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.

More

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

truth
True