I went on a date with Brett Kavanaugh in 1998. I was working for Robert Bennett at Skadden representing Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh was working for Ken Starr. The people who set us up imagined a sort of Romeo and Juliet situation, and it was, except for the fact that we did not love each other or even like each other enough to go past one date.
He walked me back to my house on Swann Street that I shared with my brother and a friend. The friend’s friend was the head of Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign and while we were talking (making out?) in front of the house, Nader walked out, discreetly past us and off toward 17th Street. I had warned Kavanaugh that Swann Street was enemy territory, my warning had merit. It was a strange night.
Now I am thrown again into the tempest of #metoo. I am overcome with the irony that the man who was responsible for digging the dirt on Clinton, asking the explicit questions that made the Starr report such horrible reading, that man now has his own dirty past thrown at him.
I want to defend his humanity. When my friends from high school heard about this date, I was in receipt of a number of vomiting emojis. It felt to them that even my date with this guy was somehow unforgivable. I didn’t sleep with the enemy but let’s say (I don’t remember) that I made out with the enemy. Is he really the enemy? A Cambridge friend told me unequivocally he was – there is a war on women so he is the enemy. But he was also just a person who coached basketball who had a job like I had a job. My job was to make sure that a woman who claimed sexual assault was ignored. Nothing personal, but it was a giant attack on the first Democratic president in my lifetime.
Should this guy be on the Supreme Court? No. Not because he is not a human, but because he is a partisan warrior and partisan warriors are not meant for the Supreme Court. We are a nation of laws, not partisan positions, not winners and losers. Somehow I feel like the universe has decided that the overlooking of Merrick Garland was a karmic step too far, and those who live by the sword must die by the sword. Somehow I feel like he doesn’t come across as a judge, he doesn’t embody justice. Even Gorsuch (who was my opposing counsel in a big trial in Kentucky a few years later) seemed judicial. Kavanaugh just seems like a scared lost boy not knowing any better than to fight his corner.
Does sexual assault in high school disqualify you from the Supremes? Nasty innuendo didn’t disqualify Thomas. Should Kavanaugh have attacked Christine Blasey Ford? No. And if we don’t honour her coming forward, we’re telling the world and our daughters that justice is not available for her. That is wrong. But yet when I was working for Clinton, I was desperate to stop the partisan attack on his leadership. He was our guy and this nonsense with all the women was all besides the point. Plus I have a son. And while he is good and kind, if he were drunk and stupid one night, I’m not sure I would want that to define his future.
Is what Kavanaugh did terrible? Yes, it is. Is it myopic to see all people on the right as demons? Yes, it is.
To look at this situation fairly is to be tortured.