There is no evidence she believed Kwock.

    Senator Mazie Hirono today poses as a brave feminist cultural warrior, but when it really counted in her own backyard in Hawaii, she was AWOL. The same holds true when Bill Clinton's predations were in the news in the late 1990s.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    it is as if it is about principals, not principles, for these people.

  • damikesc||

    #BelieveAccusersAgainstRepublicansOnly

  • Jeff_Kleppe||

    The problem with Dr. Ford's allegations against Judge Kavanaugh aren't just that they're unverified, but that they're unverifiable. She's claiming that the assault happened 1) at an indeterminate time, 2) on an indeterminate day, 3) at an indeterminate place. People that she says were either at the party or participating in the assault have denied it, and Judge Kavanaugh has denied it. There is simply nothing here to investigate (whether it's the Judiciary Committee, the FBI, or local law enforcement), and continuing to delay the hearing won't change any of that.

    Also, I just read that the second accuser is now refusing to testify in to the Judiciary Committee on her allegations printed in The New Yorker; allegations which have likewise been unsubstantiated by anyone the accuser has named.

    Democrats are setting victims of sexual assault back 25 years with these shenanigans and for what - a 1% chance in delaying the nomination past a midterm election cycle in which they have a 1% chance of retaking the Senate? Come on.

  • DRM||

    Actually, Dr. Ford's current account of the alleged incident can be verified against one thing -- the record of her previous account of the alleged incident to her therapist in 2012. And it fails that test.

    Sure, it's possible that the 2012 therapist notes (which say four boys were involved) are wrong. But there certainly is no imaginable motive for the therapist deliberately putting false information in the notes, and notes made at the time of the session are inherently more reliable than a statement about the contents of the session made six years later.

    While a mistake by the therapist is still possible, the balance of uncertainty is clearly on the side that the notes are an accurate record of her previous account, and thus her current public and politically-relevant account contradicts what she privately told her therapist.

  • Joe_dallas||

    The discrepency in the therapists notes dont bother me quite as much. I take a lot of notes during meetings, though lucky to get 20% of what is discussed and often have to go back to the client to clarify what I missed.

    There are a lot more red flags in the behavior of Ford
    1) the lack fo cooperation by the accuser and the attorneys
    2) trying to control the investigation
    3) partisan nature and timing of the allegation
    4) the recovered memory aspects, including the inability to identify the accused to the therapist, though the husband brought up the name kavanaugh

  • bernard11||

    trying to control the investigation

    LOL. Grassley is the one shutting things down. There is no investigation for her to control.

  • damikesc||

    There is no investigation to have. She hasn't even produced an accusation under oath.

  • Joe_dallas||

    Grassley is not shutting the investigation down -

    The Christine camp and lawyers are trying to control the manner of investigation.
    as noted this is one of the red flags of a false accusation

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....nt-lawyer/

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    THE FEDERALIST IS YOUR SOURCE!
    HOW ABOUT INFOWARS?
    DAILY CALLER?
    BREITBART?
    STORMFRONT?
    WND?

    Your gang is as laughable as the readers of Daily Kos!

    Left - Right = Zero

  • O Square||

    (snort)

  • Joe_dallas||

    according to CBS at 5:58 this morning Wilkinson told CBS the lawyers for Dr. Ford have not turned over the results of her lie detector test or her therapist's notes to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Again sounds like Christine ford is not cooperating with any attempts at assisting the investigation

    See the list of red flag for a false accusation

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "according to CBS at 5:58 this morning Wilkinson told CBS the lawyers for Dr. Ford have not turned over the results of her lie detector test or her therapist's notes to the Senate Judiciary Committee."

    Who cares? Polygraph results are worthless.

  • damikesc||

    Absolutely are. But they are what SHE is holding up as confirmation and SHE won't them over.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    You're a fucking liar,

  • iowantwo||

    DiFi shut down any investigation for 7 weeks.

    Facts matter.

  • hugh59||

    I want more information about Dr. Ford's history of psychiatric and psychological treatment. She says she never discussed the purported attack until 2012...then she starts talking about it a lot, in and out of treatment. What about before 2012? Was she in treatment? What did she tell those therapists?

    Also, how long has she had mental health problems? Did they predate the purported attack in 1982 or 1983? What about any mental health records from that time? What about her mental health records in college?

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    It was marriage counseling you dumbfuck.
    THAT'S WHY HER HUSBAND WAS THERE!

    You're obviously another brainwashed Trumptard.

    This is like watching a tribe of chimps trying to discuss quantum physics!!

  • Sarcastr0||

    I want more information about Dr. Ford's history of psychiatric and psychological treatment...

    how long has she had mental health problems?

    What is this, 1972?

    Conservative straw grasping sometimes involves returning to some pretty atavistic morals.

  • Ben_||

    If the Ford allegation — which I'm told there's no statute of limitations for — were reported to police, what would the police do?

    At most, they would talk to the 5 people. Police would hear one denial, one accusation with no specific time or place, and three statements of no knowledge of the incident. They'd have no reasonable way to gather more evidence given that it was 36 years ago (at no specific time or place). And that would be it — no way to know what happened, no probable cause for further action.

    Same for the Ramirez allegation. But they might subsequently mention to Ramirez that it's a crime to file a false police report.

    Final answer: no way to know what happened. No affirmative reason to believe anyone's story. Time spent, nothing accomplished.

  • John Galt Jr||

    They could read Mark Judge's book which describes a totally out of control drunk named "Bart O'Kavanaugh." (wink, wink)

    Or Kavanaugh's roommate at Yale, who says Kavanaugh was great, but an frequent and vicious drunk -- confirming Kavanaugh's own words in his high school yearbook.

    It's always scary to me, when people state with absolute certainty -- something they are totally ignorant of -- but parroting the tribal version of reality. Puppets dancing on a string.

    Suppress inconvenient facts. Then say there are no facts. We'll soon see if voters can cut through the smoke of burning bullshit

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Again, he's not claiming to be a teetotaler. He's claiming he didn't assault anyone. Plenty of people manage to drink without the sexual assault part.

  • Sarcastr0||

    At the very least Kav lies in his Fix interview then.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    So, is Reason jumping on the "delete posts if they have links" bandwagon now?

    Even the WaPo fact checker gave the claim that Kavanaugh lied three Pinocchios, and they're pretty virulently anti-Trump.

  • Rossami||

    No but Reason's commenting system is very picky about how the links can be added. In particular, there is a filter that blocks any "word" of greater than 50 characters. That effectively blocks almost all internet addresses.

    To add a link properly, you have to use standard HTML in the format:
    < a href="http://example.com/page.html">alias here< /a>
    (but without the spaces after each "

  • Rossami||

    Sorry. That got truncated. Should have said:
    ...
    (but without the spaces after each greater-than symbol)

    Note that many other versions of HTML will forgive you if you skip the quotes around the URL. Reason's commenting system is very strict on that point. You MUST include the quotes.

  • Ben_||

    They're trying to make it the same thing. If you ever drank more than a couple drinks, you better hope there are no unsolved sex crimes in your local area. Nor any unhappy women willing to tell a story.

  • damikesc||

    Libertarians for Prohibition iTT

  • John Galt Jr||

    Non-responsive.
    Evasion.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    Cowardly diversion

  • Michael P||

    You sound Russian. I mean concerned.

    Your schtick is boring and unconvincing. Try harder.

  • John Galt Jr||

    You sound like a crazy conservatard.

  • Ben_||

    So what? Maybe the police would compliment him for a life of accomplishment. Clearly getting drunk in school didn't stop him from becoming one of the top judicial minds later in life.

    Why should anyone care about stories of college drinking? Are you running for President of the Women's Christian Temperance League?

  • John Galt Jr||

    Non-responsive,
    Evasion
    Infantile.

  • I Callahan||

    What in Mark Judge's book shows evidence of Kavanaugh sexually assaulting anyone? As was mentioned above, a lot of people get piss drunk and don't sexually assault women.

    You accuse people of being puppets, yet here you are spouting the lefty talking points just like a lefty puppet would. Take your partisan blinders off, leave the emotion aside, and think. You're becoming the poster boy for Professor Somin's point in the post.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    As was mentioned above,

    By an ignorant nobody

    a lot of people get piss drunk and don't sexually assault women.

    Is that why he denies being a frequent blackout drunk? (smirk)

    You need to stay a few more years at the kid's table.

  • iowantwo||

    I know from sources, that Mark Judges book was written using the same, common, literary concept as B.H. Obama used in writing his autobiography. The characters are an amalgam of people he knew at the time. There were no actual persons or events, just a representation of times. Often exaggerated for the proper literary effect.

  • Joe_dallas||

    "If the Ford allegation — which I'm told there's no statute of limitations for — were reported to police, what would the police do?"

    Timely comment - I spoke with a police investigator last week (we happen to be in the same social circle for the last 15 years).

    His comment was that virtually no police officer or police department is going to waste their time with this complaint.
    1) 35 years ago
    2) high school kids
    3) and most importantly - The actual description of the event doesnt even remotely resemble an actual attempted rape.

  • John Galt Jr||

    3) and most importantly

    Only to male pigs.

    The actual description of the event doesn't even remotely resemble an actual attempted rape.

    (vomit) Why would it have to?
    The next time I see your daughter, I'm gonna push her onto a bed, lay on top of her, try to rip her clothes off and cover her mouth so she can't scream ... until the other guy in the room stops me.
    Then, I'll do the same to your wife,
    I've already done it to your mom, on one of our dates.

  • I Callahan||

    Then all cops must be "male pigs". Do you know anyone in law enforcement? Or know anything about it in particular? What would you change about the process? In your mind, is 35 year old accusations of groping prosecutable? What if there is no actual physical EVIDENCE of it happening, other than one person making the claim and telling others about it? Would you jail someone based on something that flimsy?

    If so, then you're worse than a progressive. You're a flat out fascist.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Then all cops must be "male pigs".

    Laughably irrelevant to the issue.

    Do you know anyone in law enforcement?

    Irrelevant bullhshit/intimidation.

    Or know anything about it in particular?

    I know he lied about the facts. And you're even worse,

    What would you change about the process?

    If I were you, I'd pull my head out of my ass.

    In your mind, is 35 year old accusations of groping prosecutable?

    You're a fucking liar that it was mere groping.
    And "prosectable" ALSO has nothing to do with this.

    What if there is no actual physical EVIDENCE of it happening, other than one person making the claim and telling others about it?

    With no investigation ....?

    Would you jail someone based on something that flimsy?

    It's not about jail either, you pathetic misfuck.
    And conservatard (same thing)

  • hugh59||

    And that is assuming the purported attack happened the way she alleges. Suppose something happened, but she exaggerated or embellished the story....so much so that the other participants can't recognize the event?

