The New McCarthyism


Walter Olson blogged:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took a quote in which Brett Kavanaugh summarized the positions taken by litigants in a lawsuit, snipped off his “But they said” language introducing the summary, and represented the remainder as Kavanaugh’s own position. News organizations like CNN, along with many persons in my timeline, ran with her version as a story.

I’ve been warning about Sen. Harris since back when she was California Attorney General and kept ignoring the ethical rules in high-profile cases. Among those cases: the Moonlight Fire litigation (judge, ordering state to pay $32 million to its opponent, said he could recall “no instance in experience over 47 years as an advocate and a judge, in which the conduct of the Attorney General so thoroughly departed from the high standard it represents”) and the Backpage prosecution (courts reject her theory of criminal liability over online sex ads, she orders execs raided and arrested anyway).

8 Comments for “The New McCarthyism”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    “The letter took a circuitous route to Feinstein, the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. It purportedly describes an incident that was relayed to someone affiliated with Stanford University, who authored the letter and sent it to Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat who represents the area.”

    I missed that. I thought the complaintant contacted Rep. Eshoo directly.

    “The statement appears deliberately crafted to create the impression that Kavanaugh violated federal law without providing any evidence at all to support the suspicion.”

    I strongly disagree. I take it as more along the lines of a narrative designed to pre-empt and head off something along the lines of an imminent leak by Sen. Corey Booker. She tried to squash it and lost confidence that the news would stay silent. Now she is putting her spin on it.

    Having watched Sen. Diane Feinstein for years, probably being the non-leadership Senator or Congressperson I am second most familiar with, she has my complete and total confidence in her integrity and my strong confidence in her judgment. Reportedly, Feinstein did not want the letter made public because of the amount of time that had elapsed since the alleged incident, and because of a belief that the wishes of (female) sexual assault victims to privacy should always be respected. She is one of the foremost defenders of the VAWA. I am sure that she has a memorial in her office to every single woman from Tawana Brawley to Stormy Daniels who accused a powerful man of sexual indiscretions and had their reputation destroyed.

    It is in that spirit that I will say this about the letter apparently accusing nominee Kavanaugh of attempted rape, hopefully only once:

    [Deletes two paragraphs of vicious slander and demands of public exposure essentially accusing the complaintant of being a gold-digger]

    As Senate Minority Leader Schumer said, Sen. Feinstein handled this matter correctly, not just from a legal point of view, but an ethical and political point of view as well. We not need another Anita Hill being convicted of perjury on a national stage during the Presidency of Donald Trump.

    Reply
  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Looking at this, several thoughts come to mind:

    (1) Because the accusation is anonymous, the accusation is not sufficient reason to refuse to confirm. The right to confront an accuser is fundamental to our system of justice.

    (2) The fact that the accusation is anonymous does not, however, speak to the truth of the accusation, and the accusation should not be dismissed as false simply because it is anonymous.

    (3) The fact that the FBI has declined to open a criminal investigation does not bear on the truth of the accusation. The statute of limitations has long since passed and a criminal investigation would be pointless.

    (4) The “65 Women” statement issued by Senator Grassley is immaterial. Judge Kavanaugh is accused by a single woman at a particular time and place. His behavior toward other women at other times and places does not speak to the truth of the accusation.

    (5) The statement by Mark Gauvreau Judge (reported to be the other male in the room) to the effect that he never saw Judge Kavanaugh behave inappropriately around women is meaningless for several reasons:

    (a) Like the “65 Woman” statement, Judge’s statement does not address the accusation.

    (b) With respect to the specific accusation, Judge is of little or no value as a witness. Judge wrote an account (“Wasted: Tales of a Genx Drunk“) of his alcohol abuse and frequent alcohol-induced blackouts during this time at Georgetown Prep. Given that the accusation specifies that both boys had been drinking at the time, it is very hard to give any probative weight to an “I don’t remember anything like this ever happening …” statement.

    (c) Judge wrote another book (“God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling“) that, among much else, describes incidents of alcohol abuse by a thinly-disguised “fictional” character, “Bart O’Kavanaugh”. While alcohol abuse by high school boys is so common as to be unremarkable, the book does not square with the portrait of Judge Kavanaugh as a squeaky clean adolescent who would (God forbid) never get drunk and act badly.

    (6) So far as anyone knows, this is an isolated case, a case of a drunk high school boy with more hormones than brains getting out of control. That does not excuse the behavior or diminish it. But the accusation, so far as we know, stands alone, and that suggests that Judge Kavanaugh is not a serial abuser.

    (7) Remembering the Anita Hill character assassination, and seeing the character assassination already underway in this matter, I can understand why the accuser has elected to remain anonymous.

    (8) I do not understand why Senator Feinstein waited so long to refer this matter to the FBI. The FBI is the responsible agency for investigating character and fitness of federal appointees. In my view, she should have passed the information along to the FBI when she got the information in July.

    (9) I do not understand why Senator Grassley did not refer this matter to the FBI. Senator Grassley clearly knew about the matter before it became public, probably for weeks, because he issued the “65 Women” statement within an hour after the matter became public. Statements like that, from that many women, aren’t put together in an hour, or even a day or two. In my view, he should have passed the information along to the FBI when he learned of it.

    So, anyway, those are my thoughts at this point. More will, undoubtedly, develop with respect to this matter before Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, but confirmed he will be, almost certainly.

    Reply
  3. posted by Chang on

    I notice that steve was silent when the GOP blocked President Obama’s nominees.

    Reply
  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    (1) Because the accusation is anonymous, the accusation is not sufficient reason to refuse to confirm. The right to confront an accuser is fundamental to our system of justice.

    I note that the accuser, a college professor, is no longer anonymous, and there is corroborative evidence.

    At this point, it seems to me, the accusation should be thoroughly investigated as a matter of character and fitness.

    I don’t know whether Senator Grassley will allow that to happen before the Judiciary Committee votes on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but it seems to me that he should.

    If past is prologue, this is going to get very, very ugly, and quickly.

    More will, undoubtedly, develop with respect to this matter before Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, but confirmed he will be, almost certainly.

    I’m rethinking that in light of this new development. If the accusation is investigated and the accusation is found credible, I believe that two or three Republican Senators might consider the matter sufficiently serious to vote against confirmation, and if that seems likely, it is possible that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination might be withdrawn.

    Reply
  5. posted by Matthew on

    The old McCarthy was right about communist infiltration. The modern day Slaveocrat Party and its open embrace of socialism, of which communism is a form, is proof of that.

    Reply
  6. posted by Jorge on

    (4) The “65 Women” statement issued by Senator Grassley is immaterial. Judge Kavanaugh is accused by a single woman at a particular time and place. His behavior toward other women at other times and places does not speak to the truth of the accusation.

    It’s only immaterial to the truth of the accusation. It is not immaterial to its relevance. It is reasonable to counter a negative character reference by a positive character reference.

    (8) I do not understand why Senator Feinstein waited so long to refer this matter to the FBI.

    Neither do I. I am a little embarrassed I stuck up for her so forcefully; I thought she had done so from the beginning.

    Reply
  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    It’s only immaterial to the truth of the accusation. It is not immaterial to its relevance. It is reasonable to counter a negative character reference by a positive character reference.

    Oh, bullshit, Jorge. The statement was issued by Senator Grassley in order to cast doubt on the credibility of the accusation. It wasn’t a character reference,

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining, Tom. These accusations have a way of having a multiplicative effect beyond that of one person’s accusation. A bit of context about the nominee is appropriate and necessary.

      Reply

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