Watching the #KavanaughHearings

Yesterday I watched the Kavanaugh Senate hearing.  There were some important moments, including the fact that Kavanaugh arrived wearing his game face and Sen. Graham gave the Dems a piece of his mind.   Turning points, both.

Amusing moments: Sen. Whitehouse walking into the “year book” sawblade.  Sen. Blumenthal, having fibbed about Vietnam, having the temerity to invoke (poorly): “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus“.  Sen. DiFi’s bluster at the end about who leaked Ford’s letter.

What was particularly interesting was watching the testimony of Prof. Ford, as well as Kavanaugh’s, in the company of someone who would by all accounts considered an expert on sexual assault and related crimes and how they are investigated.

I am visiting my mother in Florida.  She was the 1st woman on the Minneapolis Police Department.  For 12 years of her time on the job, as a detective, she investigated “sex crimes”, which included rape and all the other disgusting things that happen.  She had some pointed insights during the proceedings, particularly about Prof. Ford’s time in the hearing and about how she was questioned.

In any event, a major step will be taken today.  We are moving to toward the end of this painful process.   I think Judge Kavanaugh will wind up as a SCOTUS Justice, but I will wait to believe it firmly when they have the group photo in the robes.  Even then, I suspect some ideological hacks will try to have him impeached.

I am genuinely worried about the state of political and cultural division in this country right now.   But, as Kavanaugh mentioned, we are reeping what has been sown over years and years.

Sadly, because of the long-term effects of dreadful declining quality and standards in education, the general public is more and more ignorant and distracted and incapable of grasping the basics of the issues today and the processes by which with work through them.   Hence, I am not strongly optimistic that we can turn this boat around any time soon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Glennonite says:

    Please don’t leave us hanging, Father. I also watched the ‘circus’ yesterday. What was your mother’s conclusion regarding Ford’s testimony(!).

  2. mepoindexter says:

    Hi Mom!

  3. JesusFreak84 says:

    WSJ had a good op-end that I thought summarized my sentiments well: TL;DR, if Kavanaugh is defeated under these circumstances, (and heck, even if he makes it,) this will affect the standards for accusations for at least a generation.

  4. Joy65 says:

    Our whole world: American government, Our Catholic Church, our local and state governments and sadly (and the worse of all families) are going through SPIRITUAL WAR. If any of us think it is something else we are mistaken. It is at each and every one of our front doors. We are battling for our eternal souls. The liar of lies is laughing his head off. He’s sitting back and just letting us dig ourselves deeper and deeper. Unless we as Catholics and Christians throughout this world don’t pray, sacrifice and do penance and change our little part of the world this will only get worse.


  5. markleakos says:

    Read St. Peter Damian for an understanding of these times and what ails the Church.

  6. What’s in the envelope Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee gave to Ford’s attorney during Kavanaugh hearings?
    Texas 18th District Representative Sheila Jackson Lee walked up to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer and handed him something which he quickly put into his coat pocket.

    Nice fat little envelope hum

    I hope they frisked him when he tried to leave. Was it a payoff? Who knows. Check out the sneaky way she did this and then looked around to see if anyone was watching

  7. crjs1 says:

    I found Prof Ford very convincing, and frankly it was a horrific spectacle that she and Kavanuagh were put through. I have worked in mental health for many years and met many many women who have been sexually assaulted and did not disclose it for decades, for a variety of reasons. But evidence is key and there does not seem to be the evidence to convict Kavanuagh. Personally I think the FBI should be investigating before confirmation to establish facts. the whole spectacle has been hugely depressing.

    It has also been equally depressing reading the highly partisan attacks on both Ford and Kavanaugh.

  8. Simon_GNR says:

    I’m glad that in Britain we don’t have this sort of political shindig when judges are appointed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. There is a judicial appointments commission which nominates a candidate and, if the Lord Chancellor and the Prime Minister agree, the name is put forward to the Monarch for appointment. The American system seems so politicised. In the British system judges are required to be, and be seen to be, independent of party political involvement or influence.

