President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be giving the Senate Judiciary Committee calendars from 1982 to back up his continued denial of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford. Thatâ€™s according to The New York Times, late Sunday afternoon.
The year 1982 was 36 years ago. Do you have your calendar from back then? Heck, were you even alive back then? (I was and I remember, but my calendar situation was mainly my parentsâ€™ responsibility at that time.) At least Judge Kavanaugh canâ€™t say his was accidentally deleted from wherever we keep our calendars, these days. On the other hand, looks like weâ€™ll be keeping our calendars forever!
I explained in a lawsuit about 17-18 years ago (half the time since 1982?!) â€“ when I mentioned plans and the other side immediately asked for my calendar â€“ theyâ€™re good for some things and not for others. Calendars will tell what your plans were when you wrote (or saved) them. They were your intentions. Calendars wonâ€™t tell whether you actually followed through with the plans or changed them. Maybe you got sick.
(â€œSo as I told you, despite what my old calendar said, no, I didnâ€™t go to a movie with my friend Harry, that night!â€)
Anyway, the calendar is supposed to help with Judge Kavanaughâ€™s denial, at least to some degree.
Letâ€™s see. He was born in 1965. (Damn! All these â€œoldâ€ peopleâ€™s birth years are getting closer and closer to mine!)
Dr. Blasey Ford is expected to testify in an open hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary CommitteeÂ on Thursday. Click here for details on the conditions requested and what to expect, at least at this point. Just don’t swear by it under oath, since things are changing.
Kavanaugh graduated from Yale Law School in 1990 and clerked for some other federal judges.Â He actually interviewed for a clerkship with then-Supreme CourtÂ Chief JusticeÂ William Rehnquist, but was denied. Instead, he clerked for JusticeÂ Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement led to Kavanaughâ€™s nomination to replace him.
During that clerkship, he worked alongside Neil Gorsuch (born 1967!). He and now-Justice Gorsuch attended the same prep school! Small world.
SIDEBAR: Remember, Justice Gorsuchâ€™s nomination came after President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, who remains Chief Judge of theÂ Federal Appeals Court, DC Circuit, where Kavanaugh has been a Circuit Judge since 2006! Again, small world.
But the Republican-controlled Senate never took up Judge Garlandâ€™s nomination.
BACK TO THE STORY: Youâ€™ll remember, PresidentÂ Donald TrumpÂ nominated Gorsuch to succeedÂ the late Antonin Scalia. He was 49 and the youngest (successful) nominee to the Supreme Court sinceÂ none other than Clarence Thomas! Justice Thomas was 43, back in 1991. You may remember, his nomination proceedings to replace the retiring Thurgood Marshall (quota?) were contentious from the start over the issue of abortion and Thomasâ€™ conservative political views.
Then and now: Clarence Thomas at the EEOC (1989â€“1990), and as a Supreme Court Justice
Whose name is missing from that last paragraph? Law Professor Anita Hill, of course!
Sheâ€™d worked under Thomas at theÂ U.S. EducationÂ Department and then at theÂ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It wasnâ€™t until the end of Thomasâ€™ confirmation hearings that her behavior allegations against Thomas were leaked to National Public Radioâ€™s Supreme Court correspondentÂ Nina TotenbergÂ (still on the job!) from a confidential FBI report. I think we have dÃ©jÃ vu.
SIDEBAR: Just wondering if any of the TV networks have correspondents who focus on the Supreme Court. I remember in 1991 when NBC News took Carl Stern off the air after decades on the SCOTUS beat. It was pointed out that left nobody exclusively covering one of the three branches of our government, gathering sources for NBC. You can read more about the decision-making and see some familiar names (to us old people) in this Washington Post article. Stern, a lawyer, is now George Washington Universityâ€™s Emeritus Professor of Media and Public Affairs.
BACK TO THE STORY: Many of us actually learned the phrase â€œsexual harassmentâ€ during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill frenzy. Hill â€“ a Yale Law School graduate and University of Oklahoma law professor â€“ testified a mutual friend introduced her to Thomas. Then, he asked if sheâ€™d leave a private firm and work as his assistant at the Department of Education. After being happy for three months, he asked her to go out with him socially and everything changed when she told him it wouldnâ€™t be right, since she was her supervisor. (Iâ€™m summarizing her statement from that same link above, sure to bring back memories for us older folk.)
