As a non-religious Jew, I fear being accused of muddying the water with a religious reference to the Catholic Church’s many past and current sex abuse scandals, often many decades old. But, there is an aspect of the Kavanaugh matter that seems to be going unnoticed which needs some sunlight.
The Church to its credit appears to be at least trying to say the right things even though it apparently still has trouble doing the right things in assigning responsibility and sanctioning culprits.
It should not be overlooked that Kavanaugh was attending a Catholic boy’s school when his alleged misconduct occurred. And, today, as he ascends to the United States Supreme Court, he becomes one of the highest ranking Catholics in the United States and the World. He has been treated like several Catholic Bishops and Cardinals have been treated – with very velvet gloves – over the years. (Cardinal Law in Boston was a classmate at Harvard, whom I knew, and though he lost his rank, he never lost the support of the Church.) Do you suppose there is – or should be – special treatment for high rankers later in life after misdeeds are brought to light?
Or do you suppose the Church is so politically focused in the United States that it lays low in criticizing Kavanaugh despite the fact that it is struggling to stay afloat dealing with sexual abuses?
I even know personally how discombobulating such abuse can be. When I was about 14 years old, and on an overnight train from New York to Exeter in New Hampshire, I was sexually accosted by an ordinary man. I was so alarmed I threw a coke in his face and escaped to my berth and shuddered all night. That was 70+ years ago and I have never forgotten the key details. I have told a very few people over the years because until recently it seemed largely irrelevant, yet I empathize with the many men and women who have had even worse encounters.
The United States and the Catholic Church have to come honestly to grips with reality and recognize the phenomenon for what it is and deal with it once and for all.
Episodically, the Senate has acted firmly in setting character standards. Remember Douglas Ginsberg who was forced out of a prospective Supreme Court seat simply because he had smoked pot?
We have to try much harder to be consistent and clear headed about the qualifications – or lack thereof – for the Supreme Court. The glaring fallacy of Senator Collins attempt to justify her vote on Kavanaugh was her reliance on presumption of innocence about Kavanaugh. Presumption of innocence relates to criminal law matters when a person’s freedom may be at stake, not the rare and important privilege of a seat on the Supreme Court.
What was before the Senate just now was much more than sufficient evidence about a man whose lifetime behavior put in question his judgment and fitness to sit on the Court.
In an effort to sway our legal system, the Republican majority in the Senate has twice now in two years abused its position of the majority to both deny AND grant confirmation. Remember Wyoming has 500,000 people and two Senators, California 25,000,000 people and two Senators. The 200 year old system to protect States with few people has opened the door to the few ganging up on a wide majority. That is a clear recipe for a big problem, and it is here NOW. The 25 smallest states contain only 16.2 percent of the population, but control half the seats in the U.S. Senate.
They have opened the door wide to comparable abuses by a Democratic majority in the future to further tamper with the system.
That will likely lead to even further diminution of the standing of the US Supreme Court and further weaken the last solid leg supporting democracy.