    Suppose you have a young woman with serious mental health issues who gets grabbed by a tipsy Kavanaugh and kissed...and maybe groped a little while his friend Judge is nearby. She pushes Kavanaugh away and hides in the bathroom. The event is so minor that Kavanaugh and Judge no longer remember it. But she embellishes the story and turns it into a more dramatic version.

    Now, getting drunk, grapping a female, kissing, pulling on her clothes, and groping her is wrong. It should be punished. But is misdemeanor level. A lot of women would brush it off and forget it. A lot of other women would be offended. Some women would be hurt. Some people are more sensitive than others (I know one woman who described the experience of being a young woman to being like "an antelope at the watering hole"). How do you measure the seriousness of the offense? By some objective "reasonable person standard" or by that subjective harm suffered by the victim?

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    Suppose pigs can fly ...

  • Joe_dallas||

    FWIW The statute of limitations may apply (or may not apply) to the offense as alleged.

    Maryland changed the law as it applies to sexual assault, etc.
    If the statute of limitations was still open as of the time of the event, then the it likely remains open under the new SoL.
    If the SoL was closed with respect to the event at the time of the law change, then the SoL may be closed after the law change.

    This is due to ex post facto clause. (not an expert on this issue) I do recall a SoL case that was decided at the SC level addressing the sexual predator law change on registration with local law enforcement and the retroactive change after the offender had completed his sentence.

  • Ellis Wyatt||

    That's a lie also.

  • Don Nico||

    Ben,

    It is really a question for an experienced MD criminal attorney to comment on, but a reading of the MD definition of 4th degree sexual assault suggests that Ford's allegation do not even meet that definition.

    It would be highly useful to have a competent professional option with relevant criminal experience in MD.

  • Goju||

    "Believe the woman" Ok. So we now believe the 16 yr old girl who said Schumer raped her. He must resign immediately.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Did Alex Jones tell you about that?

    The Schumer rape story may have been the absolute most crazy right-wing bullshit. The rape was revealed by HIS OWN DAUGHTER ,.. named Liss ... who does not exist ... NOT by any alleged victim. Yes, it's is THAT easy to con a goober!

    This is why we laugh at them, who stalk from both the left and the right.

    Left - Right = Zero

  • damikesc||

    The Schumer rape story may have been the absolute most crazy right-wing bullshit. The rape was revealed by HIS OWN DAUGHTER ,.. named Liss ... who does not exist ... NOT by any alleged victim. Yes, it's is THAT easy to con a goober!

    It is as verified as Ford's accusation.

    Why are you so scared of an investigation?

    Hell, shouldn't he DEMAND one to show he's innocent? Not demanding one looks kinda guilty.

  • John Galt Jr||

    It is as verified as Ford's accusation.

    It's a proven falsehood, since he has no such daughter.

    Why are you so scared of an investigation?

    We already know the accuser never existed

    Hell, shouldn't he DEMAND one to show he's innocent? Not demanding one looks kinda guilty.

    I SAID THE DAUGHTER DOES NOT EXIST!

    Repeat: "Yes, it is THAT easy to con a goober!. This is why we laugh at them, who stalk from both the left and the right.

  • damikesc||

    It's a proven falsehood, since he has no such daughter.

    I haven't seen an FBI investigation stating this. Why hide from it?

    We already know the accuser never existed

    so, no investigation wanted. Got it. Looks awfully guilty.

    I SAID THE DAUGHTER DOES NOT EXIST!

    Repeat: "Yes, it is THAT easy to con a goober!. This is why we laugh at them, who stalk from both the left and the right.
  • damikesc||

    All I'm seeing is a proggie trying to smear a survivor of a rape by known rapist Schumer (LOOK at the guy and tell me he wouldn't roofie a girl and rape her) and then deny an investigation of a credible accusation.

    Welcome to the world you demanded, son.

  • NToJ||

    You're an idiot. The woman who revealed Schumer's rape doesn't exist. The woman making allegations against Judge Kavanaugh is testifying in front of the SJC tomorrow.

  • Ridgeway||

    You're missing his point. He is using the logic of Hirono and Gillibrand, in which "facts" and "truth" are irrelevant, when it comes to whether to believe a survivor and vilify a rapist.

  • damikesc||

    You're an idiot. The woman who revealed Schumer's rape doesn't exist. The woman making allegations against Judge Kavanaugh is testifying in front of the SJC tomorrow.

    We need an FBI investigation to make sure.

    Stop attacking victims!

  • John Galt Jr||

    Why are you always a fucking psycho?

  • Perseus`||

    Speaking as a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, I'd say that the allegations against Roy Moore, for example, were far more credible, so he deserved to lose. By contrast, the evidence to support the allegations made by Ford is very weak thus far (as others have explained in detail). And I don't find it to be the least bit helpful or just for certain feminists, especially when it's politically convenient, to assert that the claims of that woman should be assumed to be true until proven otherwise simply because she is a woman as payback for the historical wrongs of patriarchy.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    In the Moore case, there were two distinct sets of allegations.

    The first was that he liked to date women just past the age of consent. Very credible evidence of this, he doesn't deny it, and it happens not to be illegal. (That's what "age of consent" MEANS.) Some people just find it icky.

    The second is that he sexually assaulted a minor. No evidence here except a yearbook entry which the accuser now admits to having written herself. Since she never allowed it to be forensically examined, we don't even know when she altered the inscription, it could have been recently.

    A great effort was made, and regrettably with great success, to conflate these two allegations, so that people, on seeing the first proven, assumed that the second had been.

  • I Callahan||

    Which is why this tack is being taken by the left with Kavanaugh: it works. If it didn't, they wouldn't do it.

  • NToJ||

    His confession to the first is what made the allegations more credible.

  • Perseus`||

    The allegations are that Moore assaulted multiple minors, and the pattern of trying to date teenagers while in his 30s isn't just "icky," it lends more credibility to the charges. There is no comparable pattern of behavior with Kavanugh.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Look, that's like saying admitting to having sex lends the claim that you're a rapist credibility. Doing something legal doesn't lend credibility to the claim you committed a crime.

  • Perseus`||

    A man in his 30s who has a clear taste for teenagers barely at the age of consent is precisely the sort of man who is at much higher risk of intentionally or unintentionally crossing the line. The comparable example of admitting to having sex would be a man who has a pattern of behaving boorishly towards women just short of legal sexual assault.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Prof. Volokh must wince each time Prof. Somin disregards the movement conservative playbook (which currently counsels quiet until Republicans have a chance to drag the Kavanaugh nomination past questions, around investigations, and onto the Supreme Court), but this appears to be the price that must be paid if a right-wing blog wishes to adorn its partisan polemics with a thin libertarian veneer.

  • I Callahan||

    Since it's obvious you didn't read the post, it was about partisan polemics. And here you are proving his point.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I read Prof. Somin's contributions, if only because the occasional bit of libertarianism is refreshing.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    You are only encouraging him.

  • AmosArch||

    Basically by even countenancing this current charade the standard you are setting is that for every eminent politician a claim by anyone in the world at anytime about anything must have a full FBI investigation and full court press regardless of the evidence. LOL I kinda hope they do get their way and they seriously implement this for all sides...it'll be very very fun these next few years.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I believe what's going on is that the left think they've secured sufficient control of the FBI and DOJ regardless of the party nominally controlling the White house, that they have no more to fear from investigations than Hillary did. Any "investigation" of a Democrat would be a whitewash and evidence destruction spree.

    And they're not unreasonable to think that. If the Republicans hold onto the Senate, with the retirements that are happening this year, next year we'll have a Senate that won't be so opposed to Trump taking control of the executive department, but it would probably take a second term anyway for Trump to change the culture at the DOJ to something less relentlessly devoted to the interests of the Democratic party.

    We're threading a thin needle here, to get to a place where the Democrats don't control the machinery of government even when they're nominally out of power.

  • apedad||

    ". . . but it would probably take a second term anyway for Trump to change the culture at the DOJ to something less relentlessly devoted to the interests of the Democratic party."

    You guys are ABSOLUTELY clueless.

    There are men and women in the FBI, CIA, DOD, NSA, DIA, NRO, etc, who are dedicated to the safety and security of the United States and are NOT beholden to any president.

    Justice, the Constitution, legal principles, working with allies--doing the right things for the right reasons--are what drive most people working at these agencies.

    You only know the headlines which are (appropriately so) bad news, and the successes are rarely reported (and that's not a problem, just a fact).

    Trump (or any president) replacing a few directors at the top of an agency will NOT change the culture.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "There are men and women in the FBI, CIA, DOD, NSA, DIA, NRO, etc, who are dedicated to the safety and security of the United States and are NOT beholden to any president."

    Indeed, there are. And then there are the people who control those organizations.

    Hillary got, according to internal communications at the FBI, a "Headquarters special"; That's where the investigation is taken away from the group of people you're talking about, and handed to the people I'm talking about.

    As long as the people I'm talking about control those organizations, the people you're talking about only get to run the investigations that aren't required to be rigged.

  • apedad||

    Individual cases do NOT translate into a culture.

    We all agree there are bad individuals who do bad things.

    There is NO culture for or against anything except doing the job they're supposed to do.

  • KevinP||

    This is part of the culture of the Justice Department.

    Andrew Weissmann, Mueller's top gun in Russia probe known for hardball tactics, overturned rulings


    Quotes (but read the whole article):
    Defense attorneys say Mr. Weissmann bent or broke the rules. As proof, they point to appeals court decisions, exhibits and witness statements.

    They say he intimidated witnesses by threatening indictments, created crimes that did not exist and, in one case, withheld evidence that could have aided the accused. At one hearing, an incredulous district court judge looked down at an Enron defendant and told him he was pleading guilty to a wire fraud crime that did not exist.

    "Weissmann seemed more interested in obtaining convictions than in promoting justice," said Tom Kirkendall, a Houston lawyer who represented an Enron executive.

    Said Mr. Cogdell, a colorful courtroom performer dubbed a "gunslinger" by the local press, "He's the most aggressive prosecutor I've ever been up against. He is, if not win at all cost, he's win at almost any cost."
  • apedad||

    The special prosecutor's office is outside the general "culture" of the Justice Department.

    You guys can bad-mouth the professional men and women of these law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies all you want, but 1. you're making judgments on something you have no clue about, and 2. you'd be wrong

  • Here for the outrage||

    ... Justice, the Constitution, legal principles, working with allies--doing the right things for the right reasons--are what drive most people working at these agencies

    That's weird, I could have sworn it was a bunch of collectivist assholes looking for a very secure 9-5 and loads of perks coming straight out of our pockets. You should venture to the comments in the reason articles, I think you'll find many people who have a less rosy view of unelected collectivists and their lifetime of growing big government.

