Will Christine Ford’s Testimony Even Matter?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said Friday that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court, casting doubt on the likelihood that Kavanuagh’s sexual assault accuser will be taken seriously whether she testifies or not.
Speaking during the Values Voter Summit in Washington, McConnell reassured the conservative crowd, saying, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”
In September 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist and professor of statistics at Palo Alto University in California, told the The Washington Post that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982 when she was 15. Ford allegedly provided The Post with polygraph test results and session notes from her therapist written in 2012. Since going public with her allegations, Ford has been at the center of media discussions, political debate, public protests, and according to her attorney, even death threats.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Court. Kavanaugh, a conservative, could then vote to uphold laws to restrict abortions and perhaps provide a fifth, majority vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Organized by the Women’s March on Thursday, September 20, more than 50 women peacefully protested “putting abusers in power” by clenching their fists and raising their heads while chanting: “We believe Anita Hill! We believe Christine Ford!”
“We’re taking bold action to keep another abuser off the Supreme Court,” said Rachel Carmona, Chief Operating Officer of the Women’s March. “Twenty-seven years ago, we couldn’t keep an abuser off the court. Two years ago, we couldn’t keep an abuser out of office.” The women were referring to Justice Clarence Thomas and President Donald Trump, respectively.
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
Following President Trump’s statement on Ford’s report that Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school, in which the President said that it is “very hard” for him “to imagine that anything happened,” Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron released the following statement:
“We have three words to say about Donald Trump’s statement: consider the source. This defense of an alleged abuser by a known abuser should be treated with the disdain it deserves. Has anyone forgotten how Trump leapt to the defense of Roy Moore? Under Donald Trump, a culture of misogyny has been allowed to permeate the White House; in one especially egregious case, a serial domestic abuser — Rob Porter — was allowed to continue employment and only terminated when he became a PR liability. Donald Trump has no credibility on this issue. We believe Dr. Blasey Ford.”
Other groups like the American Family Association see Ford as a pawn in a political game. “We’ve seen this game played before,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Clarence Thomas. Herman Cain. Roy Moore. In some shape or form, each of those men had charges of sexual misconduct lodged against them during seasons of political rancor when it was impossible to prove—or disprove—the charges. In some cases, the fallout negatively affected their careers. All three are rock-solid conservatives who love our country and respect the Constitution.”
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in reference to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and his handling of Ford’s testify before the Committee about her sexual assault allegations:
“Chairman Grassley’s arbitrary deadlines and unprecedented demands are unconscionable. Dr. Blasey Ford courageously offered to testify next week before the committee and requested reasonable accommodations. Grassley’s demand that the hearing be on his unjustified timetable, on having outside counsel question her, and his refusal to include outside witnesses are just a few examples of Senate Republicans bullying Dr. Blasey Ford and abdicating their responsibilities. His threat of holding a committee vote on Monday reveals his political motivations. Every senator must object to these bullying tactics immediately.”
As chairman, Grassley is in charge of setting up Ford’s Senate hearing. Republican staffers from the Judiciary Committee were negotiating with Ford’s attorney, Debra S. Katz, to work out the conditions of Ford’s testimony. Katz sent a letter accusing Grassley of arbitrarily imposing a 10 p.m. Friday deadline for Ford to agree to testify.
Grassley extended the deadline for Ford’s response to 10 p.m. Saturday. “I’m providing a notice of a vote to occur Monday in the event that Dr. Ford’s attorneys don’t respond or Dr. Ford decides not to testify.”
By late Saturday afternoon, Ford’s lawyers announced that she would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. “Dr. Ford accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys representing Ford, wrote in a message to the committee.