With Meghna Chakrabarti
Echoes of Anita Hill as the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct comes forward. We’ll look at #MeToo, justice and the Supreme Court.
Irin Carmon, senior correspondent at New York Magazine. (@irin)
Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Syndicated conservative columnist, and contributor to National Review. Author of “Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense.” (@monacharenEPPC)
Tara Golshan, congressional reporter at Vox. (@taragolshan)
From The Reading List
New York Times: “Opinion: Anita Hill: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right” — “There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better.
“The facts underlying Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by a young Brett Kavanaugh will continue to be revealed as confirmation proceedings unfold. Yet it’s impossible to miss the parallels between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing of 2018 and the 1991 confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas. In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts.
“As that same committee, on which sit some of the same members as nearly three decades ago, now moves forward with the Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings, the integrity of the court, the country’s commitment to addressing sexual violence as a matter of public interest, and the lives of the two principle witnesses who will be testifying hang in the balance. Today, the public expects better from our government than we got in 1991, when our representatives performed in ways that gave employers permission to mishandle workplace harassment complaints throughout the following decades. That the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing suggests that the committee has learned little from the Thomas hearing, much less the more recent #MeToo movement.”
NPR: “Kavanaugh And Accuser To Testify Publicly Before Senators Next Week” — “Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault more than three decades ago, Christine Blasey Ford, will both testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 24. The committee was supposed to vote on the nomination this Thursday but faced pressure after Ford went public with her allegation over the weekend.
“Ford and Kavanaugh both agreed to testify under oath before the committee.
“‘Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,’ White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement on Monday.”
New York Magazine: “Will Brett Kavanaugh Face Any Consequences? Women Will.” — “We now know the name of the woman who says she was 15 when Brett Kavanaugh, then around 17 — and now on the brink of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court — used his body to hold her down, groped her, tried to pull off her clothing, and clapped his hand over her mouth to prevent her screaming. Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post she was afraid she was going to die.
“Ford has told us that in the decades that have followed, she has carried the trauma of this experience. It figured heavily in therapy she underwent with her husband in 2012, and in individual therapy the following year. She has said she went back and forth about coming forward, but hearing her story told without her consent and context, told the Post, ‘I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.’ That retaliation, which she also called ‘annihilation,’ had begun before she even spoke up: 65 women who in some way crossed paths with him in high school implicitly calling her a liar by vouching for Kavanaugh’s unimpeachable character.
“After Ford came out publicly, someone Politico identified as ‘a lawyer close to the White House’ said that ‘if somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.’ As far as this administration is concerned, to allow Brett Kavanaugh to face consequences for one woman’s story — no matter what documents she has or how many people she told no matter how many years ago — would simply set a bad precedent. Not only because this is about more than Brett Kavanaugh, who after all is just a cog in the machine of decades-long conservative dreams of bending the court to the movement’s will. Because it’s about all men. (And it’s feminists who are supposed to be anti-men by tarring them all as would-be rapists?)”
National Review: “Kavanaugh in the #MeToo Era” — “In the wake of the revelation of Christine Blasey Ford’s identity, some have suggested that her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh will be handled more sensitively than such accusations once were thanks to the #MeToo movement. That may turn out to be true, but only if at least one other woman comes forward with similar charges.
“#MeToo gave courage to women, and some men, to speak up about sexual harassment and abuse. It helped to clarify that gross sexual misconduct is not a perk of power. It revived a sense of shame. Whereas for too long, many women felt powerless in the face of this abuse, the movement offered strength in numbers. Once one victim of a brutish man found her voice, others summoned the courage to come forward.
“And there were always others. The high-profile men felled by #MeToo — Harvey Weinstein, John Conyers, Jr., Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, Roger Ailes, and others — faced accusations from multiple victims. That’s the way such men are. They’re predators. Few of the accused even denied the allegations.”
Vox: “Where Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation process stands” — “When Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, came forward with a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend, all eyes turned to the Senate: Would this stop the confirmation proceedings in their tracks?
“Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh held her down at a high school party in the 1980s and attempted to force himself on her, covering her mouth to quiet her protests. Her allegations were documented by her therapist in notes from sessions in 2012 and 2013, in which Ford talked about a ‘rape attempt’ and being attacked by students ‘from an elitist boys’ school.’ Kavanaugh denied the allegations, as did another male classmate who Ford said was involved in the incident. The White House, so far, has stood by Kavanaugh.
“Senate Republicans have been pushing to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court this fall, before the midterm elections. They spun the allegations as a last-ditch Democratic attempt to hold up the confirmation.
“But as more details emerge, and with Ford’s identity now public, there’s been pressure to investigate the allegations and hear from Ford. Ford’s lawyer said she is willing to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
CNN: “Echoes of Anita Hill in allegations against Kavanaugh” — “In 1991 when Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas faced sexual harassment claims, the public mantra toward men in the Senate and elsewhere was, ‘They just don’t get it.’
“Now, in the #MeToo era, men get it and have lost their jobs for it.
“Such is the new atmosphere that confronts current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as he faces accusations that echo eerily of the 1991 Anita Hill episode. That context will no doubt influence how the current drama develops, just as will today’s intense partisanship and Republicans’ grip on the Senate.”