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Jennifer Horn: Democrats treated Ford's claim like a political football

September 18. 2018 8:01PM

WITH A LAST MINUTE accusation of attempted sexual assault made by a woman he may or may not have known in high school, the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has blown up into the most important #MeToo story of the year.

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, now a clinical psychology professor in California, sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein this summer claiming that, while teenagers at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, covered her mouth, and attempted to remove her clothes. She also identified another student and friend of Kavanaugh’s, Mark Judge, as being in the room.

For his part, Kavanaugh has flatly and unequivocally denied the entire thing, as has Judge. There will now be hearings, scheduled for next week, to allow both Kavanaugh and Ford to testify about this accusation before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

First, to be very clear, Ford has a right to be heard. Her claims bear some credibility in that she shared these accusations with a therapist in the past, although she does not appear to have identified Kavanaugh by name at that time. Every person claiming to be a victim of sexual assault has a right to be heard.

Kavanaugh’s denial also comes with credibility. Judge, who was supposedly in the room at the time of the alleged assault, has also denied that such a thing ever happened. And 65 women who knew Kavanaugh during his high school years, many of whom remain friends with him today, have signed a letter telling a very different tale. “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect,” they wrote.

Unfortunately, Sen. Feinstein has done a tremendous disservice to Professor Ford and to the nation by the manner in which she has handled this accusation. If in fact she received this letter in the summer, it should have been immediately forwarded to the FBI, in line with past practice as it conducts its background check of the nominee. Kavanaugh has been through six similar background checks already in his career.

The reason so many people suspect that this could be a Hail Mary political pass to sink a Trump nominee is because Dianne Feinstein has behaved as if it is just that. Furthermore, Feinstein’s behavior feeds the skepticism some have expressed about these accusations.

The hue and cry from Democrats for further investigations and indefinite delays exposes the deep hypocrisy of the Democratic Party on the issue of domestic and sexual assault.

When Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., was recently accused by Karen Monahan, his longtime girlfriend, of domestic abuse, the party diminished her accusations and demeaned her personally, in spite of overwhelming evidence that included medical records, counseling records, texts between the two individuals, witnesses, and more.

When asked if her party believed her, Monahan said, “No... I’ve been smeared, threatened, and isolated from my own party.”

It is obvious, when looking at the Democrats “disrupt at all costs” strategy that they are hoping a confrontational public hearing that includes both Ford and Kavanaugh will bring out the worst in GOP senators and the nominee. They are fantasizing about a bunch of wealthy old white men demeaning a sexual assault victim, and the campaign commercials they could make out of it. I hope committee Republicans avoid this pitfall.

Regardless of whether Kavanaugh is confirmed, treating Ford poorly would undermine the Senate and the Supreme Court, and further divide an already ailing nation. If the hearing were to turn into a circus, it would also deny both Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh their chance to speak, or any chance of finding the truth.

Make no mistake, Christine Blasey Ford has a right to be heard. But so does Brett Kavanaugh.

Editor’s Note: On Tuesday night, CNN reported that Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Ford, wants the FBI to probe allegations before she testifies.

Jennifer Horn is the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party and is active in political and civic affairs.

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