  • apedad||

    Then you and the 'many people' would be wrong.

    I fully agree there are govt workers who have "a very secure 9-5 and loads of perks coming straight out of our pockets." (I have a dim view of govt employee work ethics.)

    But not the men and women of these law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies--and that's who we are discussing.

  • iowantwo||

    Check out the latest Project Veritas

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Yes indeed, both sides do it. But the anti-Kavanaugh side insists that partisan sway be undermined with facts, after thorough investigation. The pro-Kavanaugh side wants speed, no investigation, and will settle for a coverup. That is very far from equivalence. It will not be regarded as equivalent politically, nor by history.

    A further national wound is now threatened—one which will be serious, and extremely hard to heal. If there is no exoneration for Kavanaugh—which only investigation can provide—he must not be confirmed, lest his opponents conclude in the future that to redress the new court balance, any conduct whatever is justified. Conversely, Kavanaugh's nomination must not now be withdrawn before an investigation is complete, lest his supporters rage on for decades at the injustice inflicted on him—and seek to inflict similar injustice on opponents' court nominees long into the future.

    It follows that if Kavanaugh's nomination is withdrawn, or if he declines to continue for any reason whatever, the good of the nation will require that an investigation be pursued to completion anyway. And that will be equally true if Kavanaugh is appointed, absent an investigation. To give the nation peace, the Kavanaugh question must be settled in the court of public opinion. If Republicans decline to do it, Democrats must take up that task at their earliest opportunity, and both sides must live with the results.

    (continued)

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    One further requirement flows from this. Democrats should pledge that if Kavanaugh withdraws or is voted down, but subsequent investigation fails to confirm charges made against him, Kavanaugh will be the next Democratic nominee for the Court. In exchange, Republicans should pledge that their next nominee will be Garland. By that means, perhaps some good can be wrung from the Kavanaugh crisis.

  • apedad||

    No can do.

    You're obligating future Senators who may not even be in the Senate now.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yeah, making a deal presumes the capacity to commit. Only a fool makes a deal where they deliver their end first, and there is no ability by the other side to commit.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Political bargains are never formally enforceable. Nevertheless, they are struck all the time, and honored some of the time.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yeah, I remember Bush's deal on the judges. Didn't get honored.

  • damikesc||

    Yeah, trust the Dems who refused to discuss this during the hearings when they had the accusation for almost 2 months at that point.

    THEY didn't believe it.

  • John Galt Jr||

    We need a Constitutional Amendment requiring a 2/3 vote to confirm.
    Left - Right = Zero

  • ragebot||

    Requiring 2/3 to confirm would certainly be a good way to eliminate any possibility of anyone being confirmed.

  • damikesc||

    If it kills the judiciary entirely, that might be a net positive.

  • NToJ||

    Half the current Justices received 2/3rds votes. So did Kennedy. So did Scalia. And Souter. And Sandra Day O'Connor. And Rehnquist (first time around).

  • nonzenze||

    RBG was confirmed on a 96-3 vote FFS

  • damikesc||

    Because the GOP doesn't play this game like the Dems do.

    Rest assured, that will change.

    More than 60 votes for a SCOTUS justice is going to be rare from now on.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Requiring 2/3 to confirm would certainly be a good way to eliminate any possibility of anyone being confirmed.

    Add me to all the others ridiculing your ignorance.
    It would remove the partisanship tracing to recent removal of "the nuclear option."

  • AmosArch||

    Go to the old folks home warehousing Reid and take it out on him.

  • iowantwo||

    You have to come up with exactly how an investigation is going to exonerate Kavanaugh. I can not, in my most tortured 'what if's', come up with how that would look. Named witnesses have given their written testimony. Ford would have to admit she's lied, and offer up exculpatory facts. I suppose pigs could fly out of your ass, but I just don't see that happening either.

  • VinniUSMC||

    You've got one part of your ridiculous rant right, there is no equivalence.

    One side wants him lampooned for being a him, the other side wants facts instead of baseless assertions.

    Keep on spinning the good progressive spin.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Keep on spinning your conservatard wares. And lying about the two sides.
    My brother was USMC. You're no Marine.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "It is logically possible to believe that the burden of proof in cases where a judicial nominee is accused of sexual assault should rest with the accuser, while also believing that Kavanaugh is a an awful jurist."

    Yes, but what you're missing is that the case for Kavanaugh being guilty of sexual assault is so weak here, that believing Kavanaugh is an awful jurist who must be kept of the Supreme court by any means necessary is basically the only reason anybody would take it seriously.

    The thing about motivated reasoning correlating with politics, is that both sides don't have to engage in it to produce that correlation. You don't NEED motivated reasoning to arrive at the conclusion ordinary reasoning would bring you to.

    And, plenty of people oppose this witch hunt without thinking Kavanaugh is the ideal pick for the Supreme court. I'd support him in this even if I thought he were mediocre, just to keep this sort of thing from becoming SOP.

    But I actually think he's a very competent jurist who happens to not be a Libertarian. But mere competence will drive him to rule more in favor of liberty than any of the Justices who were chosen to be left wing hacks.

  • bernard11||

    the case for Kavanaugh being guilty of sexual assault is so weak

    And Grassley is determined to make sure it stays that way.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Repeating a lie 500 times doesn't make it true.

    Stop lying.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Denying it 1000 times does not make it false.

    Stop lying,

  • I Callahan||

    And doubling down on stupid doesn't make it intelligence.

    Stop being a whiny brat.

  • John Galt Jr||

    I'll now jam it up your ass too, thug.

  • damikesc||

    Hey, where IS her accusation under oath?

    She hasn't made one yet, has she?

  • Don Nico||

    Hey guys,

    This isn't the WaPo comments page which is now reduced to incessant hyperpartisan mudslinging.

  • John Galt Jr||

    How would you know, goober?

  • Nige||

    Meanwhile there is no way the attempted rape could ever possibly have happened because Roe Vs Wade has to go.

  • MatthewSlyfield||


    Liberals, by contrast, tend to argue that the situation should be treated as more a "job interview" than a legal process

    If the liberals/Democrats on the judicial committee actually believed that the situation should be treated like a job interview, they would avoid making speeches during the public hearings and would ask very different questions, in particular they would avoid politically charged questions.


    and it is up to Kavanaugh to prove that he is fit to be a Supreme Court justice.

    True, but when the only accusations of sexual misconduct are 30+ years old, from when the nominee was in high school, it is not at all obvious that even if they are true (which I consider unlikely), they have any bearing on his fitness to be a Supreme Court Justice.

  • apedad||

    If the parties were reversed, we'd be having this same conversation but we (commenters) would all simply be on the other side.

    This is fun!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    If you look on the web, you can find me expressing doubt that the allegations against Franken were sufficient to justify his resigning. So, not everybody would be on the other side.

  • Eddy||

    I think apedad is using his feelings to access an alternate universe with the parties reversed.

    Suppose it was *Democratic* candidates for Supreme Court who were accused of teenage groping, or adult jokes about pubic hair on coke cans, and assume it was *Republican* candidates for Supreme Court who were found to be ex-members of the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    I was surprised that Franken resigned. I don't know who he was listening to or who was pressuring him.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The only way I could make sense of it was that there was somebody with a provable case against him, who threatened to go public if he didn't resign. Because the stuff that was public was a joke.

  • iowantwo||

    The Dems threw him under the bus, to allow them to go postal on Roy Moore.

  • Don Nico||

    Brett,

    The problem for Franken was that Gillibrand was eager to stab him in the back for her own political purposes.
    What Bill Clinton called the "politics of personal destruction" is sometimes fratricidal.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I disagree. I'm cynical generally, but this case isn't right for such a facile dismissal.
    There is an asymmetry about metoo stuff, just like there is about being secretly homosexual.

    It's not perfect, but there would be at least some different rhetoric.

  • Martinned||

    While I disagree with Judge Kavanaugh on substance, I thought that he should be confirmed, because he seemed like a pretty mainstream Republican nominee, and a Republican President working with a Republican Senate should be able to get a mainstream Republican nominee confirmed.

    Now, I think he should be rejected and impeached from the office he already holds. The straightforward reason is that lying under oath is an unacceptable sin for a judge even more than for any other public officeholder. Whether lying under oath was a high crime or misdemeanor when Clinton did it was debatable, but for a judge it is absolutely unacceptable.

    As for the underlying accusations, I think #MeToo accusations fall on a range of plausibility, and this one is at the furthest end on the plausible side. No sane person would volunteer an accusation like this unless it was true. I don't think a single incident 30 years ago should disqualify Judge Kavanaugh for his Supreme Court seat, but lying about it should. As for multiple incidents...

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The case that he lied under oath is kind of sketchy. Even the Washington Post doesn't think so. And they're among the most fanatical of the anti-Trump media.

    If you're going to call this "lying under oath", we're going to need bigger prisons for all the people we're going to be charging with perjury.

  • Michael P||

    I took the accusations of perjury to refer to the sexual assault claims.

    That makes it a catch-22: admit to ancient accusations and right-thinking people might excuse you (but senators won't), or deny then and you're guilty of modern-day perjury.

  • Martinned||

    Yes, that's what I meant. (And yes, I am aware that that puts nominees in a tricky position. I guess that's what you get for committing criminal offences.)

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I agree that one of them is likely lying, but why are you so certain that it's Kavanaugh?

  • I Callahan||

    Which brings us to the crux of the professor's column: inherent bias.

  • Don Nico||

    Martin,

    If Judge is correct that BK was often blind drunk, it is quite possible that he is telling the truth that in his memory I never committed the alleged acts.

  • iowantwo||

    'If' is doing a lot of work for you.

  • bernard11||

    Your link doesn't work, Brett.

    But as I recall the Post story it was all about the confirmation of other judges. It did not deal with the stuff Miranda stole, about which Kavanaugh quite blatantly lied, or the Kozinski business, about which he most likely lied.

    Look. The guy has no credibility.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "The guy has no credibility."

    Take the beam out of your own eye, then you can see better.

  • swood1000||

    The corrected link is: Even the Washington Post doesn't think so. Open it in an incognito window under Chrome to bypass the demand for payment before viewing.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    Even a panel assembled by VOX did not think Kavanaugh "perjured" himself.

    Regarding his answer to a question about working on the Pryor nomination, his initial answer was that it was not his case; but he later said that he probably did some work on it; just that he was not handling nominations to that circuit; so his involvement would have been rather low. His answer only looks "false" if you look at the first sentences of his response.

    Regarding his answer to the question about the purloined Senate staff memos, his answer was less direct. He said he did not know about the scandal involving the purloined notes until he read about it in the paper. So, if someone tries to charge him with perjury for that answer, he can defend himself by saying that his answer was truthful because at the time he received the emails with the files, he did not know they were stolen.

