The Kavanaugh controversy is a watershed moment for GOP

This is a watershed moment for the GOP. A President who boasted about sexual assault has nominated a judge f...

Posted: Sep 18, 2018 4:18 AM
Updated: Sep 18, 2018 4:18 AM

This is a watershed moment for the GOP. A President who boasted about sexual assault has nominated a judge for an empty Supreme Court seat -- and a woman has accused that judge of physical and sexual assault, an accusation he vehemently denies. The outcome of the hearings could decide the fate of women's bodily autonomy for the foreseeable future.

Initially, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have tried to persuade Trump to nominate two other judges instead of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Why? Because, according to the New York Times, McConnell was concerned about Kavanaugh's long paper trail, which includes millions of pages detailing his time on the bench and working in the George W. Bush White House. McConnell, according to sources who briefed the Times, had little desire to revisit the Bush-era controversies, including the use of enhanced interrogation techniques -- aka torture -- which Kavanaugh upheld the use of in several cases.

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And though McConnell lost that battle, his party quickly united around Kavanaugh, moving his confirmation process along at warp speed. Shortly after Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary committee, referred the woman's allegation of sexual misconduct by the Supreme Court nominee to the FBI, Republican Chuck Grassley, chair of the Judiciary committee, released a letter in which 65 women vouched for Kavanaugh's character in high school.

This potentially indicates that, after a rushed confirmation hearing process, some within the Republican Party may have known of this allegation and moved forward with his nomination nonetheless. If so, this further proves that Senate Republicans are utterly out of step with the #MeToo generation.

Going forward, Republicans are faced with a spectrum of terrible options. They could continue to rush through the confirmation process and attempt to discredit the alleged victim -- Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, who offered the Washington Post a detailed account of what she describes as her traumatic experience and its aftermath, and even passed a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent.

If they do so, they may lose crucial Republican votes, which they cannot afford in the current 51-49 split. If they don't lose enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh, Republicans may pay the price this November, thanks to a fired up Democrat electorate and already growing group of disgruntled independents. Meanwhile, the endless onslaught of scandals could depress the turnout of even dyed-in-the wool Republican women.

Their other option is to slow down the confirmation process and allow Ford to testify about her experience, which will offer the nation a test -- to see how far we've come since the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings 27 years ago. At that time, an all-male Senate judiciary committee ruled in favor of Thomas and dismissed the accusations of Hill, a Yale-educated law professor, who had accused Thomas of sexual harassment while they worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Notably, Hill has called for a "fair and neutral" process to investigate the claim against Kavanaugh.

Ford's testimony could stand as a harrowing indictment of Kavanaugh's abject unfitness to sit on the Supreme Court. After all, her allegation is not one of a merely inappropriate comment, but of sexual assault. If true, in a just world, the price for allegedly holding a girl down, attempting to remove her clothes, turning up music so no one can hear her protests, and muffling her screams until she manages to escape, should be quite high.

Furthermore, if Republican senators attempt to impugn her character, they will disgrace themselves in the eyes of the American people. Public opinion, however, is unlikely to view his alleged crime with such clemency.

Yes, Republicans could gamble that the nation that heard the "Access Hollywood" tape and still elected Donald Trump will vote this November in favor of his party. While Trump didn't deny the statements on the tape, he did deny he put his words into action. However, at least 15 women have accused Trump of much more than sleazy words -- and he has denied each allegation. And, yes, Kavanaugh denies the accusation that was made against him when he -- unlike Trump -- was still a minor.

That said, the allegation against Kavanaugh is far more severe -- it's based on action, not just words -- and is more likely to ignite the civic passions of people who may have sat out the last election because they did not feel enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.

Anyone can make unfounded allegations to try and thwart someone's career and, if it isn't true, the person shouldn't be summarily dismissed. However, if further testimony corroborates Ford's claim, the only way Republicans stand a chance in the upcoming elections, and in the judgment of history, is to take an unequivocal stand against predators on the Supreme Court and in the White House.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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