Dr. Ford’s Reticence to Testify in Judge Kavanaugh Senate Hearing

christine blasey fordRegarding Dr. Christine Ford’s reticence to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court without a prior FBI investigation:  I’ve been thinking.

The offer has been made to allow her to testify in a closed session. Even if there were an open session, at congressional hearings, witnesses do not sit side by side, unless they are joint proponents of particular legislation. So Ms. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh would not be sitting along side each other.

My understanding is that Chairman Grassley has even offered to send staff to California for an interview of Ms. Ford.

She is being given every accommodation possible.

As far as her current publicly reported position of  requiring an FBI investigation prior to testifying, my question is (based on what is publicly known), what is there to investigate? The only available evidence to date of stated actual knowledge are the recollections of Ms. Ford. So the only open question is her personal credibility and the only option for judging that is with an interview by those with a vote on the matter, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At this point she has been afforded that option and last week her attorney indicated a willingness of Ms. Ford to testify. The new requirements for, in my personal opinion, an investigation that has no place to go, throw up a road block without a legitimate purpose.

Based on what we have, it would seem that the bulk of the testimony would consist of “I don’t know” and “I don’t recall” from Ms. Ford and denials from Judge Kavanaugh.

As for Ms. Cristina King Miranda’s memories of talk around school that have received widespread distribution.  I imagine she was sincere, but has tempered her recollection.  As for me, and I have been trying hard lately, as my 50th High School reunion is this weekend, I can’t for the life of me remember with any detail any conversation I had with anyone in high school.

One particular pool party comes to mind as it was the first time I tried pizza. I do remember a few first kisses and the like, one with a young lady with braces, but memory both fades and alters.

I like to think my experience as a prosecutor, both of juveniles and young adults, informs my thoughts on the subject. The law goes to great lengths in both formal ways (sealing juvenile records) and informal ways (with charging decisions and diversion programs that limit criminal records) to protect young people from suffering lifelong consequences from bad decisions made at an age when judgment is not fully developed. This is generally done in a way to also accommodate a victim’s desire for justice and protection.

It simply seems that we can never really “know” the accuracy of Ms. Ford’s incomplete recollection. We can believe that she believes it and still not “know” if it’s true.

As a prosecutor who worked as a Sex Crime Attorney Tampa Florida | Sex Offenses | Mike G Law participating in investigations, including many sex crimes, again based on publicly known facts, the only thing at issue is Ms. Ford’s credibility. The only folks with the legal responsibility for judging that at the moment are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The only method available for Senators to make their own judgment is to talk with her.

Regarding her request for an FBI investigation: Think for a moment, what is an investigator to do with a 35 year old memory lacking in critical detail? There’s simply no where to go.

Assuming her public representations to date are accurate that she lacks a date, time, or place and the utter public denials by her two named witnesses where does an investigator go? There are simply no leads to follow. I’m not being judgmental, I’m being practical. Try and think about it from a practical investigator’s stand point: with the information Dr. Ford provides, what would you do after you talk to her?

As for my earlier point that in my work as a prosecutor efforts were regularly made to protect youthful offenders from a ruined life, by all accounts, Judge Kavanaugh has led an exemplary and highly accomplished adult life, and has been a fair and thoughtful jurist, no doubt working towards a possible appointment for decades. I would determine my support or opposition to his appointment based on his entire life. By all accounts, through experience, education and achievement he is eminently qualified.

There are those who may oppose him on ideological grounds, which they are entitled to do, but I think they should be honest about it.

Ms. Ford is being afforded an opportunity to be heard, and I hope she takes it. Should she choose not to, news reports are not evidence (though they have been presented as such in applications for FISA warrants) and the Senators will not have before them her story or a personal sense of her credibility to consider in conducting its advice and consent function.


For Further Reading