    Regarding the alleged sex crimes, innocence is always a good defense.

  • iowantwo||

    Those purloined staff memos came off a computer Shared by both Dems and Repubs staff. It would be like finding files in the shared break room. Finders Keepers. Kavanaugh had no reason to question how they came to him.

  • Michael P||

    Your argument assumes, contrary to fact, that everyone a nominee deals with is sane. It also ignores decades of neuroscience on the ways in which memory is faulty, and how someone can make a claim that they believe is true but is in fact false.

    Which side of plausibility do you think each of the accusations fall on? I think Ford's is the most plausible, but each of the third parties she identified denies any memory of such a party. In particular, her "lifelong friend" who was supposedly at the party denies ever knowing Kavanaugh, much less being at a party with him (whether or not Ford was there).

  • ||

    What evidence do you have that he's lied at all, much less under oath?

  • KevinP||

    In the Netherlands, your criminal justice system must operate under the principle of "guilty even if proven innocent".

    We have a different system here.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    No sane person would volunteer an accusation like this unless it was true.

    I'm convinced Kavanaugh has been lying right along. But not for that reason. That goes way too far. The world is full of sane people who are also people of bad character, who will lie without remorse at almost any opportunity which suggests personal advantage to be had. Martinned, I envy you the life which has kept your experience free of that sort.

  • I Callahan||

    It must really be terrible to have to think this way. I'm glad I don't.

    Kavanaugh hasn't lied about one. single. thing.

    God help you.

  • Martinned||

    O, people lie all the time. But, given the Anita Hill precedent, no sane person would lie in these circumstances, given that the foreseeable consequence of coming forward is several million metric tons of abuse, as well as intense scrutiny.

    That is true of virtually no other situation where an alleged #MeToo victim might come forward.

  • iowantwo||

    Which is why Ford is not going to show tomorrow. She's (rather her Dem operative lawyers) going to make some claim about a skewed proccess, or demand another delay, or get sick, or any number of things. To avoid making a statement under penalty of perjury.

    Democrats really thought that Kananaugh was the usually Republican squish, and bailed long before now. Which is why creepy porn lawyer, Avinutty, was ordered to play his extremely weak hand with the latest girl, the weakest of the three actors in this stage production.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    "No sane person would volunteer an accusation like this unless it was true." I suggest you read about factitious personality disorder. A person suffering from that disease is not necessarily "insane" but would be a highly unreliable witness.

  • Joe_dallas||

    Good article from an employment law attorney who defends against sexual harassment claims

    10 red flags

    1) accuser brings claims in the press instead of through criminal channels or through corporate channels
    2) time of release of claims - often coinciding with bad employment review or timing for strategic advantage.
    3) accuser avoids participating in the investigation
    4) fights the accused right to defend him/her self
    5) fights to force the accused to defend him/her self before committing to final version
    6) accuser fights to control the investigation
    7) lack of witness corroboration
    8) inability to identify the accused
    9) Corroborating witness unable to provide any additional details, ie just repeats what the accused claims.
    10) strong denial from the accused.

    Christine B Ford allegation has all 10 of these red flags
    Ramirez has 6 or 7 of these red flags

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....nt-lawyer/

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The only reason Ramirez fails to exhibit all 10 is because she goes so all out on number 3 that 4-6 are ruled out.

  • Joe_dallas||

    I am not doubting the ramirez got drunk at a sex toy dorm party and the some may or may not have stuck a fake privates or their real privates in her face.

    What make me question the claim that it was Kavanaugh was how word spreads in a college dorm and how quickly word reaches the RA's and the head RA. Even in the mid 70's when I lived in a dorm, this would have gotten an expulsion from the dorm or at least put on probation (probation with expulsion from the dorm with next offense).

    Supposedly there were 10 or so participants, one later running down the hall yelling Kav put is privates in her face. Simply not credible that word did not reach the head RA the next day and having no displinary report.

  • ||

    I could believe that the RA didn't hear of or take action. What I can't believe is that no one remembers being told of it contemporaneously.

  • Joe_dallas||

    I have a little different take - When i lived in the Dorm, it was a typical dorm (with some quasi frat house behavior). There were lots of goody two shoes that would report most anything trivial. That behavior would have gotten most anyone expelled from the dorm or at least some form of displinary action.
    Assuming the actual exposure took place, The RA would almost definitely hear about it and some action taken. The fact that no report or disciplinary action was taken implies that either the event did not take place as described or did not involve kavanaugh. Kavanugh was apparently a well known guy in the dorm, so highly likely if it was him, it would have been well known and reported.

  • ragebot||

    Small correction.

    When you state:

    "Supposedly there were 10 or so participants, one later running down the hall yelling Kav put is privates in her face. Simply not credible that word did not reach the head RA the next day and having no displinary report."

    from what I have read someone ran down the hall yelling Brett Kavanaugh put his privates in Debby's face.

    I have to wonder why anyone would say 'Brett Kavanaugh' instead of Brett or Kavanaugh; not to mention saying Debby instead of Debby Ramirez. People don't usually talk like that.

  • Joe_dallas||

    Ragebot - Thanks for the correction - (and yes - I was aware of the paraphrasing when I wrote the comment)

    The second point which I previously did not make was the term I substituted for privates

    Supposedly, the term used was he stuck his "penis " in her face instead of 'dick" or any of the other more common terms . Nobody I hung around with used the scientific term to describe the privates, almost always used one of the many street terms.

    Just another point that creates skepticism.

  • santamonica811||

    Interesting. I, personally, almost always use the terms 'penis' and vagina' and 'breasts.' But I do notice that lots of people, including lots of very educated women, say, things like "pussy" and "boobs" and "dick." People's lexicons really vary in this aspect. Not sure if I'd take away too much from that...unless an allegation is that "Hey, Thomas ran down the hall saying "penis" when everyone else agrees that he used the term "dick" regularly and exclusively."

  • bernard11||

    1. Accuser sent letter to her Congresswoman - equivalent to "corporate channels."
    2. Letter sent months ago
    3. No. The GOP refuses to investigate
    4. No.
    5. No.
    6. Investigation is under control of GOP, which stymies all efforts.
    7. OK
    8. Did identify the accused
    9. Corroborating witness not put under oath by Grassley
    10. Routine.

    BS article.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Corroborating witness not put under oath by Grassley"

    All four witnesses she identified have made statements carrying criminal penalties.

    Stop lying.

  • santamonica811||

    Bob. He made a factual, falsifiable, statement: "...put under oath by Grassley."

    No ambiguity there.

    Your point--that these witnesses have not been put under oath by Grassley, but have been said to have made statements under oath or the equivalent--is orthogonal to Bernard's point. Perhaps you should stop lying about him???

  • iowantwo||

    "put under oath by Grassely"

    So you actually believe the Chairman of the Committee, personally swears in witnesses when they give statements?

    Talk about bad faith debate.

  • Joe_dallas||

    1) sending to congressmen is political/press
    2) letter send after nomination - similar to complaint filed after someone comes up for promotion in corporate enviroment
    3) Not cooporating - see Fords attorney's behavior
    4) see behavior of attorneys
    5) See attorneys demand that Christine testifies after Kavanaugh
    6) See attorneys behavior
    7) you finally agree to something obvious to everyone
    8) Ramirez cant identify the accused , Christine could not name the accused until 2018, husband claimed that she name kavanaugh in 2012, but therapists notes say otherwise
    9) letter from witness are subject to perjury - equivilant to being under oath
    10 ) the level of denial is considerably stronger - than routine

    Bernard - try to read the citation i provided from an experienced employment law attorney
    Then get back coherent responses that actually address the points made.

  • Michael Cook||

    To make the analogy with Bill Clinton complete, a woman will have to positively ID those private parts

  • WJack||

    The propaganda pumps, i.e., the Times, Post, NPR etc. and the Democrats have once again proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be more cunning and consequently able to out maneuver Republicans in manipulating public opinion.

    For example, Somin has abandoned fundamental Anglo Saxon fairness and would place a burden of proof on the accused, but then . . . could be he perceives Kavanaugh to be a threat to globalism.

  • Don Nico||

    Jack,

    You make a good point. Personally I start with the assumption that neither is telling the "truth" by which I mean a story that conforms with incidents that actually happened.

  • damikesc||

    More tentatively, I think the burden of proof should be roughly even between the two sides.

    Go ahead. Prove something DIDN'T happen. Let's ignore it is logically impossible to do so. You think it IS possible.

    Now prove you didn't do something when you don't know where or when something happened. Ignore that the people the accuser claimed were here have said they it did not happen.

    I cannot believe a law professor actually argued this. Clearly, the low view of lawyers and the legal community is not quite low enough.

  • M.L.||

    There's zero corroborating evidence or witness here, and her named witness deny her general account of the whole event.

    Meanwhile, there is actual evidence in the allegations against Keith Ellison -- but Dems/media are silent! I read that only 5% of MN Dems believe the allegations. LOL, what a joke.

  • bernard11||

    There's zero corroborating evidence or witness here

    And Grassley means to keep it that way.

  • M.L.||

    There's a big stack of evidence against, and none for.

  • I Callahan||

    You keep saying this, but I've seen no examples of this. Give an example of a piece of evidence that Grassley is purposely keeping out of the committee.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    Actually, reality seems to be keeping it that way.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    Actually, reality seems to be keeping it that way.

  • ||

    Anyone calling for an FBI (or otherwise) investigation is a moronic partisan. There's no way to investigate these accusations, and they know it. The only result to an FBI investigation will be to delay the nomination, as the FBI won't be able to prove or disprove anything. There's obviously no forensic evidence. The timeline is uncertain. The identity of would be witnesses is unknown. Even the word of the participants should be considered unreliable after all of these years.

    It's time for Ford (and Ramirez) to put up or shut up. Testify, under oath, in front of Congress.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Would you agree to an FBI investigation after the testimony and subsequent confirmation?

    At this point, I think that's the best remotely likely scenario.

  • ||

    Sure, why not, provided that the cost of such, if the results are inconclusive, be billed to the DNC.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    What are they going to investigate?

    And how? Kav and the others do not have to talk to the FBI.

    "We attempted to interview 5 people. On advice of counsel, all refused."

  • Smith_FT_MI||

    I'd agree to an FBI investigation _after_ testimony and _before_ confirmation. The absence of sworn record allegations presently is to me the primary obstacle to an investigation by anyone. (Right now I'm uncertain who, if any, of the participants have made sufficient record statements to Committee Investigators - which may (or may not) be sufficient for perjury charges.)

    For both the integrity of the Senate - knowing that many may question whether it retains _any_ integrity - and political considerations, it seems to make sense to give each side "enough rope to hang themselves" by having a supposedly impartial body express their opinion. Anything that dodges the issue will only provide grounds for more inflammatory "half-baked" rhetoric.

