Saving for future reference…
This is a serious problem, and it undercuts any effort to prove her claims against Brett Kavanaugh. The American legal system is characterized by mandated transparency. In criminal cases, the prosecution is required to release exculpatory information. In other words, it can be required to undercut its own case. In civil litigation, parties are generally required to turn over not just all relevant, non-privileged documents to the other side, they’re required to also turn over all documents that could lead to the discovery of relevant information. That’s one reason why the decision to litigate should never be taken lightly. File a lawsuit, and you’re opening the book on your life.
This policy is vitally important for the fact-finding process. Ford’s failure is all the more troubling given that she’s not even promising to turn them over to the FBI unconditionally. And keep in mind that if she turns over the records, there is nothing stopping her from including a written explanation of their contents, including an explanation of perceived inconsistencies or damaging excerpts.
Moreover, let’s not forget that the FBI is not the relevant decision-maker. The Senate is rendering final judgment on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and this action disrespects the entity that’s constitutionally entitled to render its advice and (perhaps) its consent. In civil litigation, the persistent failure to turn over relevant information can lead to dismissal of a plaintiff’s case. In criminal cases, the failure to release exculpatory evidence can overturn convictions. Here, at the very least, the reluctance to cooperate should adversely impact the Senate’s consideration of Ford’s very serious claims.
It’s certainly true that Kavanaugh tried to minimize the least admirable aspects of his adolescence — understandably, given the withering fire he was under and the basic irrelevance of the matters under discussion — but there is no evidence he lied.
Much of the focus is on his drinking. There are two main lines of argument here. The first: Kavanaugh has misleadingly portrayed himself as a “squeaky clean” “choir boy,” but there is plenty of evidence that he was a heavy drinker. This begins from a false premise. Kavanaugh has said he was pious and hardworking in high school and college, but he also said in his Senate testimony that he drank excessively on occasion: “I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did.” Drinking in high school and college is obviously compatible with attending church or participating in community service.
It’s amazing how many people believe, or at least say, things about Kavanaugh’s testimony that aren’t true. One of them is that he accused the Clintons of orchestrating a conspiracy against him or that he attacked the Clintons. Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript:
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.
He didn’t say that the Clintons have been running the campaign against him, just that many of his opponents are motivated by anger and raw feelings over the 2016 election, which is self-evidently true.