The last few weeks have been dominated by all things Kavanaugh and I’m certain that will be the case for at least a few more days. There have been a lot of disturbing issues raised during that time period and while it has received relatively little coverage none is more disturbing to me than the one I want to discuss today. Let’s explore.
An issue raised on the right is that the impact on future nominations of a “Kavanaugh factor” is that quality candidates for high profile government posts like the Supreme Court or Cabinet positions will refuse to come forward because they will be afraid of false accusations of a sexual nature. Taken a step further the theory goes that what man will come forward because somewhere in his youth he must have molested women. I find that insulting and disgusting! That implies that every man was some sort of sex offender or rapist in his youth. That is preposterous!
Let me explore that on two levels. First let’s talk about lasting impact.
Kavanaugh’s nomination will be resolved and the country will move on. I have lived through several contentious Supreme Court nominations during my adult lifetime. Robert Bork was attacked and ultimately not confirmed based on his past political actions. We can have a legitimate debate as to the validity of that reasoning but nevertheless many other very ideological nominees have subsequently been confirmed.
Clarence Thomas was accused of being a sexual harasser. (By the standards of the Kavanaugh accusations, Thomas was a choirboy.) Again, many males have been confirmed to the Supreme Court in his wake and none of them were accused of sexual harassment.
President Trump’s other nominee; Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation was certainly controversial but I do not recall any attacks on his personal conduct. (Remember he graduated from the same high school as Kavanaugh and only one year earlier.)
There is no logical reason to believe that every male nominee will be saddled with similar accusations.
The more disturbing implication is that all males are sexual predators. Interestingly the current generation of nominees is about the age of many of my former high school and college basketball players. As an assistant coach I got closer to my players than a head coach is able to. I know many of my guys (at the college level) were getting a lot of (I want to keep this PG) “quality female attention” but it was always consensual. My high school players were always “on the lookout” but there is a huge difference between following your sexual preference desires and forcing yourself on or taking advantage of someone. I remember a specific discussion about consent with several of my college players during a road trip. The conclusion and more importantly their policy was that “No” meant no at any point in time; even when the “game was in progress”. (Staying PG is difficult, but this is important!)
The pool of talent for Supreme Court openings is generally considered to be restricted to sitting federal judges. Many of the over 3,000 sitting federal judges are male. I know how my generation acted. We probably told too many off color jokes within the earshot of those (male and female) who didn’t want to hear them but we were not a bunch of sexual predators. The prime candidates are probably more in the generation of my old players. They grew up in an era where they watched their mouth a bit more. By and large they liked girls but they acted much more like gentlemen than animals.
To suggest that it will be difficult, let alone impossible, to confirm a male to the Supreme Court in the wake of the Kavanaugh nomination is pure malarkey and an insult to almost all of those male federal judges.
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