  • Smith_FT_MI||

    A brief supplementation.

    As exhaustive an examination of "witnesses" by either the Committee, the FBI, or whomever is important to the integrity of SCOTUS. And I don't see how that can be damaging to the Republican majority (in the sense of both the Committee and the Senate itself).

    If it confirms that the Ford allegations are partisan-driven without any factual basis, then it could only assist them in the Midterms. If, in the unlikely event of loss of Senate control (given the greater number of Democratic seats up for election), then they still have (as Schumer noted), 2 months after the election for a confirmation vote - assuming they still are of the opinion that confirmation is the righteous choice. At that point, any alienation of the public thereby wouldn't be that consequential, having 2 more years to counteract such a possible impact.

    In short, it seems, both for the integrity of SCOTUS and political considerations, to get everything admissible and credible "into the open".

  • iowantwo||

    If it confirms that the Ford allegations are partisan-driven without any factual basis,

    The FBI does not do this. You have to pick a scenerio and stick with it.
    Is it a crime? If yes, then the FBI does not have jurisdiction, and the local authorities would be called, I'm guessing a simple assault from 36 years ago will get rejected.
    If it is not a crime, then the FBI could maybe do a 7th background investigation. IF, they change the rules and start the investigation before the subject turns 18. It that really the standard we are moving to? Interviewing class mates from the 8th grade?
    Even if the FBI grants your Christmas wish and goes back, they are NOT going to detirmine who is telling the truth. They have NEVER operated like that. They put interviews in the file and let the agency that ordered the background check sort it out. That's why the Senate committee has two (majority and minority)very well paid investigative staffs to followup on the interviews taken by the FBI

  • Social Justice is neither||

    Is there any reason a SC justice could not be impeached should an investigation bring up something actionable after confirmation?

    If there isn't then you're effectively demanding that all nominations be put on hold forever as accusation after accusation comes forward and must be investigated but only after first after delay after delay in the confirmation. Want to bet we won't see retaliation in the future as well.

  • damikesc||

    Sarcastro, he's had SIX background checks.

    Can you explain why you'd accept the results of the seventh one?

  • santamonica811||

    The previous 6 were unaware of these allegations, and therefore did not investigate them. Therefore, after an investigation that looks at recent allegations, people on both sides would be more assured that the background check was, in fact, complete. The fact that all 6 investigations--as far as I've been able to see--failed to note his drug use (ie, booze), in spite of pretty overwhelming evidence available from a wide variety of people (including many of his friends at the time!!!), makes me fear that the investigations were far too superficial.

    I do not have any real-life experience with FBI background checks. My layperson guess is that the first one done would be the most complete. And, for all subsequent investigations, it might be as simple as, "Hey, we did one 2 years ago. Any new info for those two years? Nope? Okay, investigation done." But maybe that is wrong. For all I know; each investigation is tabula rosa, and the second investigation was done just as thoroughly as the first one, and the 5th one was just as in-depth as the 1st one and as the 4th one. I have no idea about this. What mechanism is there to examine these FBI background checks? Can the White House make them available to Judge K? To the media (with K's consent)? To the Senate???

  • Joe_dallas||

    Having a family member go through an FBI background check and 2 clients go through an FBI background check - they are fairly thorough.

    With what kav's been accused of - looks like the FBI was very sloppy with all six or the events did not take place as depicted.

    Hard to belief Judge was questioned multiple time.

  • Don Nico||

    Sarcastro,

    I agree. If there is any investigation it should be afterwards and limited to uncovering evidence that falsifies statements under oath. That could be done in a few days.

  • JeffreyL||

    To the OP

    The issue here is your legal bias. Ilya Shaprio was correct in his assessment on the politico article you all want us to read. There is no way to investigate. As a law professor, your default is more investigation. That however, is not possible in this situation.

    Please detail for us how you would investigate this matter. You can't. There is only at this point, he said she said, and that is not an investigation. There is no additional fact pattern above or beyond he said, she said. Look at the new evidence presented today. The calendar. Tells us nothing. The statements for 4 individuals after 2012 including the husband. Worthless. 2012 was already 30 years after the fact. No evidence can be found at this point to investigate.

  • AltheDago||

    If it were remotely possible to "further investigate" the accusations, I'd be all for it. However, there is nothing to investigate. There is no crime scene. (Dr. Blasey can't remember where the crime scene was.) There are no witnesses who remember the incident occurring. There is, obviously, no forensic evidence. Any "investigation" leaves us right where we are now: Dr. Blasey says she was assaulted. Judge Kavanaugh says it didn't happen.

    In any case, who among us will volunteer to be judged solely on what we did when we were seventeen? I won't.

  • ragebot||

    When I got back to the world after winning a second place medal in the 1967-68 Southeast Asian war games I hooked up with my homies back in the hood. Several of them mentioned they had been contacted by the feds who were asking lots of questions about me. Nothing unexpected since it was SOP for anyone getting a Top Secret clearance prior to entering/attending OCS. What was unexpected just how many folks were questioned. My main squeeze was questioned, along with a girl who was a one night stand, along with the popular head cheerleader I had dated once. Not to mention the captain of the HS basketball team; I was a bench warmer. Several teachers and coaches were also questioned.

    Let's keep in mind I was nothing but a 2nd Lt. in the VietNam era; along with how many others. Kavanaugh went through six of these background checks. I would bet hundreds of people were questioned about everything under the sun. While I could see one single incident getting past them as more claims are made I get more skeptical.

    More to come

  • Joe_dallas||

    " Kavanaugh went through six of these background checks. I would bet hundreds of people were questioned about everything under the sun. While I could see one single incident getting past them as more claims are made I get more skeptical."

    Good points -

    There is now a third accuser with stories of multiple gang rapes.

    But no police reports for any of the gang rapes?
    No police reports for Christine alleged attempted rape?
    No police reports for Ramirez, no RA reports, ?

    Nothing getting picked up in six separate background checks?

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    I can see juvenile alcohol abuse not getting reported. I can see juvenile sexual misconduct (groping and misdemeanor level offenses) not getting reported. I can see some rapes not getting reported. But a gang rape? A series of gang rapes? That would likely leave a woman with injuries requiring medical attention. A juvenile showing up with those kinds of injuries would probably trigger an investigation.

  • santamonica811||

    If the victim went to the hospital or to her family doctor? Sure. Definitely would have, in that event. If the person was too embarrassed to go for medical treatment? Then no, unfortunately.

  • Don Nico||

    I have also been through several FULL background checks and have been questioned in numerous others. Detailed questions concerning alcohol abuse or drug use are abundant. If one says that a person drinks alcohol, the questions follow about the degree of intoxication and behavior when intoxicated.

    BK went through such checks by 2002. Evidently nothing precluded a TS codeword clearance. It is typical the such full checks go back 20 years.

  • ragebot||

    A lot has been made of the book Judge wrote. It is not easy to believe no one talked to him in any of the six background checks. It is easy to believe that the feds would understand the concept that no one would buy a book about high school and college students who drank to moderation and did nothing more than TP the grumpy old man's house on Halloween; to sell a book it would have to be about things like puking your guts out after drinking wood alcohol.

    What would be of interest to me is seeing the previous six background checks. Things like who was talked to and what they said might shed a lot of light on what some folks are saying now compared to what they said before high stakes politics raised it's ugly head.

  • rajpe||

    The answer is very clear.

    No one who has ever been a teenage boy should be eligible for the Supreme Court.

  • I Callahan||

    There are feminists in this country who have no problem with this thinking.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The Ford bitch could neither provide the date nor the address of where this attack allegedly occurred.

    As for the allegation of indecent exposure, this was what Bill Clinton was alleged to have done to Paula Jones. The allegation was published in 1994.

    Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996, winning an overwhelming majority of the female vote. (Bob Dole was a majority of the male vote.)

    The precedent has been set.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The more important precedent involves the use of power, and in particular the type of power that could enlarge the Supreme Court.

    Carry on, clingers . . . push your bigoted and backward preferences, so long as you can, until your betters improve American society against your wishes.

  • I Callahan||

    Keep dreaming, Art. Our side is smarter, and a lot more apt to defend ourselves physically. Your side, however, just sounds smart sitting behind a keyboard.

  • WJack||

    " [S]ounds smart"????

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    My side has been crafting American progress against the efforts and wishes of right-wingers in America throughout my lifetime -- winning the culture war, establishing our nation's strongest (liberal-libertarian) schools, and arranging all of this damned reason, science, education, tolerance, liberty, and inclusivity that riles conservatives so.

    What does your side have to show for the most recent half-century in America? A few gays still treated in a shabby manner here and there, a few years until single-payer health care, a few military misadventures, clinging futilely to the remnants of the drug war, some voter suppression, vestigial misogyny and racism . . . did I miss anything?

  • Sam Gompers||

    The Democrats have been protecting and coddling rapists for years. Now all of a sudden they care?

  • NToJ||

    "Similarly, nothing necessarily precludes a nominee from simultaneously being a great jurist and a sexual predator."

    Except voters, like me, who don't want sexual predators on the court, regardless of how good their jurisprudence is. There are enough good candidates that we can weed out the sexual predators with little harm to the law.

    (I am not saying Kavanaugh is a sexual predator. I don't have any idea.)

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    What exactly do bernard and the other hacks who are trying to stall this thing think Grassley should do?

  • I Callahan||

    Continue to stall this thing until either the Dems take over the senate, Trump is impeached, or Trump comes out as a full Dem and installs a lefty USSC justice. It's as simple as that.

    They'd never have the stones to admit that, though.

  • hugh59||

    Avenatti has almost no credibility. His client submits a sworn affidavit concerning events that can probably not be proven or disproven. Considering all the people that interacted with Kavanaugh in high school and college, it should not be hard to find a few who suffer from factitious personality disorder.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "probably not be proven or disproven"

    She went to multiple "rape parties", knew they were "rape parties" and kept going until she herself was gang raped.

    I think that could be proven. Seems like a lot of potential witnesses if true.

    Of course its not. See: Stone article on the UVa frat.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    Rolling Stone

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    The more outrageous the claim, the more likely it is false. See the Tawana Brawley case.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    I find it hard to believe she would keep going to these parties after she saw what happened at first one. If she saw this happening, she would realize that sooner or later it would happen to her. Yet she says she kept going to the parties. I find it unbelievable.

    Just like I find it unbelievable that Ford, a psychology professor, never discussed the alleged attempted rape in any of the therapy sessions she had until 2012...then she starts talking about it to a lot of people, in and out of therapy.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    She was also three years older than Kav and in college. Yet she continued to go to these "rape parties".

