Monday, September 17, 2018

Sexual harassment allegations unjustifiably ruin people's lives only if they are false

Yesterday, The Washington Post published Christine Blasey Ford's decades old allegations of sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hand of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nominee. You can read the full letter here.

Let's be clear. All we have right now are allegations of misconduct, buried for decades. But now, those allegations are public. They are serious. And they must be taken seriously.

And they also have the potential to ruin Judge Kavanaugh's life.

If he did what Ms. Ford accuses him of doing, I have zero sympathy for how this impacts his Supreme Court nomination. We are not only giving someone a job for life, we are giving someone a job for life who will rule on issues that go to the core of women's rights: abortion, equal pay, and discrimination, to name a few. How he treats, or has treated, women is germane to this process. As is whether he sexually assaulted someone while in high school.

A week ago, I would have told you that Judge Kavanaugh deserved to be confirmed. I do not agree with many of his positions on issues, but that should not disqualify anyone from Supreme Court service. If it did, no one would ever get confirmed. Donald Trump won the White House, and to his victory goes the spoils of judicial nominations. The remedy is not the imposition of an ideological litmus test to court appointees, but to vote.

Now, however, I am not sure. If these allegations are true, he should not serve, period. If they are unfounded, then he should serve, period.

The issue of whether Kavanaugh did it, or didn't do it, is critical. More importantly, as President Trump suggested when discussing the issue of allegations of harassment, Judge Kavanaugh deserves due process. Luckily for him, there exists a body, already convened, equipped to provide it—the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Anything other than a full and fair hearing of these allegations will cause Judge Kavanaugh to be judged in the court of public opinion. Isn't that what we are trying to avoid "for someone falsely accused?"

Anyone accused of harassment deserved to have the allegations vetted. As an employee, your employer should fully and fairly investigate, and, if it determines the allegations to be false, it should fire the accuser, period.

To do anything other than to pause this confirmation to determine just how much fire lurks behind Ms. Ford's smoke, to provide Judge Kavanaugh the due process to which he is entitled, is reckless and dangerous. The American people, the rights of whom Judge Kavanaugh will vote for decades and impact for decades more, deserve this much.