â€œI thought that by saying â€˜noâ€™ and explaining my reasons, my employer would abandon his social suggestions. However, to my regret, in the following few weeks he continued to ask me out on several occasions. He pressed me to justify my reasons for saying “no” to him. These incidents took place in his office or mine. They were in the form of private conversations which would not have been overheard by anyone else.
â€œMy working relationship became even more strained when Judge Thomas began to use work situations to discuss sex. On these occasions, he would call me into his office for reports on education issues and projects or he might suggest that because of the time pressures of his schedule, we go to lunch to a government cafeteria. After a brief discussion of work, he would turn the conversation to a discussion of sexual matters. His conversations were very vivid.
â€œHe spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals, and films showing group sex or rape scenes. He talked about pornographic materials depicting individuals with large penises, or large breasts involved in various sex acts.
â€œOn several occasions Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess. Because I was extremely uncomfortable talking about sex with him at all, and particularly in such a graphic way, I told him that I did not want to talk about these subjects. I would also try to change the subject to education matters or to nonsexual personal matters, such as his background or his beliefs. My efforts to change the subject were rarely successful.â€
Then, Prof. Hill testified,
â€œDuring the latter part of my time at the Department of Education, the social pressures and any conversation of his offensive behavior ended. I began both to believe and hope that our working relationship could be a proper, cordial, and professional one. When Judge Thomas was made chair of the EEOC, I needed to face the question of whether to go with him. I was asked to do so and I did. The work, itself, was interesting, and at that time, it appeared that the sexual overtures, which had so troubled me, had ended. I also faced the realistic fact that I had no alternative job. While I might have gone back to private practice, perhaps in my old firm, or at another, I was dedicated to civil rights work and my first choice was to be in that field. Moreover, at that time the Department of Education, itself, was a dubious venture. President Reagan was seeking to abolish the entire department.â€
There were no problems for her first few months.
â€œHowever, during the fall and winter of 1982, these began again. The comments were random, and ranged from pressing me about why I didn’t go out with him, to remarks about my personal appearance. I remember him saying that â€˜some day I would have to tell him the real reason that I wouldn’t go out with him.â€™
â€œHe began to show displeasure in his tone and voice and his demeanor in his continued pressure for an explanation. He commented on what I was wearing in terms of whether it made me more or less sexually attractive. The incidents occurred in his inner office at the EEOC.
â€œOne of the oddest episodes I remember was an occasion in which Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office, he got up from the table, at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, â€˜Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?â€™
â€œOn other occasions he referred to the size of his own penis as being larger than normal and he also spoke on some occasions of the pleasures he had given to women with oral sex. At this point, late 1982,1 began to feel severe stress on the job. I began to be concerned that Clarence Thomas might take out his anger with me by degrading me or not giving me important assignments. I also thought that he might find an excuse for dismissing me.
â€œIn January 1983, I began looking for another job. I was handicapped because I feared that if he found out he might make it difficult for me to find other employment, and I might be dismissed from the job I had.
â€œAnother factor that made my search more difficult was that this was during a period of a hiring freeze in the Government. In February 1983, I was hospitalized for 5 days on an emergency basis for acute stomach pain which I attributed to stress on the job. Once out of the hospital. I became more committed to find other employment and sought further to minimize my contact with Thomas.â€
Hill ended up taking a job at Oral Roberts University.
â€œThe dean of the university saw me teaching and inquired as to whether I would be interested in pursuing a career in teaching, beginning at Oral Roberts University. I agreed to take the job, in large part, because of my desire to escape the pressures I felt at the EEOC due to Judge Thomas.
â€œWhen I informed him that I was leaving in July, I recall that his response was that now, I would no longer have an excuse for not going out with him. I told him that I still preferred not to do so. At some time after that meeting, he asked if he could take me to dinner at the end of the term. When I declined, he assured me that the dinner was a professional courtesy only and not a social invitation. I reluctantly agreed to accept that invitation but only if it was at the very end of a working day.
