Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

Which Women Should We Believe?

Hundreds of women insist the current US Supreme Court nominee is an exceptionally decent person who is tremendously supportive of female equality.

A fragment of a photo published by the Toronto Star (click here). This photo was taken by Andrew Harnik, an Associated Press photographer, and is used here in a fair use manner.

Two months ago Lisa Blatt, a prominent lawyer, told the world that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is tremendously supportive of women.

In a Politico article titled I’m a Liberal Feminist Lawyer. Here’s Why Democrats Should Support Judge Kavanaugh, she makes it clear he goes above and beyond in hiring female law clerks. The “upper echelons of my profession will never fully include women” she explains, if women aren’t provided with these kinds of opportunities.

Blatt reports that, since meeting him eight years ago,

I’ve kept in regular contact with the judge, mostly to talk about kids and work-life balance, including the challenges I’ve had as a woman trying to raise two children while practicing law. Kavanaugh is a great listener, and one of the warmest, friendliest and kindest individuals I know.

Blatt thinks he belongs on the Supreme Court not because he will necessarily rule “the way I want in each case or even most cases, but because he will do the job with dignity, intelligence, empathy and integrity.”

In July, Julie O’Brien authored a similarly glowing account of Kavanaugh in the Washington Post, titled I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy. In his personal life, she says, the judge “is a mentor to student-athletes who love basketball. But his players are sixth-grade girls.”

After observing that he “coaches not one but two girls’ basketball teams,” her article turns poignant:

A few years ago, my husband died. One of the many difficult aspects of that loss was that my daughter had no one to accompany her to the school’s annual father-daughter dance. That first year — and every year since my husband’s passing — Brett has stepped forward to take my daughter to the dance alongside his own.

As Tyler O’Neil demonstrated two weeks ago in a report titled 200 Women Testify to Kavanaugh’s History of ‘Treating Women With Respect,’ Going Back to High School, numerous women have sent the Senate’s judiciary committee laudatory letters about Kavanaugh. One, signed by 65 women, declares:

Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect…

Another 10 women, who attended Yale University with the judge, wrote their own letter describing him as “immensely generous, intelligent, and warm.” In their everyday experience, he is a humble and loyal friend who treats women as “equals in all respects.” Looking back on their college days, they now regard his “appreciation of the importance of women’s athletics” at the time to be “impressive.”

The Senate committee is in receipt of a similar letter from 84 female White House staffers who worked with Kavanaugh during the George W. Bush administration. In their words:

As former colleagues of Brett’s, we know his commitment to equal treatment of women in the workplace and are especially proud of his efforts to encourage and support women lawyers. More than half of Brett’s law clerks have been women…His leadership on these issues is vitally important…

These women also describe Kavanaugh as an exceptional human being:

The West Wing is a small place. The hours are long, and the pressure is intense. You get to know your colleagues well in those conditions. And in Brett Kavanaugh, we got to know a brilliant lawyer, a thoughtful friend, and a man of the highest integrity…Policy debates in the White House are passionate and high stakes, but Brett always took care to ensure that the process was fair and that every voice was heard.

Still another letter, from 18 of Kavanaugh’s former female law clerks, describes “uniformly positive experiences with the Judge as a boss on issues of gender and equality in the workplace.” The American public, they say, “should be aware of the important work” he has done to remedy gender disparities. In their view, Kavanaugh is “one of the strongest advocates in the federal judiciary for women lawyers.”

That letter’s overall flavour is captured well by this paragraph:

Mentorship is critical to advancement in the legal profession, and the Judge is a dedicated mentor to all of his clerks, men and women alike…It is not an exaggeration to say that we would not be the professors, prosecutors, public officials, and appellate advocates we are today without his enthusiastic encouragement and unwavering support.

I’ve argued previously that when allegations of a criminal nature are involved, proper legal safeguards must be in employed if we are to have any hope of sorting fact from fiction.

Many people, however, insist that women must be believed. In that case, we’re left with two critical questions:

#1: Which women should be believed?

#2: Why doesn’t every news story tell us about the women who praise Kavanaugh – so that we’re offered an equal chance to believe them?

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This entry was posted on October 3, 2018 by in media and tagged .
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