    Why would she know who he was? He was not famous in 1982, just another nerdy jock prep school boy.

  • santamonica811||

    Midwest.
    1. I completely agree with your first point.
    2. You second point is dopey. (Or, at least, woefully uninformed.) You are not a therapist, you obviously have not talked to any therapist about this issue, etc. I do believe you, when you say that you find it unbelievable that Ford would not discuss her alleged attack for many years, and then--after the disclosure to her counselor--would be much more open afterwards.

    I did work as a therapist. And the majority of my legal career has been working in abuse cases (representing both sides, but more accused abusers than victims). It is extraordinarily common for a victim to not talk about it for year. And often, years and years and years. And then, for a million different reasons, to talk about it. And it is also extremely common for therapists (depending on the specific facts and patient) to gentle encourage that patient to talk about their past trauma. This phenomenon is so common that it is unremarkable. But it is something that therapists often have to testify to at trial--to explain to uninformed jury members or judges, that it is really really REALLY common.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Avenatti has almost no credibility.

    He has arranged a circumstance in which his client, a porn star, has more credibility than her legal adversary, the president of the United States. Bonus: The president's lawyer in that case appears to have turned state's evidence in an effort to avoid a substantial term of incarceration.

  • dwb68||

    People who hold themselves out as less prone to bias are 1-just as prone to bias as every other human; 2- the worst kind because they refuse to admit bias and simply develop bigger words and longer blog posts to rationalize their bias.

    About 70% of social "science" cannot be replicated. Partly because over educated people believe in the Augury of their magical statistics or arguments and refuse to see bias.

  • WJack||

    dwb68 nailed it.

    Progressive educators have, and are victimizing an entire generation . . . some frequently post here..

  • Incredulous||

    I'm sorry but there is no equivalence here and it's not about partisan bias. I'm an independent and I'm calling bullshit. One side wants to throw out all the rights of the accused and the other wants actual evidence. And the timing itself argues against "investigating" more. That's complete bullshit as well. It's been 35 f'ing years!!! It's literally the last minute before confirmation. There's no physical evidence. It's a waste of time, abusive to all involved and only encourages more last minute bullshit accusations. Let's stop this insanity now. I really didn't care about Kavanaugh before but he now needs to be confirmed to restore some sanity and decency.

  • apedad||

    "It's been 35 f'ing years!!! It's literally the last minute before confirmation."

    I could see that a victim would want to put an assault behind them and not ever bring it up again.

    However, now that the person who hurt the victim has been nominated for the Supreme Court and is plastered all over the news, I could also see the victim coming forward now.

    None of us have any clue exactly what happened back then but the argument about the time lapse being an issue is not a good argument.

  • MonitorsMost||

    There are no rights of the accused in this situation.

  • I Callahan||

    So it doesn't matter what happens then. All it takes is one accusation and the accused has no ability to fight it.

    Explain to me why anyone would go through this?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That's the insanity in a nutshell. The situation is that a nominee Democrats don't like is about to be confirmed, and no right that might stand in the way of preventing that can be permitted to exist.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    This 'thin accusations against person in public life' outrage is a good look for the birther side.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • santamonica811||

    "... It's literally the last minute before confirmation...."

    No, you mean, "It's *figuratively* the last minute before confirmation." These 4 allegations (and counting) did not come forth 60 seconds before confirmation.

    #EnglishMatters

  • MonitorsMost||

    Republicans and Democrats could both use more criminal defense attorneys in their rank. For all of its other flaws, being a criminal defense true believer helps (although by no means completely) keep you grounded as to accusations of misconduct and evidence.

    From my review of the statements, there is no independent corroboration of Ms. Blasey's account. My understanding is she has said that she did not tell anyone about the event contemporaneously. The declarations she submitted in support show that she told people after 2006 that some form of assault occurred and named Kavanaugh specifically in 2017 or 2018. If she didn't tell anyone back then, we are basically left with 3 potential witnesses: Judge, Kavanaugh and Blasey. Assuming Kavanaugh continues to deny and Judge doesn't admit the events occurred, we aren't getting anywhere beyond where we currently are.

    Obviously, the senate can use whatever standard it wants. But, oral testimony as to events that occurred 35 years ago without any independent corroborating evidence is a very low hurdle. One that if applied consistently would be very problematic for many people both currently and in the future.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    The Senate needs to confirm Kavanaugh to show that this kind of slimy, disgusting character assassination will not be rewarded.

  • MonitorsMost||

    Yes, I'm sure that the senate confirming Kavanaugh is going to make things better. Regardless of outcome or even correctness of the accusations, the only thing this is going to show is that these tactics work in our currently tribalism and hyper-partisan atmosphere. Things are going to get worse before they get better.

    Optimistically, this too shall pass.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Regardless of outcome"

    I don't think that is true. If Kav is confirmed, its less likely these slimeball tactics will be used in the future.

    If they work, count on them every time a man is nominated.

    But I agree whatever happens, the losing side is going to have something to add to its litany of horrors to avenge. Bork or Garland. Thomas being claimed by both sides as proof of the perfidy of the other side.

  • MonitorsMost||

    I think the tactic was effective in reducing public opinion of Kavanaugh. It should be a surprise. Most normal people aren't interested in whether Congress can create a position under the purview of the executive but cannot be fired by the President. More people are interested in whether SCOTUS thinks abortion restrictions prohibited by the constitution, but that is generally results based on not a concern or interest in the actual jurisprudence. Everyone understands a sex scandal.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The Senate needs to confirm Kavanaugh to show that this kind of slimy, disgusting character assassination will not be rewarded.

    That sentiment, from the birther-Benghazi Fever-'lock 'er up' side of the aisle, is charming.

    Carry on, clingers.

    See you at the installation of the eleventh Supreme Court justice in a few years.

  • ||

    You really are itching for conservatives to exercise a 2nd Amendment remedy, aren't you?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you want to go "the full LaVoy," be my guest.

    (This comment from The Man Of Many Names reminds me to tell Prof. Volokh that Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob says 'hi' from the land of conservative banishment.)

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The Senate needs to confirm Kavanaugh to show that this kind of slimy, disgusting character assassination will not be rewarded.

    You figure that would be just the tonic to erase the stains of birtherism, or of those racist emails that were bouncing among Republican email accounts a few years ago, or of the "lock her up" chants, Midwest Lawyer?

  • BadLib||

    "It is not clear to me whether I would be happier (on jurisprudential grounds alone) with him or with whoever Trump might pick next, should this nomination fail."

    If the Democrats take the Senate, I suspect they will just refuse to hold hearings on anyone Trump nominates unless it's someone to the left of Kennedy. Trump might make such a nomination, but I doubt it.

    I suspect this is the primary reason the Democrats are desperately trying to delay until after the election (and, if they take the Senate, until after the next session begins) and why Republicans are desperately trying to move ahead. If the Democrats don't take the Senate (and perhaps even lose a seat or two), I expect to see the outrage about what a nominee may have done, but no one can collaborate, in high school or college 30+ years ago die down a bit.

    Democrats, interestingly, seemed to believe just about 2.5 years ago that it was absolutely critical that all nine seats on the Supreme Court be filled or we would be facing a calamity. Kavanaugh has already missed the September 24th opening conference of the Court (which is probably not a big deal), but if not confirmed in the Friday vote, he will also miss the first oral arguments of OT18 (which includes what looks like, from my layperson's reading, looks pretty important as it includes Weyerhaeuser Co. v.Fish And Wildlife Service). Oddly, Democrats no long seem to think it's critical that all seats be filled -- I'm not sure why they had this change of heart.

  • Rockabilly||

    The New York Times reported that Iraq had WMDs.

    Where are they?

  • iowantwo||

    Talk to Bob Woodward, he wrote a whole book about that. He found them actually.

  • TomYa||

    Partisan bias is a real thing but so is partisan bias in willingness to make these accusations.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Only if they are false.

  • John B. Egan||

    There is no doubt that the Democrats opposition to Kavanaugh is more than a little bit related to the partisan squashing of Merrick Garland by the GOP... In other words, tit-for-tat. So I guess, fair is fair.

    However, I do take exception to this one statement: People on both sides of the Kavanaugh debate may wish to ask themselves whether ideology or partisanship are influencing their evaluation of evidence on factual and procedural questions that are at most only indirectly related to the political and jurisprudential stakes in the nomination.

    The simple truth is that there has been no evidentiary evaluation, and in fact the GOP are doing everything they can to suppress it. So far, three women, his old roommate, his drinking buddy and a few others have stood up and stated that yes, he not only could have committed these offenses but did,

    The issue simply remains, is it reasonable to promote someone with such a potentially flawed background, and someone who is willing to lie to Congress to cover up his past to our highest Judicial office? In light of his own track record going after Bill Clinton, I'd have to say no! Find someone else who didn't commit these atrocities, or put him on ice and allow a real investigation, then promote him when the investigation has been finalized. How hard can that be?

  • ||

    What evidence is there that he lied?

  • gzuckier||

    Kavanaugh appears to be a liar (albeit only when it is advantageous for him, unlike President Trump).
    He has lied about seeing stolen secret DNC memos.
    He has lied about not being involved in confirming William Pryor for an appeals court seat.
    These are not "he said / she said" gray areas.
    He appears to be currently lying in his insistence that his adolescent years were spent in saintly fashion, based on the evidence he himself produced of those years as well as the testimony of others.
    Whether the particulars of the sexual assault charges against him are true would not affect the above.
    Bad enough, but with the very likely suspicion that his candidacy is entirely due to a tacit agreement to defend President Trump from the bench against any and all charges, at least in Trump's opinion, his avowed denials of this suspicion bear no weight, given his demonstrated willingness to lie in furtherance of his career.
    We do not want a Supreme Court justice appointed on the basis of quid pro quo get-out-of-jail-free cards for a President. T
    This is not a matter of "presumed innocent of criminal assault in the absence of absolute proof".
    This is a matter of there being plenty of evidence to support a very realistic possibility that this man's appointment is a simple attempt to subvert justice. That's enough to disqualify him.

  • Don Nico||

    "stolen secret DNC memos"

    The D's persist in their little lie.
    The documents were not stolen. They were placed by an incompetent on a R server. The accessing of the documents was unauthorized. By if one is asked if he saw "stolen" documents, an honest answer (though not the whole truth) would be "no."

  • Sarcastr0||

    Manage to get into a places supposed to be closed to you and take something.
    That's stealing.

    I don't see how that analogy does not apply to this data.

  • iowantwo||

    Closer to finding a file of documents in the lunch room. Those document were left in the public domain.

  • Sarcastr0||

    This is very much untrue. A password was used - that's not the public.