  9. FrAnt says:

    Fr. Z., you are right about the decline in education having a detrimental influence on society. Sadly, many still do not see that the decline is intentional. Please don’t get me wrong, I know that there are many wonderful educators who have the children’s best interests at heart, but there is an undercurrent that informs teachers what they can and cannot teach. We are seeing the same in the Church.
    Your blogs these past few days addressing the use of St. Luke’s by bishops against priests who support Humanae Vitae, the Sacrament of Marriage, the dignity of the body, and other hot topics, tells priests what they can and cannot preach on.

  10. Laurelmarycecilia says:

    “…we are reaping what has been sown over years and years.”
    The seeds we are “…reaping…” are called Cultural Marxism and achieved “…over years and years…” in the “Long March Through Institutions” (Rudi Dutschke). The so-called American Education system has not educated but rather indoctrinated or simply dumbed down the educational experience. Thank you, Mr Dewey et al…………..

  11. oakdiocesegirl2 says:

    I’m sorry. I did not find Ford always convincing. There were several instances where Ford was not credible at all, which no one is mentioning. She said she first mentioned Kavanaugh’s name to her therapist in 2012 because “she was afraid he might be named to the Supreme Court”. In 2012?
    With Obama as POTUS and Hillary the likely next POTUS? That was unlikely as hell! Either she is a prophet or a liar-no other conclusion is possible.

    She also said her fear of flying kept her from going to Washington DC for questioning? Yet it came out that was just a dodge–another lie–to avoid something. She travels by air at least annually from Palo Alto to Delaware to visit her parents. She flew between BWI airport and New Hampshire [a driveable distance] to attend her grandmother’s funeral. And she lists in her resume that she ENJOYS visiting Hawaii and Tahiti [a nine-hour flight]. Some fear of flying.

    Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, indeed.

    Whoever did what to Ford, her story remains: some guy her age briefly groped her through her clothes without ever removing them or his own. Once. In the presence of a witness. Never repeated. She inflated that to “attempted rape” and “I thought he was going to kill me”.. This kind of storytelling just mocks real victims of spousal abuse and assault who are regularly disrespected and disbelieved in California family law courts even though they have medical reports and permanent physical injury to substantiate it. When are our California senators going to address that problem? [and I speak from personal experience].

    Oh and we should all have our high-school hi-jinks heavily weighted over all other life events in our future job interviews. No second chances. I’m sure that’s what we want the judges in the courts we appear in to be thinking about us, should we end up there in the future.

  12. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I agree with those who want to hear your mother’s insights. How did Ford do? There are reports that the woman the GOP brought in to question Ford thought she wouldn’t be able to even get a search warrant based on the “facts” presented.

  13. Nan says:

    There are no facts. The allegation is too general, it lacks date and location. Her alleged witnesses deny any such party took place. The FBI has already declined to investigate because it isn’t under their purview, it’s a matter for the local police and quite telling that Ford hasn’t filed a complaint with the police wherever it supposedly happened as there’s no statute of limitations.

    Of course it’s a not point because it would be a juvenile court matter. Even if a criminal complaint was filed and he was convicted, it’s sealed.

  14. John Grammaticus says:

    I watched a good part of it from the UK:

    -loved Sen. Graham’s can of whoopass
    -didn’t find Ford convincing, she couldn’t remember anything of significance
    – Thought that all the dems were hacks, no interest in truth at all.
    – Loved the gameface that BK brought to it, his opening testimony could have been written by Cicero – He was obviously taught by good Jesuits.
    – Loved John Cornyn’s comment that if this were a courtroom the democratic senators would be in contempt of court.

  15. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    “I am genuinely worried about the state of political and cultural division in this country right now.”

    That might be an understatement.