â€œOn, as I recall, the last day of my employment at the EEOC in the summer of 1983, I did have dinner with Clarence Thomas. We went directly from work to a restaurant near the office. We talked about the work that I had done both at Education and at the EEOC. He told me that he was pleased with all of it except for an article and speech that I had done for him while we were at the Office for Civil Rights. Finally he made a comment that I will vividly remember. He said, that if I ever told anyone of his behavior that it would ruin his career. This was not an apology, nor was it an explanation. That was his last remark about the possibility of our going out, or reference to his behavior.â€
In case you were wondering (and who of a certain age wasnâ€™t?), further discussions of pornographic videos Thomas had allegedly rented, including the now-famous Long Dong Silver, mustâ€™ve happened during questioning or cross-examination.
Anyway, members of the Judiciary Committee didnâ€™t treat Prof. Hill very nicely. For reasons we donâ€™t know and can only imagine, two women who made statements supporting Prof. Hill to Senate staffers never testified.
Then-Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (D) was committee chair. The late Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican,Â gave Prof. Hill an especially hard time.
â€œProfessor Hill, now that you have read the FBI report, you can see that it contains no reference to any mention of Judge Thomas’ private parts or sexual prowess or size, et cetera, and my question to you would be, on something that is as important as it is in your written testimony and in your responses to Senator Biden, why didn’t you tell the FBI about that?â€
DÃ©jÃ vu, once again.
â€œProfessor Hill, you said that you took it to mean that Judge Thomas wanted to have sex with you, but in fact he never did ask you to have sex, correct?â€
And then the former Philadelphia D.A. asked,
â€œWhat went through your mind, if anything, on whether you ought to come forward at that stage, because if you had, you would have stopped this man from being head of the EEOC perhaps for another decade? What went on through your mind? I know you decided not to make a complaint, but did you give that any consideration, and, if so, how could you allow this kind of reprehensible conduct to go on right in the headquarters, without doing something about it?â€
You can see and hear some other lowlights in these clips:
Thomas denied everything and called the hearing a type of â€œhigh techÂ lynching.â€
As we know, the nomination was moved to the full, Democratic-controlled, Senate, and Thomas was narrowly confirmed, 52-48.
Despite the DÃ©jÃ vu, those were accusations of sexual harassment. The allegation against Kavanaugh is attempted rape.
Kavanaugh denies it happened, but he has had confirmation trouble before. In 2003, when President George W. Bush (#43) nominated him for his current job â€“ Circuit Judge for the Federal Appeals Court, DC Circuit â€“ it took him three years to get approved! He was considered too partisan and wasnâ€™t sworn in until 2006.
Let’s not forget Judge Kavanaugh already has a job for life. Every federal judge does. It says so in the Constitution.
In fact, I got called for federal jury duty back in 1995, while producing afternoon and early evening coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial for WSVN in Miami. This was just before the L.A. jury was going to deliberate the verdict and we potential Miami jurors were warned, our case could last weeks.
I was angry after waiting a whole day in the courtroom doing nothing. Finally, we were questioned and I told off a federal judge using the line, â€œYou have a job for life but I have to earn mine every day!â€ (Youâ€™re welcome again, Patrick and Alice!)
At the end, they divided everyone up into groups. Those in my group were very happy to be there, even though the judge hadn’t announced which group would get to go home, have to come back, etc. (Yes, we got sent home for good.) What I won’t do for a job!
So Judge Kavanaugh will not get any more job security if he is confirmed. He will just get more publicity as a justice on the nation’s highest court. (Would you still want that?) And the opportunity to influence the entire country. Also, don’t forget the ability to sell more books further into the future. Plus, maybe a movie, The Notorious B.M.K. (His middle name is Michael.)
In 1987, President Reagan’s nomination of Judge Douglas Ginsburg (no relation to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of the movie mentioned in the last paragraph) to the High Court ended with his withdrawal nine days after it was announced. Judge Ginsburg, 41, was President Reaganâ€™s second choice after the Senate refused to confirm JudgeÂ Robert Bork.
The reason was NPRâ€™s good â€˜ol Nina TotenbergÂ found out Ginsburg had used marijuana â€œon a few occasionsâ€ as a student in the 1960s and as a Harvard Law assistant professor in the 1970s.
That was a big deal at the time. President Reagan ended up nominating David Souter and not long after, President George H.W. Bush (#41) nominated Anthony Kennedy, who â€“ again â€“ is retiring now. But the way the FBI conducted background checks changed forever, causing a lot of other people to have to answer questions about whether theyâ€™d experimented with smoking pot.
