American Elephants


Kavanaugh: Continued, On and On. by The Elephant's Child

The fourth person that Christine Blasey Ford identified as being at the fabled party when she was assaulted, put a damper on Ford’s charge. In a Saturday evening email, an attorney representing Ford’s former classmate, Leland Ingham Keyser, stated that his client “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party of gathering where he was present, with, or without Dr. Ford.” She’s the fourth person to refute Ford’s story.

Claire Berlinski from the Manhattan Institute commented that: “news organizations could render a valuable service if, whenever they report that someone has taken or proposes to take a polygraph, they reminded readers (or explained to them) that polygraphs are voodoo.  Junk science. They are no more reliable than a pack of Tarot cards. Polygraph evidence is inadmissible in court. There is a good reason for that. To check Brett Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court, Congress would do well to ask him whether he believes Frye v. United States and United States v. Scheffer were correctly decided. …

A polygraph measures your heart rate, breathing, and galvanic skin response. There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological responses is unique to deception. Polygraphs are useful to investigators trying to elicit a confession, however: if you convince suggestible people that these measurements are associated with lying, they are more likely spontaneously to confess when you tell them, “The machine says you’re lying.”

And Heather MacDonald, also at Manhattan Institute: chimes in with a little common sense. “If Supreme Court Justice William Brennan were posthumously discovered to have aggressively groped a girl once in high school, should that fact discredit his landmark opinions expanding press freedom, legal protections for criminal defendants, and voting and welfare rights? Would it have been better for the country, from a liberal perspective, if Brennan’s judicial career had been derailed from the start? What about Justice John Marshall Harlan, whose groundbreaking 1896 dissent from the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson declared that the Constitution was “color-blind” and rejected state-sponsored segregation? If Harlan had once jumped on a girl as a 17-year-old, should that one-time outbreak of boorish adolescent male hormones efface his contributions as a public thinker?

The Democratic response to the allegation that three and a half decades ago, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted a girl during a pool party bears many hallmarks of campus culture, from the admonition that “survivors” should always be believed to the claim that the veracity of the accusation matters less than the history of white-male privilege. But the most significant import from academic feminism is the idea that a long-ago, never-repeated incident of adolescent sexual misbehavior (assuming that the assault happened as described, which Kavanaugh has categorically denied) should trump a lifetime record of serious legal thought and government service. (Now, a new allegation, reported by The New Yorker, that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a Yale classmate at a party—though the New York Times regarded the evidence as too flimsy to publish—has ramped up outrage to the point that feminists are demanding that the Ford hearings they had called for be cancelled.) The feminist nostrum that the personal is political is being weaponized to subordinate the public realm of ideas to the private realm of sexual relations—all, ironically, in the service of a highly political end: preventing a judicial conservative from being seated on the high court. The domain of Eros and the domain of public action are, however, in most cases distinct. If it turned out that James Madison had groped his domestics, it would be absurd to discard the constitutional separation of powers on that ground. Madison’s political insights are more important to civilization than any hypothetical chauvinist indiscretions.

Sleazy porn-star lawyer Michael Avenatti has located someone who will claim gross drunken college parties. Avenatti, with his representation of Stormy Daniels discovered media attention, and loves it so much that now he even wants to run for president. Apparently there is something intoxicating about appearing on camera, getting attention—we know that Hollywood celebrities will do or say anything to get the attention of the public. If it’s outrageous enough, maybe they will get into People or maybe just one of the movie magazines that you find at the beauty parlor.

I expect that most of you are as tired and angry about all this as I am. Judge Kavanaugh should be promptly confirmed, and enough of these phony stories.




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