    I don’t think enough people realize how deep into a socialist-like or communist-like condition many areas of the U.S.A. are at the present time due to 8 years of Obama, 8 years of Bush, and 8 years of Clinton. (President Trump has been working hard to reverse the course, but he is not receiving much help.)

    I write that based on my experience of likely being unlawfully surveilled (home and cell phones surveilled and are live wiretaps at all time that they are powered on, 4 electronic devices hacked apparently with the ability to alter my internet search history, car likely broken into/entered with programmed key fob when I was praying in Chapel, etc.). I was also likely forcibly drugged at a Catholic Chapel and later at the ER, drawn into a staged purse snatching while praying a Holy Hour at the same Catholic Chapel, nearly run off the road by reckless surveillors/harassers, and had multiple other diabolical schemes directed at me that were clearly intended to provoke anger cause me to commit a crime or make a threat while in public.

    Right now what people do not realize is the power that the “intelligence communities” and other law enforcement entities have. The Left appears to have already conquered the intelligence community (See: Comey Deep State et. al.), and in many localities the Left appears to have conquered law enforcement in general.

    The Supreme Court, or any court for that matter, will mean nothing if law enforcement and/or the intelligence community are run by the Left. (The Left weaponizes any entity it controls. That is no longer hyperbole or exaggeration. It is fact.)

    Try to sue your local government for unlawful surveillance, harassment, or intimidation. It is nearly impossible.

    I mean, if they are able to enter your car, deflate your car tire, apparently alter your internet search history, drug you as you enter a Catholic Chapel, fake a purse snatching, listen to you through live wiretaps on your home and cell phones, and do other forms of harassment and intimidation without repercussion, then what kind of condition is the U.S. in right now? Seems to me to be a bad condition.

  16. excalibur says:


    Jeffrey Toobin wrote an article in 2012 speculating that if Romney won the election then Kavanaugh would be his first choice should he [Romney] have a SCOTUS nominee.They have been setting this up since 2012.

    Ford said she could not attend last week as she had a fear of flying. In her sworn testimony she admitted to flying multiple times a year.

    She also stated that she knew nothing of Senator Grassley offering to send the committee investigators to her. Meaning that her lawyers never informed her of this, which is a fraud on the committee.

    Ford recalls neither the time nor place of the alleged assault, or how she got back home.

    All of Ford’s supposed witnesses have sworn out affidavits denying knowledge. And Ford threw one of those people under the bus with a snarky remark about the friend having health issues.

    Now Senator Flake pulls his stunt, but the current word is a vote Tuesday. We’ll see.

  17. excalibur says:

    @Bellarmino Vianney

    Senator Schumer;s remark about Trump taking on the intelligence agencies. Said agencies having six ways to get even.

    “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

  18. Manny says:

    Frankly Ford had nothing. Not a shred of corroborating evidence. She couldn’t even name the person that supposedly gave her a ride home, and she was 100% sure that it was Brett Kavenaugh? She never met Kavenaugh before and never met him again and she was 100% sure after 36 years? Baloney. No way. The people who confirmed there was a such a party (Mark Judge and whoever else was there) said under oath that Kavenaugh was never at any of these parties. Ford did not have a single shred of corroboration, and Kavenaugh had diaries of his daily activities. This isn’t even close.

    Kudos to Sen. Lindsey Graham for a moment of moral clarity. It was his finest moment in politics.

  19. The original Mr. X says:

    @ Simon_GNR:

    I’m glad that in Britain we don’t have this sort of political shindig when judges are appointed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. There is a judicial appointments commission which nominates a candidate and, if the Lord Chancellor and the Prime Minister agree, the name is put forward to the Monarch for appointment. The American system seems so politicised. In the British system judges are required to be, and be seen to be, independent of party political involvement or influence.

    That’s because the British Supreme Court is still primarily a court rather than an unofficial legislative body, so who ends up on it is of much less importance to the country as a whole.

