Supreme Court nominee faces sexual misconduct allegations
By: Mac Williams
In 1991 then supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by his former coworker Anita Hill. The accusation caused senate confirmation hearings for Thomas to be reopened and a public hearing was conducted with both Hill and Thomas to get to the bottom of the accusation. Both Hill and Thomas gave testimony under oath about the allegation of sexual harassment and after the hearing, Thomas was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 52-48 senate vote.
Over the course of the last week Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for the United States Supreme Court, has come under fire for a similar reason after two women accused him of sexual misconduct.
According to New York Times reporter Sheryl Stolberg, the first allegation of sexual misconduct was made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist at Palo Alto University. According to Stolberg, Dr. Ford alleges that at a high school party in the early 1980’s, a drunken Mr. Kavanaugh cornered her in a bedroom, pinned her on a bed, groped her, and covered her mouth when she tried to scream for help.
In a statement released by Ford she says, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me, he was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
According to CNN’s Manu Raju, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein received a letter detailing the allegations on July 30, but only referred the letter to the FBI in mid-September. According to Raju the reason for the delay was because the accuser Dr. Ford did not want to come forward with public testimony.
The accusation made by Ford caused Kavanaugh to issue a public statement in which he categorically denies all of the allegations made by Dr. Ford. Meanwhile, the accusation has also caused the Senate Judiciary Committee to halt the confirmation of Kavanaugh until a hearing is conducted to determine the validity of Dr. Ford’s claims.
Over the weekend attorneys for Dr. Ford and Senate Judiciary Committee members have been negotiating the circumstances under which Dr. Ford will give her testimony to the committee. According to Christal Hayes and Deirdre Shesgreen of USA Today, Dr. Ford had tentatively agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in an open hearing on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.
Shortly after Dr. Ford reached the agreement a second woman came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.
According to Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s described another incident of drunken sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.
According to Ramirez, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dormitory party in 1983. Admittedly, Ramirez explained that her memory of that incident does contain gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident.
In another statement issued by Kavanaugh he said, “This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.”
After Thursday’s open hearing with Dr. Ford, committee members will put the nomination before the full senate where Kavanaugh will either be confirmed or struck down. Until then, citizens are left with allegations to which a clear resolution seems unlikely.