There’s a new book out about the Kavanaugh confirmation called “Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh.” The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has seen some excerpts from the book and highlights one of them today. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, spoke at a conference and suggested that Ford was motivated to come forward by her desire to put an asterisk next to Kavanaugh’s name should he later dismantle Roe v Wade:
In April this year, she spoke at the University of Baltimore’s 11th Feminist Legal Theory Conference titled “Applied Feminism and #MeToo.” Lovelace secured a video of her address and provided a clip to Secrets…
“In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court. We were going to have a conservative [justice] … elections have consequences, but he will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”
[The book’s author] explained, “Ford’s audience was not the Senate, as Katz had previously suggested, but the American people. If they could be persuaded that Justice Kavanaugh was a predator, then they might not accept a future ruling by the five Republican-appointed justices altering the right to obtain an abortion established by Roe v. Wade. Had the Senate understood Ford’s real motivation, as described by Katz, it might have appreciated more fully the pressure that ‘organized forces’ were applying.”
Of course, we don’t know exactly what Dr. Ford might have said that led her attorney to believe this was an accurate take on her views. Maybe this is Katz putting her own spin on things, after the fact. Maybe she’s trying to claim a moral victory in the face of an obvious defeat. That’s possible.
But it’s also possible to read this as the book’s author does, as an admission that Ford was motivated by abortion politics all along. After all, Katz is saying the conclusion (of Kavanaugh’s confirmation) was assured ahead of time, suggesting that Ford knew it too. She really does seem to be saying that Ford just wanted to exact a political price.
The problem for Ford is that, whatever her reasons for coming forward, there was literally no one able to confirm any part of her story. No one remembered the party she described much less the incident, not even her friend who was supposedly there that night. No one remembers driving her home (she was 15) or remembers hearing about an assault contemporaneously. The first mention of Kavanaugh by name appears to be 30 years later.
Two other women who came forward, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, also made claims about Kavanaugh’s behavior at parties that no one could confirm. There were also a couple of claims made to members of Congress that later turned out to be lies.
Unlike, Katz I don’t think Kavanaugh’s confirmation was a foregone conclusion. I still think that if anyone had come forward to back up Ford’s claims, Kavanaugh would have lost another vote or two and that would have been the end of his nomination. As it was, he came very close to not making it because of the allegations, at least some of which appear to have been invented out of whole cloth.
Update: Here’s video of the statement.
Christine Ford's lawyer Debra Katz says putting "an asterisk" next to Kavanaugh's name in case Kavanaugh attacked Roe v. Wade "is part of what motivated Christine." pic.twitter.com/zoFr2T8Aec
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) September 4, 2019