  20. tho says:

    Dr. Ford came across, to me, as a drugged up delusional mess. She, as a progressive leftist, has a large axe to grind, and like most people who choose sociology , psychology and related fields, she has a great deal of trouble with reality. Books are full of people in those professions who make judgements on what they feel, not on what is true. Just off the top of my head B. F. Skinner and Margaret Mead come to mind.
    Giving people like her a national platform, is similar to greasing the skids of a disaster.

  21. John Grammaticus says:

    Extra Thoughts

    Whitehouse, Klobucher, Finestine and Hirono are all up for reelection this year. Harris and ‘handsyman brooker’ are considering presidential runs in two years.

    Call me cynical, but I find it plausible that the 60% of the democrat judiciary committee that have election hopes in the near future might be tooo willing to believe.

  22. Gab says:

    Testimony made 36 years after the supposed “assault”, not reported at the time, with no evidence, and only now conveniently, remembered. Disgraceful.

  23. excalibur says:

    Her social media was scrubbed, now too her page at Stanford’s faculty directory has been scrubbed. Plus she may have perjured herself.

  24. crjs1 says:

    Well it seems like I was watching a different testimony because as I said before I found Ford entirely convincing and credible. I’m glad a week is being taken out for the FBI to investigate. Somthing Kavanaugh should have welcomed when asked during his testimony.

    Those who question her memory of Kavanaugh but not details of all other events of the evening are not being fair in my opinion. Memory particularly of trauma is complex. Plus it is over 30 years ago. It is not surprising at all that she can’t remember who gave her a lift home but can remember who assulated her, it wasn’t in the car home that she was assaulted.

    Many many people sexually assaulted only come forward decades after the event or events, it does not make thier experience any less real or traumatic. Disregarding her experience out of hand on grounds of a liberal conspiracy is just offensive in my view.

    Especially considering what is currently happening in the Church we should be welcoming investigations into all and every allegation of abuse no matter where the accused or accused sits on the political spectrum. If there is no evidence then Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

  25. excalibur says:

    Forgetting all details, except 100% sure it was Kavanaugh, is total fabrication.

    The FBI is not investigating*, it is another background check. They will add Ford’s testimony, the additional Kavanaugh testimony, the affidavits from four claimed witnesses who say no knowledge, and may speak with Judge who will repeat his statement given in writing to the Judiciary Committee. They will put it all in a file, send it to the White House, which will forward a copy to the Committee. Pure delay. Anothar Avenatti moment?

    BTW The Republicans demanded Ford’s therapist records, conveniently neither Ford nor her Hillary-group attorneys brought them.

    *There is no federal nexus for any actual investigation. Had the rabble on the left wanted an actual investigation they could have filed a police report in Maryland, but that would really open them up [the Ford conspirators] to serious legal problems.

  26. un-ionized says:

    excalibur, six ways to Sunday is an Americanism not to be taken literally. Colloquial English.

  27. excalibur says:

    Now we find out the building permit for her escape door was given in 2008. Oops. Not because of memory brought back in 2012.

  28. Fr. Kelly says:

    The real problem with saying that the senate has to wait for an FBI investigation is based in Civics. Basic constitutional law and the balance of the three coequal branches of government.

    Recall that the appointment of Judges to federal courts, and especially of Justices to SCOTUS belongs to the Executive Branch (POTUS) under the US Constitution.
    The Legislative Branch (SOTUS) has the task of “Advice and Consent”. They must examine the candidate and vote by simple majority to accept or reject POTUS’s appointee.

    For the Senate to say “our investigation is not good enough. We need an investigation by the FBI.” (under the authority of the Executive Branch) is the equivalent of admitting, “We have no business approving or disapproving this candidate to the Judicial Branch, since we are relying on the Executive Branch to tell us whether we should or not.”

    Our government is getting cookier and cookier.

  29. Lurker 59 says:

    One of the most important aspects of Law is under attack in this farce. It is the simple idea that in order to accuse someone, you must have evidence of that accusation. Without evidence, the accuser cannot, must not, be believed. Ford has provided no evidence, none at all. Without evidence, one does not believe her but only has opinion and sentiment. That is it.

