I hesitate to comment on the current spectacle surrounding the nomination of Bret Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court since my words are unlikely to sway anyone’s mind. Still, let me state how a non-partisan juror or good critical thinker might consider the problem.
Point 1 – Your intuition about who is or isn’t lying is worthless. It has been well-demonstrated that humans are very bad at detecting lying. Instead, they simply superimpose what they want to believe or disbelieve onto whoever they are listening to. So don’t tell me someone seems credible or not. Your intuition here is worthless.
Point 2 – Dr. Ford has little incentive to lie and had a lot of incentive to remain quiet. Mr. Kavanaugh’s incentives are precisely the opposite.
Point 3 – There is a lot of circumstantial evidence against Kavanaugh. People who knew him as a teenager say he was a frequent drunk; his friend and fellow alleged assaulter Mark Judge wrote a book Wasted: Tales of a Genx Drunk (which is now almost impossible to buy); there are other allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh; etc. (A Yale classmate has also accused him of being a drunk.)
Point 4 – Kavanaugh is a liar. He gave misleading testimony about his knowledge of stolen documents when he was in the Bush White House and about his involvement in judicial nominations. In addition, when asked about his yearbook claim to be a “Renate Alumnius,” he pretended that there was no sexual insinuation. This was almost certainly a lie. And he lied when he said that references in his yearbook were about a flatulence and drinking game when they are both sexual references. He also lied by saying that it was legal for him to drink as a high school senior. He was then 17 and in his state, the drinking age was 21. And he lied about having no connections to Yale when he was a legacy student.
(I would add that the legal principle “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” applies here. This Latin phrase means “false in one thing, false in everything.” In common law, it is the legal principle that a witness who testifies falsely about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter.)
Point 5 – False accusations of sexual assault and/or rape are the exception, not the rule. This is well-established in the scientific literature. The bottom line is that false allegations are probably somewhere between 2% and 10%. For more see:
Based on this fact alone Kavanaugh is very likely guilty.
If I were a betting man I’d say the chances he assaulted Dr. Ford are about 100 to 1. It’s possible he’s innocent but very unlikely. This may or may not disqualify him from a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but the fact that he is probably a liar should.
Finally, Kavanaugh wants our sympathy for bad deeds committed as a teenager—which he may deserve—but you can bet he won’t show any mercy to non-white teenagers who plead before him in his court. At them, he will throw the full weight of the law.
Poor Kavanaugh. If denied this seat he will likely go back to sitting on the nation’s highest appeals court or accept a multimillion-dollar salary as a partner in a law firm. Like most entitled rich, white frat boys the law doesn’t apply to him—he only wants to apply it to the rest of us.
Finally, for a persuasive case against Kavanaugh by a conservative, see Jennifer Rubin’s great piece in today’s Washington Post “If we want to protect the Supreme Court’s legitimacy, Kavanaugh should not be on it.”
For more see also: