My son started to ask me a question yesterday, and the minute he said “Kavanaugh” I knew what he was thinking. I’d been thinking the same thing all day.
Why is a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, only just now accusing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of an attempted rape back in 1982? The statute of limitations ran out years ago and she never said anything. Until now.
The timing of her accusation is highly suspicious, coming as it does in the midst of Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing. But it is, after all, the #MeToo era. Perhaps she was finally emboldened enough to speak up. Except #MeToo started last year. Why is she only just now speaking up?
What bothers me even more is that Ford was 15 at the time and Kavanaugh was 17. And she said he was drunk. How many drunk teenagers every year try to have sex with someone? It’s not right, of course, but it’s practically a rite of passage for many, many teens. Young people experiment with sex, drugs, alcohol, hazing, etc. If every such incident ended up in court, there’d be time for nothing else.
Kavanaugh has denied that any such thing ever occurred. And he’s entitled to a presumption of innocence. But rightly or wrongly, his appointment may now depend on who’s telling the truth and can prove it. Yes, we should assume women are telling the truth. Until they aren’t. And waiting 36 years to report something certainly casts doubt.
That said, I have to ask just how far are we going to go with #MeToo? Have we reached the point where a teenager’s one-time indiscretion is reason enough to ruin an adult’s career and reputation many years later? Even if Ford is telling the truth, should it matter now?
Just to be clear, I’d prefer Kavanaugh not be confirmed. I very much wanted a liberal justice, not a conservative Trump appointee. But the timing of Ford’s accusation, coming only now at this critical moment, is suspect. I think wherever the line is on #MeToo — and there must be a line — this situation has crossed it.
Correction/Apology: The story is a lot more complicated than I knew this morning. My fault for avoiding most national news. Ford mentioned the assault to others as long ago as 2012 (but still 30 years after the fact). On July 30, 2018, (three weeks after Kavanaugh was nominated) she wrote a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., describing her allegations. On Sept. 12, after reports of the letter leaked, Feinstein released it to the FBI. The next day she issued a statement about the information she had received from a source that wished to remain anonymous. Three days later, after leaks revealed her identity, Ford went public with her allegation. PBS has published a detailed timeline of these events.