  • gzuckier||

    And Kavanaugh apparently knew this in your model of the situation? "Hey, these aren't stolen are they?" "Heck no, they fell off a truck" "Well, OK then."
    And further, that makes him the truthteller of the piece, and the folks whose property it actually was are the liars? And this paragon of honesty is to be trusted to tell you if he has some sort of commitment to coming to the aid of the president in exchange for his nomination, as long as you word the question precisely enough to hit exactly on the right target?
    Ladies, when attending an RNC function, please remember to carry your purses on your person at all times and do not leave them unattended for a second.

  • gzuckier||

    The "Report on the Investigation into Improper Access to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Computer System", by the Sergeant at Arms, U.S. Senate, https://cryptome.org/judiciary-sys.htm
    has the following sequence of events:

    Jason Lundell, a clerk at the Senate Judiciary Committee hired by the Republican Staff Director to work for Orrin Hatch staff, watched the System Administrator login and memorized his password, by which he was able to access staffers' directories. First he printed up 100-200 pages of Democrat documents for said members of Hatch's staff, who "appeared pleased" but later "admonished him".

    Then he demonstrated his acess for Manuel Miranda, who told him to ignore the prohibition, "Senator Hatch wanted the staff to use any means necessary to support President Bush's nominees," and that there was nothing wrong, or illegal with it, and proceeded to request particular documents and contents of particular directories; Manuel had Lundell provide documents on an almost daily basis through the entire year of 2002, and continued when he took a position in the office of Majority Leader Frist in 2003.

    And you summarize this as "The documents were not stolen. They were placed by an incompetent on a R server."?

    And then you say "The D's persist in their little lie."??

    I can see discussion of Kavanaugh's veracity or lack of same with Republicans is futile. Shame on you.

  • mchughjj||

    This is not a bad take. I would argue that, in this case, the bias is not symmetric. Democrat operatives have been mining these stories at the 11th hour, which calls into question the political meaning, irrespective of the voracity of any individual woman's personal story. If this is a "job interview", then I guess nobody can ever be confirmed, because the party that's not of the President can always find people willing to assail his or her character.

    I don't like Trump, but I think this a big, fat political loser for the Democrats, in what should otherwise be a good year. The nakedness of the political gimmick going on is ridiculous. There's the possibility Kavanaugh is lying about experiences with any of these women coming forward, but it's also possible these stories are fabricated, or that he did something very wrong and doesn't remember, due to alcohol or otherwise.

    The point is we're not going to know (short of some unknown and unlikely revelation), and the confirmation process will end in a binary vote by each Senator. The GOP would be wise to stick to their schedule. Those Senators who don't like Kavanaugh on ideological grounds already believe the accusers.

  • CapitalistRoader||

    Dem's are doing an excellent job whipping up the Republican base, just in time for the midterms. The Kavanaugh is a rapey guy charge is every bit as invigorating to Republican voters as Hillary's deplorables comments.

    Red wave.

  • mchughjj||

    I don't agree with your punchline, but the blue wave may be looking more purple. Having said that, I think the Kavanaugh circus is every bit as politically stupid as Hillary's deplorable comment. At least Hillary had a point, just one that should never have been expressed as someone seeking the vote of, well, everyone.

  • aluchko||

    If the allegations are true, which seems pretty damn likely, there are two major problems with Kavanaugh.

    1) He's likely in favour of overturning Roe v. Wade but has several instances or pursuing non-consensual sex in his youth. It's deeply hypocritical to pursue acts that would impregnate a woman against her will, and then take away right right to terminate the resulting pregnancy.

    2) Lets assume you don't care about the hypocrisy or attempted rape from his youth, he's still lying about it in sworn testimony right now.

    How is perjury during confirmation hearings not disqualifying for a SCOTUS nominee?

  • JonathanL||

    If I were the hiring manager in this instance with the facts as we currently know them, I would not say no to Judge Kavanaugh.

  • gzuckier||

    The hiring manager in this case, however, has at minimum a wink-wink nudge-nudge deal with the candidate to cover up his own misdeeds in exchange for getting the job.

  • iowantwo||

    That's pretty convenient, I can keep out the muslims, and rednecks and the young women that might get pregnant, by rejecting the applicants because of a credible allegation of assault from 35 years ago. yea, that's the ticket, very old allegation, that's the ticket, the EEOC will understand that.,

  • Sarcastr0||

    I don't know what happened back in the day with these women. The hearing is IMO the best we can hope for. I think an investigation is very much called for, but putting it after the confirmation is suboptimal, but still gets to the truth as best we can.

    But in all these fuzzy unknowns and political-investigatory thickets what is becoming clear is that Kavanaugh is quite willing to lie to get nominated. From 2006 lies about his time with the Bush Admin to lies about how much of a vice-free kid he was. The 2006 stuff is hinky, but maybe just part of a screwed up business-as-usual nomination protocol. But this latest round of clear and obvious lying isn't just the usual nomination go-round. It's got his classmates coming out because it's so clearly not true. And it doesn't even really matter.

    It's less the lack of integrity that leaves a bad taste to me, it's the vaulting ambition that leaves integrity in the dust.

  • Eddy||

    You're saying you'd prefer Janice Rogers Brown for Supreme Court? I fully agree!

  • Sarcastr0||

    Did you see how judicial outcomes wasn't a part of my analysis? Sexual assault, and the sort of character willing to blithely lie to get confirmed are threshold issues that come before any jurisprudential issues I have.

  • Eddy||

    Sorry, I didn't realize you put such a low priority outcomes of cases.

    From my viewpoint, when a judge promises to uphold the Constitution and then fails to do so, that's perjury, and while this sort of perjury is rife, certain candidates are more prone to it than others.

    On the off chance Kavanaugh ran a rape ring in high school and then lied about it this year, that would be Very Bad, just like a Justice who promised to uphold the Constitution and then proceeded to declare a constitutional right to kill babies, abdicated his power in favor of administrative agencies, allowed the federal government to put pot smokers and growers in prison in the name of interstate commerce, etc., etc.

    The difference is that, under the supposition that Kavanaugh ran a high-school rape ring, his alleged perjury relates to the distant past, while a Justice who perjures him/herself in order to kill babies, lock up people whom the feds can't constitutionally lock up, etc., is committing *ongoing* perjury.

    If we're going to decide which form of perjury takes precedence in considering nominees, I'd say tha latter kind.

    I sure wish those judges who ran rape rings in high school would come clean about it. If they don't, the least they can do is not commit perjury and rape our Constitution.

  • Eddy||

    Now that I think about it, I can think of one key difference between the two kinds of perjury.

    If a judge lies about running a rape ring, he can go to prison, assuming of course there's actually enough evidence against him.

    If a judge lies about supporting the Constitution, then unless Congress grows a spine and starts being serious about the impeachment weapon, then what remedy is there?

  • Eddy||

    I get the impression that many of Kavanaugh's opponents are thinking "it's not right that this guy goes onto the Supreme Court after perjuring himself about all the multiple rapes and assaults he committed! In punishment, he should stay on the appeals court!"

    Of course, if the evidence were compelling, then he could go to prison whether he's on the Supreme Court, appeals court, or a greeter at Wal-Mart.

  • aluchko||

    Oh come off it. It's beyond ridiculous to conflate someone having a different interpretation of the constitution with being a perjuring rapist.

  • Eddy||

    That's because you don't see cases in terms of the human beings affected by them.

    Because of ex-Klansman Hugo Black's perjury about supporting the Constitution, Japanese-Americans were (with Black's approval) banished from their homes and locked in detention camps.

    Because of Harry Blackmun's perjury about supporting the Constitution, millions of children were put beyond the protection of the law.

    Because of Justice Scalia's perjury (his attachment to precedent at the expense of the actual Constitution), the federal government put people in prison for growing a plant whose cultivation for certain purposes was permitted by state law.

    Because of Roger Taney's perjury about supporting the Constitution, black people (including free black people) were declared to have no rights the whites had to respect, even though the evidence of the Constitution's original public meaning was otherwise.

    By your logic, all these "distinguished judges" were totally awesome because at least they didn't grope anyone in high school (or weren't accused of it by sketchy accusers).

  • Eddy||

    By your logic, Sherman Booth was worse than Taney because he (allegedly) schtupped the teenage babysitter then lied about it. All Taney did was keep Booth in prison for his role in rescuing a fugitive slave.

  • aluchko||

    That's because you don't see cases in terms of the human beings affected by them.

    Like the women forced to carry pregnancies to term?

    Or the entitled brats who go around raping them and then grow up to become judges who insist they carry their rapist's child to term.

    Kavanaugh seems to think that everyone should be held accountable for their actions except him.

    Because of Harry Blackmun's perjury about supporting the Constitution, millions of children were put beyond the protection of the law.

    A fetus is not a child. Of course, that's an easy distinction for you to brush over when you're not the one who carries the bulk of the consequences for that pregnancy.

  • Eddy||

    You bring up an example which tends to confirm my point.

    Suppose we had a constitution which clearly established the right to abortion (as clearly as the real constitution does *not* establish such a right).

    But assume a judge swears to uphold this constitution, then violates the clearly-established right of abortion. Should such perjury be treated lightly?

  • Sarcastr0||

    By your logic, it's okay to elevate anyone to the Court, so long as they will rule pro-life.

    If you've reached the ends-justify-the-means level of zealotry about your cause, you need to step back and get some perspective because that's a pretty easy door to all sorts of awfulness.

  • Eddy||

    "By your logic, it's okay to elevate anyone to the Court, so long as they will rule pro-life."

    Really? I said that I'd oppose Kavanaugh if I was convinced he was a perjurer, AND that his perjury was worse than the perjury of realistically-possible candidates who might get appointed if Kavanaugh is rejected. I counted "falsely promising to enforce the Constitution" among the examples of perjury.

    If logic is your forte, you will see that this is different than "elevat(ing) anyone to the Court, so long as they will rule pro-life."

    I actually proposed a *balancing test* - you like those, don't you?

  • Eddy||

    And on the subject of logic, could you define what you mean by "pro-life," and specify what the other position (the non- "pro-life" position) is.

  • Eddy||

    I would oppose the Duck Dynasty guy for the Supreme Court, because I'm not sure about the soundness of his position on Chevron.

    Seriously, though, let's have a bit less "so you're saying" and a bit more engagement with what people actually say.

  • Eddy||

    Let's try this example. Suppose there were a Presidential election in which both of the major-party candidates were liars. I presume that in that case your purity wouldn't allow you to vote for either candidate, but suppose a friend of yours said he was voting for, say, Hillary Clinton, on the grounds that she may be a liar but Trump's lies are worse and anyway Hillary is better for the country.

    Would you be able to find it in your heart to forgive the guy who voted for Clinton? Or would you roll your eyes and say, "so according to you, it's OK to elevate anyone to the White House as long as they have a 'D' after their name"?

