It doesn't matter whether Brett Kavanaugh is 'guilty' of sexual assault.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

For the past week, Americans have argued about whether or not Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual assault. But at this point, it doesn’t really matter.

Of course, his guilt or innocence matters in some contexts. It matters to him and his loved ones. It matters to Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford and her loved ones. It matters to the sexual assault victims who see themselves in Ford’s testimony. It matters to our public discourse surrounding sexual violence.

But as far as whether or not Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice—which is why we’re all here to begin with—it doesn’t matter. At this point, even if the various sexual assault allegations against him were 100% false, even if it’s all a “sham” as Lindsey Graham claims, even if this is one great big partisan hit job to make him appear unfit, none of it would matter.


The Senate screens a candidate for SCOTUS so that they can “advise and consent” on the nominee. In doing so, they’re examining not only his education and judicial record, but also whether or not he has what it takes to serve a lifetime appointment in the highest judicial office in the land.

Naturally, putting an attempted rapist on the bench would not be an ideal choice, but we don’t have definitive proof of that. What we do have now is undeniable proof that he is not fit for the job.  

Brett Kavanaugh disqualified himself in the Senate hearing with behavior unbefitting a Supreme Court Justice.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that he is completely innocent of all allegations. How he responds to such allegations is still important. How he behaves when questioned, how he expresses himself, how he comports himself under pressure—these are all aspects of “judicial temperament” that the Senate needs to take into consideration.

The concept of judicial temperament is somewhat elusive. While there is no definitive description of what it looks like, we tend to know it when we see it—and more importantly, we know it when we don’t.

The American Bar Association simplifies what makes a good judge in its online curriculum for educators with a list of character qualities which we might consider when defining "judicial temperament":

Civil

Humble

Courteous

Patient

Empathetic

Trustworthy

Honest

Skeptical yet trusting

Open-minded

Fair

A good listener

Someone who asks questions

Unbiased

Perceptive

Helpful

Realistic

Self-confident

Efficient

Firm and in control

Effective

Diligent

Reputable

Responsive

Deliberative

Diversity conscious

Recognized member of community

Good role model

If those are the qualities we should expect from any judge, a nominee for the Supreme Court should exemplify them to the highest degree. Did Judge Kavanaugh exemplify each of these qualities to the highest degree in that Senate hearing, while under oath, in front of the entire nation?

On several counts, no, he did not.

His partisan jabs show that he is not “unbiased,” and his demonstrable lies knock out “honest.”

A judge who is supposed to be impartial and unbiased doesn’t say things like, “This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons. and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” I mean, really.

A judge who is supposed to be honest doesn’t say that “boofed” and “Devil’s Triangle” are innocent drinking terms when everyone who is familiar with those terms know that they are salacious euphemisms for specific sex acts. A judge who is honest doesn’t try to make obvious youthful transgressions, no matter how embarrassing, into something they are not.

An honest person, when confronted with undignified things they were obviously party to in the past, says, “I did some things in my past that I am not proud of. The culture in which I spent my youth had many toxic and unhealthy elements to it, and I did and said things I regret and am embarrassed by. I have learned a lot and changed a lot since then.” They don’t keep saying all they did was go to church, play sports, drink responsibly, and not have sex.

Even if he were innocent of all sexual assault allegations, it’s obvious that he was immersed in a heavy partying culture in high school and college that all of us recognize. Why not just own up to that? Sometimes telling the truth is hard, but if you’re trying to be a Supreme Court Justice, there’s no room for any dishonesty of any kind, especially under oath.

Perhaps most disturbing was his barely contained rage and his disrespectful interchanges with Senators. What I saw was not “civil,” “courteous,” and “firm and in control.”

I went into the hearing with an open mind, and was honestly shocked by Kavanaugh’s behavior. I’ve never seen anything like that from someone who is supposed to be a highly respected professional. When Senator Klobuchar asked him if he’d ever drunk so much that he didn’t remember something, his response was "You're asking about blackout. I don't know, have you?" Who says that? Then after she calmly asked him to answer the question, he doubled down about her drinking again.

I'm pretty sure this isn't what the ABA means by "Someone who asks questions." Why would you not simply answer the question?

Sen. Klobuchar and Kavanaugh share tense exchange over judge's drinking habits

Sen. Klobuchar: There’s never been a case where you drank so much that you didn’t remember what happened the night before?Judge Kavanaugh: “I don't know. Have you?”…Klobuchar: “I have no drinking problem, Judge.”Kavanaugh: “Nor do I.” https://nbcnews.to/2N6dSVZ

Posted by NBC News on Thursday, September 27, 2018

To his credit, he apologized to the Senator afterward. However, the fact that it happened in the first place is unacceptable. So was his yelling throughout the hearing.

People keep saying that he has a right to be upset and that anyone would respond with that level of anger at being falsely accused. But he’s not just anyone—he’s the nominee for the highest judicial position in the land.

It's not like this accusation had just happened that morning and he was having a knee-jerk reaction. He had at least ten days to gather his emotions and composure before appearing before the Senate. I don’t fault him for arriving at the hearing ready to defend himself; however, I do fault him for being unable to do so with the decorum that we should expect from a Supreme Court Justice.

Whether he sexually assaulted anyone is not the most relevant question, especially since it’s unlikely to be definitively proven one way or another. The question is whether he has what it takes to do the job he’s lined up for.

As a Supreme Court Justice, he will be subjected to unending hate mail, his character and beliefs will be constantly attacked, and his motivations for his judgments will be called into question every single time. He has to be able to handle those attacks with self-control, civility, and impartiality. That’s the job.

And he has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he’s not up for it.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

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