Ka­vanaugh re­veals the real man be­hind the pub­lic per­sona

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

Cosby’s Show’s Dr Huxtable was re­ally Mr Hyde.

His reckoning was long – too long – in com­ing. But what will un­doubt­edly prove to be more im­por­tant than the ac­tor’s con­vic­tion is that fi­nally, the #Me Too move­ment is mak­ing a real change.

Women are now be­ing lis­tened to and ac­tion is be­ing taken. And that is why, when deal­ing with the US Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion – the sec­ond most im­por­tant ap­point­ment in the States af­ter the Pres­i­dent – it is im­per­a­tive Amer­ica lis­tens to those women ac­cus­ing Brett Ka­vanaugh of abuse.

Putting aside the con­tro­ver­sial views of Don­ald Trump’s right wing nom­i­nee for the US Supreme, last week he ap­peared be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee for what was billed as a “job in­ter­view”.

What tran­spired was truly shock­ing. Af­ter hear­ing from one of Ka­vanaugh’s al­leged vic­tims – uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Chris­tine Blasey Ford who ac­cused him of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her at a party in 1982 when they were both at high school, he then de­liv­ered an ag­gres­sive, bel­liger­ent, dis­grace­ful de­fence of him­self.

What Amer­ica saw be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee was an im­pul­sive man, a bit­ter brat switch­ing from anger to piti­ful sobs.

He ap­peared so bereft of bal­ance that it was dif­fi­cult not to feel un­com­fort­able that he might soon be the man mak­ing de­ci­sions that will af­fect mil­lions of lives.

De­spite what oth­ers have claimed about his drunken ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour, Ka­vanaugh pre­sented him­self as the all-Amer­i­can jock, the model only child.

The world looked on as he teared up over keep­ing a cal­en­dar – some­thing his dad did – and it showed he had not at­tended the party on the night of the al­leged at­tack. He swore un­der oath he never “sex­u­ally as­saulted any­one”.

He por­trayed him­self as women’s best friend, re­peat­edly say­ing it was a slur on his name to say that he could ever abuse any­one of the op­po­site sex be­cause he pro­vided them with jobs.

He went to great pains to say how he pre-emp­tively hired four fe­male law clerks to work with him at the Supreme Court – the first jus­tice, he pointed out, to have “a group of all-women law clerks”.

To en­ter­tain even the thought he was ca­pa­ble of abuse would be to de­stroy the en­tire premise he had al­ways lived a holier-thanthou life.

As Repub­li­cans rushed to have Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion con­firmed with their ma­jor­ity vote, thank­fully at the 11th hour, sense pre­vailed.

The FBI has been given a week to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against him.

To push Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion through, with­out seek­ing to dis­pel the dark­en­ing cloud over his head, would be to leave the pub­lic in doubt about his hon­esty and char­ac­ter.

In turn, it would set an even lower stan­dard for tak­ing claims of sex­ual abuse se­ri­ously. Pol­i­tics should play no part in the ap­point­ment of a judge, yet it ap­pears games have been played on both sides. This is not, as Don­ald Trump’s Repub­li­cans have claimed, a mat­ter of de­mand­ing the de­struc­tion of a man’s ca­reer based on vague or un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims. It is a mat­ter of treat­ing such al­le­ga­tions with the proper grav­ity. Af­ter Cosby was sen­tenced, his pub­li­cist An­drew Wy­att claimed he and Ka­vanaugh were vic­tims of a “sex war”. Peo­ple are wrong to com­pare Ka­vanaugh to Cosby – they are poles apart. But what they do clearly share is that their pub­lic per­sona is dif­fer­ent to the one shown to those who know them in pri­vate. Ka­vanaugh has re­vealed him­self to be ca­pa­ble of act­ing in anger, vi­cious in views, and ag­gres­sive even with­out the drink he ad­mits to lov­ing. Jus­tice would not be served by his pres­ence on the Supreme Court.

Pol­i­tics should play no part in the ap­point­ment of a judge

> Brett Ka­vanaugh

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.