With Kavanaugh, We Have a Chance to Learn from Our Mistakes

In the era of #MeToo, Brett Kavanaugh needs to submit to a lie detector test along with new Senate questioning.

Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor at Palo Alto University, has mounted a damning accusation against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  She alleges that in the early 1980’s, Nominee Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a party while a friend watched.  He then attempted to rape her, trying to remove her clothing and muffling her scream with his hands.  The rape attempt ended when his friend leapt upon the two of them, allowing Ms. Blasey Ford to escape the room.

The last year has exposed several powerful people who have sexually abused others while they gained more and more power along the way.  Politicians, business, news, and entertainment figures have all finally had a public reckoning after years of victims being afraid to speak out.  The Judiciary and the legal world, however, have yet to see a major figure held accountable.  The irony is great, in light of the fact that the modern MeToo movement was first foretold 27 years ago by the credible harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill in his confirmation hearings.  It is clear that the time has come to test whether this movement has true weights; are things different now than they were 27 years ago?  Or will partisanship and crass political expediency overrule all else?

We have an unparalleled opportunity to come full circle.  Where we failed 27 years ago, we can succeed now, in inviting a fair process, a process that examines the credibility of the charges against Mr. Kavanaugh.  And to be clear, this is not a criminal trial of proof beyond reasonable doubt, but it is a standard of whether the allegations are so credible as to preclude service to the highest legal office in the nation.  We must demand more of our public officials than whether or not they have actually done time in prison for their crimes; instead, we should have full confidence that they have not committed a violent, heinous crime.

Ms. Blasey Ford has produced telling evidence supporting her allegations; she has taken and passed a lie detector test, and she has produced notes from her psychiatrist taken in 2012 documenting the mental anguish this has caused her through her life. Now, it appears that she has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee this week.

I challenge Mr. Kavanaugh to treat these damning allegations with the seriousness it deserves.  Self-serving denials and the predictable accolades of lifelong friends and colleagues just don’t cut it.  Do what Ms. Blasey Ford has done and take a lie detector test, in addition to testifying before the Senate again, under oath, and answering the many new questions the Senators will no doubt have.

27 years ago, we had a process that was hastened and rigged in favor of the Supreme Court nominee, where the credible woman accuser was vilified, harassed, and given unequal ability to present her accusations.  We have the opportunity now to learn from history, to do this right.  Let’s take it, and demand Mr. Kavanaugh take a lie detector test.

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