  • Sarcastr0||

    1 President is a political office; Justice is not.
    2) Lying versus lying under oath.
    3) Political puffery versus bald-faced complete lies.

  • Eddy||

    I almost feel bad, luring you so easily into the defense of Hillary Clinton.

    But you undercut your creative paraphrase of my views. Remember that you claimed "By your logic, it's okay to elevate anyone to the Court, so long as they will rule pro-life."

    Choosing the lesser of two evils, who happens to be a Democrat, isn't the same as elevating anyone to the White House as long as they have a D after their name.

    Once more, to avoid being sidelined, I'll just stipulate that Kavanaugh lied under oath this very year about being a high-school hoodlum three decades ago (though I'm not convinced myself), and compare him to the alternative - just as you compared Hillary to the alternative.

    The alternative to Kavanaugh - if the Democrats retake the Senate - will probably be a judge acceptable to the Democrats, which means committed to Roe and other bad decisions, and opposed to decisions like Heller which enforce basic constitutional rights.

    Such an enemy of Constitution would swear or affirm to uphold the constitution and proceed to undermine it.

    Thus, such a judge's perjury would do more than cover up high-school hoodlum antics, but would also lead to arbitrary killing, wrongful imprisonment, arbitrary government in general.

    So you balance out the qualities of the two perjurers, just like you balanced out the horrible, horrible lies of Trump against the *minor peccadilloes* of Hillary.

  • Sarcastr0||

    One can both believe that it's okay to vote for a politician who is dishonest, and that a Supreme Court Justice candidate that lies under oath shouldn't get the job.

    You are trying to generalize this, but that's a strawman. I'm not saying voting for the lesser of two evils is always bad, I'm saying in this case it's bad, for the case-specific reasons I gave above.

  • Eddy||

    I thought *you* tried to generalize with your remark that I'd put any random prolifer on the Supreme Court no matter what the circumstances.

  • Eddy||

    Anyway, for an elected officeholder, I would have thought that lying to the voters would be the practical equivalent of lying under oath.

    If ever there was an occasion to draw a line in the sand and say "this person should not have access to the nuclear football no matter who her opponents are," then it would be in the case of a Presidential candidate who lies to voters.

    Apparently, with judges it's "I don't care if Judge Jeffries himself gets the job instead - Kavanaugh lied and cannot be on the bench."

    But when it comes to Presidential candidates, suddenly "we are all men of ze world, we understand zees things."

  • Eddy||

    (To be clear, I'd be willing to vote for a liar for President if necessary, under the rubric of "lesser evil")

  • Sarcastr0||

    My reasoning, as I wrote it out, is pretty clearly case-specific.

    Your reasoning, as you wrote it out in your 9:23PM post, pretty specifically does not have any logical or fact-specific limit to it Else, why did you apply it to so many examples?

    If you do have a moral threshold beyond which the caselaw ends do not justify the means, I would be interested in seeing you explicate it.

  • Eddy||

    My 9:23 post was responding to this remark:

    "aluchko|9.27.18 @ 7:40PM|#

    "Oh come off it. It's beyond ridiculous to conflate someone having a different interpretation of the constitution with being a perjuring rapist."

    So I showed that such a comparison could be quite legitimate - and in particular I showed some of the specifics behind a vague phrase like "having a different interpretation of the constitution."

    If you think you to read more than that into what I said, you might want to take your Helm of Telepathy to the shop for repairs.

  • Eddy||

    Anyway, I achieved at least this much - I got a zealous Defender of Unrelenting, Unconditional Morality to indirectly acknowledge he supported Hillary Clinton for President.

  • Eddy||

    "If you do have a moral threshold beyond which the caselaw ends do not justify the means, I would be interested in seeing you explicate it."

    I have no idea what you're talking about, and I don't answer moral accusations from Hillary supporters, anyway.

  • Sarcastr0||

    So what looked like an argument for the ends justifying the means, is actually just an argument that in retrospect sometimes legal outcomes are about the same as allowing a rapist on the court.

    Helluva way to run a system of morality.

    Not really a big super-duper morality guy, actually. I have my principles, but I'd say my main throughline is boring functionalism. Certainly I'm less of a moralist than those above outraged for poor Judge Kavanaugh.

    Anyhow, I'm in DC, no reason to vote anything but third party.

  • Eddy||

    "what looked like an argument for the ends justifying the means"

    Looked to *you.*

    And the phrase you're looking for is "the ends justifying *any* means." Which I'm against and never said I was for.

    Is this your way of backing off from your original accusation?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Sure, I'm happy to back off given my initial misunderstanding of what you were saying. I think you could have been more clear, but we seem to be on the same page in the end, if what I said at 9:07AM comports with what you were trying to say.

    I still think your argument is bad, since arguing lying is subjective equates bad policy opinions with intentional self-contradiction, and using retroactive judicial outcomes for a prospective moral system is not a good mix.

    Regardless of how much we may have talked past each other, I'd be interested in if you have a cognizable line you'd draw beyond with the judge does not justify the means, and where that line might go.

  • Eddy||

    Bear in mind that I'm discussing a *hypothetical* judge who lied about hoodlum activities as a teenager. Whether Kavanaugh is such a judge I'm not persuaded, but I'm stuck with the hypothetical I'm given.

    Let's see - if it were Kavanaugh v. Barrett I'd want Barrett on the Court instead of him. Likewise with a bunch of other constitutionalist judges - if the powers that be were in the habit of consulting me about judicial appointments then frankly Kavanaugh would never have made the list of my recommendations. Not because I'm unduly credulous about his alleged juvenile delinquent rape gangs and Fast Times at Georgetown High, but because there are better candidates out there, like Barrett, Janice Rogers Brown etc.

    On the other hand, I'd even support Earl Warren himself if the alternative were George Jeffries - so maybe that's an example of what you're asking for?

  • Eddy||

    Anyway, thank you for your patience as we chatted with each other, I hope it worked better than some Internet debates, I'm feeling friendly but also in the mood for something less Internet-chat related...have a great day!

  • Sarcastr0||

    But now we are back to me being uncomfortable with you playing fantasy SCOTUS while there is this threshold issue hanging over Kavanaugh.

    Is it not a threshold issue to you because it's not proven? Or does it fall below your threshold in some more fuzzy risk analytical way (in which case it feels less like a threshold)? Or do you believe it's certainly all completely false, and thus not even worth investigating?

  • Eddy||

    "not a threshold issue to you"

    OK, we're talking past each other yet again, I think I had the right idea of doing something else. I don't see any need for your to be "uncomfortable" when I'm some fellow on the Internet who you can agree or disagree with, or ignore, whatever suits you.

  • Eddy||

    Oh, I see what you mean by threshold issue - no matter what candidate would replace him, Kavanaugh should never be confirmed.

    Anyway, we've narrowed our disagreement sufficiently - you think there's more flexibility with Presidential elections to choose a lesser evil, I think there's the same flexibility with judicial nominees. Anything more would be fairly repetitious.

  • Midwest Lawyer||

    And so it begins.

  • Kary Love||

    The reason for the US Supreme (sic) Court is: IF congress violates the constitution (acting outside its "limited, specifically enumerated powers") passes and unconstitutional law, AND the president signs it (usually because it also expands executive power beyond constitutional bounds, THEN the Supreme Court is last check on usurpation (juries would be except for erosion of their role by judicial instructions to convict) of the inalienable rights of the people. Thus, the test for federal judge (at every level) ought to be fidelity to the Constitution. Mr. Kavanaugh's writings supporting expansion of executive power beyond the limits of the Constitution alone ought to be at least concerning, if not disqualifying. This analysis is, of course, juvenile at best as we have long ago cut loose a federal frankenstein unbound from the chains of the Constitution. No checks, no balances, no rule of law is the result.

  • santamonica811||

    [My pet (literary) peeve: Frankenstein was NOT the name of the monster . . . it was the name of the person who created the monster. It's been literately 2 generations since I read the book in Jr. High, but . . . I do not recall the doctor being in chains in the book/movie(s), right?]

    Maybe analogize to Prometheus being unbound, or something like that???

  • Eddy||

    Consider this point which someone suggested to me when I made the usual Frankenstein-isn't-the-monster argument:

    Frankenstein created the monster, which in turn referred to Frankenstein as its father. Being a sexist kind of monster, it would probably consider that it got its last name from its "father." Likewise, I would imagine that if it came to an official document, treating the monster as adopted, "Frankenstein" would be as good a name to use as any.

  • wxman40||

    Good article. I would have to say that my personal bias regarding the accusations has a lot more to do with the nature of partisan politics, throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, a personal experience from my early professional life regarding multiple false allegations from women and the previous "high tech lynch mob" of Justice Thomas' process.

    As for the 4th Ammendment concerns, Rand Paul addressed the hell out of that and is going to vote for Kavanaugh after a private meeting with him some months back. Literally the only Senator to champion privacy in three decades on the Senate floor is voting yes.

  • Masked Professor||

    Hundreds of African Americans were lynched for looking in the direction of white women. Much less than the allegations against Kavanaugh. The Party of lynching and lynchers (Democrats) is doing what it knows best. This time, all conservative or libertarian white males who are up for public office will be metaphorically lynched if they ever attended a party while in high school or even drank a beer in college. The spectacle of Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris is really embarrassing. I thought they were desperate but I had no idea they were this desperate. I imagine they will go ballistic and bring the world to a grinding halt the day Trump nominates Justice Ginsburg's replacement.

  • Masked Professor||

    Hundreds of African Americans were lynched for looking in the direction of white women. Much less than the allegations against Kavanaugh. The Party of lynching and lynchers (Democrats) is doing what it knows best. This time, all conservative or libertarian white males who are up for public office will be metaphorically lynched if they ever attended a party while in high school or even drank a beer in college. The spectacle of Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris is really embarrassing. I thought they were desperate but I had no idea they were this desperate. I imagine they will go ballistic and bring the world to a grinding halt the day Trump nominates Justice Ginsburg's replacement.

  • BrotherMovesOn||

    Iowantwo 9.26.18 10:51 PM
    Anything from your crystal-ball brain about the
    Patriots/Dolphins game? Need to get out of the red.

  • ||

    Women have demonstrated today why they should not be allowed to vote. They're whiny and emotional and make decisions based not on logic, but on "feelings."

  • Sarcastr0||

    People around here ignore him when he lays turds like this, but go right back to engaging with him when next they agree with him.

    Reminds me of someone.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    Even Hitler was good to his dog.

  • Liberty Lover||

    The only conclusion I can draw from the proceedings are our government is run by a bunch of clowns.

  • Eddy||

    Clowns are professionals, if they messed up as badly as government officials they wouldn't have jobs any more.

  • Eddy||

    And they're better drivers than Senators are.

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