    It is beyond dangerous to do anything other than rejecting the accusation is unfounded. The whole issue of what did or didn’t happen doesn’t really matter because the only ethical course of action is to reject the accusation as without evidence and unfounded.

  30. JabbaPapa says:

    What a “surprise” — James Martin SJ wants Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination to become a Justice of the SCOTUS to be “withdrawn”.

    [He’s probably too clearly heterosexual for Martin.]

  31. Reginald Pole says:

    Fear not, good people. It is now in the capable hands of the Federal Bureau of Instigation.

  32. Ben Kenobi says:

    Do we have any evidence that Kavanaugh was ever in the same room as her? They didn’t go to the same school. The friends of both state that the party she claims happened never happened as well as saying that Kavanaugh wasn’t at the party. There’s no journal entry from her of that year, nor any mention by her of Kavanaugh prior to 2018. She claims she mentioned him in therapy but her claim doesn’t stand scrutiny as there is no evidence in the notes of any such mention.

    That this has gotten as far as it has is a bad day for America, however it plays out. The problem is that this approach has worked for the Democrats. See Roy Moore. I said it then and I say it now. If people want to see this go away, vote for Republicans, and publicly state that you are #walkingaway. You get what you encourage and sustain. If people realize that they can get what they want, they will continue doing this over and over again. However, if consequences are established where they end up worse off, then that tactic will no longer be used.

    Kavanaugh will be confirmed. The investigation won’t change anything and this vote gives cover to the Republicans to vote in favor stating that they did an investigation and the FBI said there was nothing.

  33. cwillia1 says:

    Last minute, uncorroborated, unsubstantiated accusations about what happened 36 years ago between a 15 year old and a 17 year old should be ignored in an appointment process. Ford may be sincere, Ford may be a victim of some kind of abuse, but the committee should not have heard her testimony.

    It is surprising how much evidence Kavanaugh has that supports his innocence but it is simply not reasonable to expect an appointee to defend himself against an accusation like this.

  34. wmeyer says:

    After observing for far too long the tedious melodrama playing in the hearing, I have concluded on thing, at least: The Democrats sat on Ford’s claims for six weeks because they recognized there was no substance. At the eleventh hour, having utterly failed to find any skeletons in Kavanaugh’s closet, they finally, in desperation offered up this marginally functional quasi-adult in hope of creating scandal where none exists.

    Reminds me of an old item about an organization which was supposed to represent local law enforcement agencies as a clearing house for data on shady individuals. Problem was, if a query was logged against someone, and nothing was found, a record was created, stating a query had been received. Most states then forbade their LEOs from joining.

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Excalibur,

    You made a reference to a article about Ford committing perjury because she called herself a psychologist. The California law (which is stupid, but its California) only applies in California, not Washington D.C. Generally speaking, anyone with a Ph.D in psychology gets to be called a psychologist. I know plenty of psychologists and only the clinical psychologists need patient experience in order to become a licensed clinical psychologist. Ford is an Educational Psychologist and is a research psychologist, not a clinical psychologist. The California law is overly broad.

    This matter came up in the context of an engineer calling himself an engineer, even though he was not licensed in the state. The court upheld his right on the merits of education. The licensure was a separate matter. He did not claim to be a licensed engineer and neither did Ford claim to be a licensed psychologist. She has a Ph.D in a psychological field. That makes her, by common parlance, a psychologist. The Dangerous article is ignoring common context and applying a restrictive interpretation of the term.

    No, she did not perjure herself on this account, based on what Dangerous said that she said (I did not watch the testimony).

    The Chicken

  36. rinkevichjm says:

    The testimony of persons working with false memories implanted by psychotherapy is often believable, that doesn’t mean that it is true — only that because they went to a psychotherapist they have a memory that they didn’t have before.
    BTW this alleged act isn’t a sex crime under MD law.

