WASHINGTON — As we continue examining Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school and college life, it has been easy to forget what this was originally all about.
In a word: abortion.
Until a few weeks ago, opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation had been driven by fear among Democrats that he, as a Catholic (ergo pro-life) swing vote on the divided Supreme Court, would single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade. This was never a fait accompli but rather a mere presumption.
But when a credible woman materialized with a charge of high school sexual assault, who were Democrats to deny her a voice? And who are we to question — ever — the credibility of an alleged survivor? Not only is Kavanaugh an alleged predator but he has also been accused — although less credibly — of possibly being present at a party where a gang rape supposedly occurred.
And, finally, according to others, he sometimes (or often) got drunk and became belligerent.
In all my high school and college days, I never saw anyone behaving in such a fashion. You? I’m lying, of course. Many of the young-and-stupid from my youth later grew up to become high-achieving doctors, lawyers, judges, professors, athletes, presidents, CEOs, fathers, mothers — and columnists. I don’t believe in the boys-will-be-boys excuse, not remotely, but neither do I automatically believe every woman’s “truth.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Tuesday on CNN, “That’s the crux of all these allegations: His aggressive behavior when he is drunk.”
I couldn’t agree more — but particularly in the context of the here and now. Does Kavanaugh get staggeringly drunk nowadays? Doubt it. Does he get aggressive and belligerent now? He was certainly rather animated last week, but wouldn’t you be too if your character were suddenly scrutinized for hours in a public court?
I’ve interviewed more than a dozen women who have known and worked with Kavanaugh in the grown-up world. Without exception, they love and admire him as a gentleman — compassionate, thoughtful and honest. Speaking of which, by what distortion of virtue does a man such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who lied about serving in Vietnam, get to challenge another’s honesty?
I’ve written this before — in a book prematurely titled “Save the Males” — but hating men, and specifically old, white men (OWM), is both trite and counterintuitive. The justification seems connected to some sort of retributive justice combined with concerns that OWM want to restore the 1950s. (I would support this only if it meant continuous reruns of “Queen for a Day.”) Meanwhile, they conveniently forget that OWM created the Constitution, the three branches of government, and the ideas of due process and the rule of law.
Americans shouldn’t suffer from the delusion that the attempted ruin of Kavanaugh, his career and family has solely to do with Christine Blasey Ford. And the fact that she sincerely believes what she remembers does not without evidence diminish Kavanaugh’s sincere denial of wrongdoing.
As for Kavanaugh’s views on abortion, it is also possible to believe in something in one’s personal life but also believe in settled law. Just as President John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, said that he didn’t take orders from the Vatican, Kavanaugh may feel the same. On a personal note, although I would try to dissuade a woman from aborting her baby, I strenuously oppose state involvement in an individual’s corporal autonomy. A government that can force a woman to have a child can also force her to abort her fetus, as China has done.
Kavanaugh may have been a rowdy, at times unruly, youth. But barring future evidence to the contrary, this doesn’t make him a sexual predator. Nor does it negate three decades of good citizenship as a husband, father, judge, coach. If we can’t judge a man or woman by his or her entire life’s record, then we have no business judging at all.
Kathleen Parker’s syndicated column appears regularly in the Tribune-Herald. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.