Judge Ginsburg continues to serve as a Senior Circuit Judge in that same Federal Appeals Court, DC Circuit, Iâ€™ve already mentioned twice. No more â€˜small worldâ€™ reference. Itâ€™s getting late and two pieces of more important news just happened.
Of course, a background check is different than investigating a person who is under suspicion of a crime, but the FBI does that for the president, in order to avoid an embarrassment like the Judge Ginsburg incident. Investigations are not left to people appointed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, as was recently suggested, because thatâ€™s obviously political.
Maybe this will again change the questions that candidates for high positions, who will need to be confirmed by the Senate, will have to answer. The questions will have to be more specific than whether somebody sniffed glue in high school, which was one of the additions after the Judge Ginsburg incident, asÂ MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowÂ showed!
Let’s stop for a moment and recognize the stories uncovered by these two female journalists.
Perhaps new questions to be asked as soon as the Kavanaugh case ends will include dates of every â€œbaseâ€ achieved ending in loss of virginity, as the analogy has gone, which could be a threat to the privacy of willing and non-willing second parties.
Perhaps it will be the height of the #MeToo movement because it could uncover old crimes committed by men who are supposedly upstanding citizens these days. That would be an important lesson to young men with high career hopes, but probably not amount to anything because no president would nominate anybody so much more prone to rejection rather than confirmation.
And weâ€™d never know who they are.
Besides, how many men, in addition to more women these days, would be considered 100 percent innocent of any coming-of-age antics that has probably been around since just after the introduction of the world’s oldest profession?
That brings me to a point somebody â€“ I forgot who â€“ brought up on Facebook last week, probably in a meme.
What about the thousands of victims of priest sexual abuse, just the ones right here in this country? They didn’t speak up right away, for obvious reasons. Should their stories not be heard, even if there’s a statute of limitations to prevent criminal charges?
Then why are people calling for a vote on JudgeÂ Kavanaugh before hearing from Dr.Â Blasey Ford? Should Prof. Hill have not been heard, all those years ago?
According to the York (Pa.) Daily Record, last Monday â€“ less than a week ago â€“ a Pittsburgh-area man and Catholic school kindergartner filed a class action suit as lead plaintiffs,
â€œseeking the full disclosure of all Catholic dioceses’ recordsÂ concerning sexual abuse by priests. â€¦
â€œThe complaint notes that the recentÂ grand jury report that identified 301 predatory priests in Pennsylvania (click here to see all 1356 pages)Â â€˜emphasized itÂ did not believe the report identified all predator priests and thatÂ many victims never came forward.â€™
â€œâ€˜Lack of a complete accounting and disclosure … constitutes a clearÂ and present danger,â€™ the suit concludes.â€
So while Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gets ready to testify against Judge Kavanaugh this Thursday, Iâ€™ll close with two pieces of news just in and canâ€™t be ignored as I was about to publish:
First,Â The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer are reporting â€œSenate Democrats are investigating another allegation of sexual misconduct againstâ€ Judge Kavanaugh, this one dating from his time as an undergraduate at Yale.â€
According to Axios,
â€œThe second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, claims that Kavanaugh waved his penis in front of her face while she was inebriated at a dormitory party during the 1983-1984 academic school year. She told Farrow and Mayer that she believes an FBI investigation of Kavanaugh’s actions is warranted.â€
Judge Kavanaughâ€™s response:
â€œThis 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 â€”Â and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building â€”Â against these last-minute allegations.â€
And from White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec:
â€œThis 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man. This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.â€
On the Judiciary Committee: Sen.Â Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen.Â Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Then, â€œjust minutesâ€ after that accusation, according to Axios,
â€œThe office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley released the unredacted initial letterâ€ Dr. Blasey Ford â€œsent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in July detailing her account of the (alleged) incidentâ€ that both Dr. Blasey Ford and Sen. Feinstein expected to remain confidential.
It’s out and you can read it here.
To me, it looks like another alleged victim has just been betrayed.
Folks, will this ever end?
Please leave your comments in the section below, and donâ€™t miss out. If you like what you read here, subscribe to CohenConnect.com with either your email address or WordPress account, and get a notice whenever I publish. I’m also available for writing/web contract work.