Rejecting the idea of shutting up in favor of asking questions about Kavanaugh sexual-abuse allegation

Last Updated by Kevin Woster on

Sept. 19, 2018


Perhaps unwisely, I’m going to reject from the directive of U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and not “shut up,” as she suggested the men of this nation do on the sexual-assault accusation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Instead, I am going to listen. I am going to consider. I am going to ask some questions. But I am going to try to follow Hirono’s direction to “step up” and “do the right thing for a change.”

At least, as much as I can step up and do the right thing, here in my den of opinion and reflection in Rapid City, far from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where Kavanaugh is up for a vote in his U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process.

What happens next after the allegation by Christine Blasey Ford that a drunken Kavanaugh held her down, groped her and tried to remove her bathing suit on a bed at a house party when she was 15 and he was 17?

She says she escaped when a drunken friend of Kavanaugh’s piled on and they tumbled off the bed.

The allegation raises many questions:

Do we presume the alleged assault happened and happened as Blasey Ford says and remembers?

Do we presume Kavanaugh is telling the truth when he says he never did anything like that to Blasey Ford or anyone else?

Do we presume the whole truth lies somewhere in-between?

Should there be a full FBI investigation?

Rather than the FBI probe, should the issue simply be handled before the Judiciary Committee, with Blasey Ford given the opportunity to make her allegations and Kavanaugh given the opportunity to respond?

Should the committee members do the questioning or should a bipartisan counsel handle that?

If what Blasey Ford says is true but there have been no similar acts by Kavanaugh since he was 17, should that disqualify him from a Supreme Court spot?

Why didn’t the Democrats on the Senate committee bring this allegation forward sooner, either using Blasey Ford’s name or keeping her name confidential, and pressing Kavanaugh on the charges in public session or closed session?

Are the Democrats on the committee most interested in the sexual assault allegation itself, or its potential usefulness in derailing the Kavanaugh nomination and getting some payback for the refusal of the Republicans leadership in the Senate to even consider the fully qualified Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by Barack Obama in 2016?

And are the Republicans more interested in knowing the truth or making sure they get their guy confirmed before the November elections?

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of SDPB, Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, or the State of South Dakota.