Editorial: Kavanaugh disqualifies himself



Supreme Court Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 5. (Christy Bowe/Globe Photos/Zuma Press/TNS)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party in high school, finally brought their stories public in a long-awaited Senate testimony on Thursday. From the outset, Ford made a solid case for herself, citing specific details from Kavanaugh’s alleged assault and the emotional torment it has caused her for decades.

But despite all the convincing evidence Ford levied against Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh’s own temperament that incriminated him most. The federal judge was combative throughout the testimony, talking back to senators and evading questions — raising even more suspicion about his guilt and painting himself as an ill-fitting candidate to sit on the Supreme Court, which requires objectivity and composure.

When Senators repeatedly questioned Kavanaugh about excessive alcohol consumption, Kavanaugh alluded to his liking of beer, and eventually said he had never blacked out from consuming alcohol. But then he lashed out at Senators for asking him those questions.

“You’re asking about a blackout, I don’t know, have you?” he said to Senator Klobuchar.

Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook entries, which senators also questioned him about, shows he engaged in many problematic activities — for example an entry which said “100 kegs or bust,” suggesting dangerous drinking habits. Another entry titled “Renate Alumnus,” which many assume referred to Kavanaugh’s self-professed relationship with a female student named Renate Dolphin, signifies a callous attitude toward respecting women.

But Kavanaugh merely chalked up these concerning entries to his immaturity as a teenager.

“If we want to sit here and talk about whether a Supreme Court nomination should be based on a high school yearbook page, I think that’s taken us to a new level of absurdity,” Kavanagh said.

Not only did this testimony put a spotlight on Kavanaugh’s indifference to problematic behavior, it also highlighted a very obvious double standard. If Ford had been as disrespectful to senators as Kavanaugh throughout the hearing, senators and the general public would likely view her very negatively.

Kavanaugh even used his family as a scapegoat to justify his palpable anger toward the confirmation process.

“This has destroyed my family and my good name,” Kavanaugh said. “There has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”

But if anything, Ford should be the angrier of the two. Experiencing sexual assault is far more emotionally damaging than not getting confirmed for the Supreme Court — a privilege, not a right, which very few experience.

And if Kavanaugh truly believes that the confirmation process has destroyed his family, then he should automatically withdraw his name — every Supreme Court nominee is thrust into the public eye and faces scrutiny. If he can’t handle the publicity, both positive and negative, then he’ll struggle tremendously as a Supreme Court Justice.

It’s certainly possible that Kavanaugh’s testimony — however horrifying — could have held up in criminal trial.

But this isn’t a trial, it’s a job interview — and after viewing Kavanaugh’s testimony, he simply doesn’t make the cut.