The fishy smell of the GOP’s letter exonerating Kavanaugh

You know the story by now: A woman has accused Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, of attempting to forcibly rape her when they both were teenagers. Republicans not only aren’t interested in getting at the truth of the allegations; they’re strenuously attacking the accuser. The pattern is a familiar one to #MeToo’ers: It didn’t happen, she’s lying, he’s a good guy, and the people who know him vouch for him. He would never do that.

After all, this is about power — i.e., at last getting a majority of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade — and the character and past behavior of the nominee has nothing to do with it. Any problems there will be denied and discredited, if possible, and certainly not seriously considered.

Within 24 hours, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chaired Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, produced a letter purportedly signed by 65 former female classmates of Kavanaugh’s vouching for his character and behavior at the time in question. This itself is highly suspicious, because what are the odds anyone can locate, contact, and obtain signatures from more than five dozen old acquaintances from decades ago — in less than a day? It defies belief. Either the letter is fake, or Republicans knew of this allegation and prepared for it in advance.

Here’s another problem: Kavanaugh had no female high school classmates. He attended an all boys school. Of course, it’s possible these women knew him; but not as classmates. They may have mingled with him in the community, met him at social events, or something similar; but they never attended classes with him, and couldn’t have known him very well — certainly, not well enough to know what he might have done with a girl in a closed room away from their eyes.

From this angle, keep in mind that nearly every news story you read about some murderer and rapist quotes one or more acquaintances to the effect that “this isn’t the so-and-so they knew” and they never imagined so-and-so could do such a thing. Just because you think you know someone, doesn’t mean you do. Even Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway fooled the people around them for a very long time.

What matters here is whether we should believe the accuser. It’s too soon to pass judgment on that. And that’s the point. This needs followup and further consideration before the accused individual is confirmed to a lifetime appointment on our highest court.

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