  37. cengime says:

    I was giving her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she had a false memory. The bit about her fear of flying called her honesty into question and made me think her story was worth a second look for anything illogical or suspicious that can’t be explained.

    She told the Washington Post that the people at the party were herself, Leland, Kavanaugh, Judge, and Smyth, and the total number of boys was four, implying there was one other boy whose name she could not remember. She said the same thing in her opening statement to the Committee. She also told the Washington Post that each person had one beer, which she obviously remembered because they split a six-pack. There were six people and six beers.

    Then Kavanaugh’s calendar came out. His prosecutors in the court of public opinion have focussed on a particular date as likely the one of the party: July 1, 1982, when after the workout at Tobin’s, he went to Tim Gaudette’s house for brewskis with Mark Judge, P. J. Smyth, Tom Caine, Bernie McCarthy, and Chris Garrett.

    At the Judiciary Committee hearing, the outside counsel asked Ford whether her letter to Senator Feinstein was accurate. She then clarified that she could not guarantee that there were not several people at the party other than the four boys she had remembered before, but they were not within the purview of her memory.

    That is a highly significant difference, and one which there was no hint of before it was necessary to reconcile the story with contradictory evidence.

    If it’s all a lie, it’s strange that she was lying in wait with this story for six years, but then again, I wonder whether the 2012 therapy session happened. There allegedly are notes. She testified that she remembered summarising for the Washington Post reporter what the notes said, but could not recall whether the reporter had actually seen them. Her lawyers informed the Committee that under no circumstances will they produce her medical records, because those are private. The only available evidence besides her husband’s word that she ever spoke of this before the death of Antonin Scalia is her friend’s statement that she remembered Ford telling her this in 2013, a conversation that she can prove occurred because she has the receipt for the meal. She remembered this after reading the whole story in the Washington Post. If her friend had déjà vu or is making a misguided effort to be “helpful,” it could have all been made up in 2016, and only two people need to be in on it.

  38. hwriggles4 says:

    This “circus” is one reason John and Jane Average Registered Voter do not aspire for a role in government today. Personally, this confirmation hearing has been run worse than a junior high school (i.e 8th grade class president) popularity. I don’t think John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, or Earl Warren would have survived a hearing like this. Other current justices (i.e. Ginsberg) have publicly said this vetting process has gotten ridiculous.

    Personally, as a man around Kavanaugh’s age (I am not much younger), I am glad Facebook, YouTube, and Social media weren’t around when I was in high school. As for Dr. Ford, my opinion is she may have experienced an assault 30+ years ago, but not from Kavanaugh.

  39. Il Ratzingeriano says:

    I am agnostic as to whether or not Dr. Ford’s allegations are true. As the press as reported, Judge Kavanaugh’s July 1 calendar entry memorializes details of a party that roughly fits the party described by Dr. Ford (including beer drinking with PJ and Mark Judge). On the flipside, however, no investigation of this is reliable without delving into the details of Dr. Ford’s therapy records to determine if any of her psychological issues might make her prone to false memories. I am surprised that conservative media have not been raising this issue. Above is a link to the Wikipedia page on “false memory syndrome.”

  40. KateD says:

    This is totally incidental, but in watching the hearings, did anyone else notice the owl eyes and the triangle at the bridge of Judge Kavanaughs nose?

    I only notice this because my daughter took a class on painting icons, and painted an icon of Jesus. Subsequent to that we made several sets of Jesse Tree ornaments using icons. There is a commonality in the depiction of Jesus’ ancestors of these traits.

    Just interesting….

  41. Southern Catholic says:

    Il Ratzingeriano,

    No, that party doesn’t fit what Ford has said. The location doesn’t fit, because the house isn’t near the Chevy Chase country club, nor was it a single family home but a town house. The number of boys there don’t match (and she has changed the number of people there several times). Ford has not produced any evidence of the crime committed.

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