Judging Brett Kavanaugh

By Pearl Benjamin | Oct 04, 2018

As the FBI looks into questions of whether sexual assault allegations against a nominee to the Supreme Court are supported by evidence, the rest of us are left with equally serious questions about who deserves to be heard, believed, and promoted. These are questions teenagers face every day, as we struggle for validation and trust. While the decades-old actions of a man might be a stretch for older people to relate to, we judge them as those of a peer. Frankly, we are not impressed.

The question that the Kavanaugh hearings was designed to answer was “Did Brett Kavanaugh sexually assault Christine Blasey Ford?” After watching both Dr. Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings, I found the answer fairly obvious. Dr. Ford was direct, credible, and incredibly brave. She was honest about the gaps in her memory, and confident in her certainty about the moments she can’t forget. She answered every question directly, even when her answers put her in an unfavorable light. Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony could not have been more different. He was belligerent, incoherent, and elitist. He rarely answered questions directly, politicized the victim’s story, disrespected members of the committee and even blatantly lied. If you’re still pondering Kavanaugh’s integrity, I’d urge you to look up the terms “Devil’s Triangle,” “boofed,” and “7 F’s” in the urban dictionary. I can assure you that those terms, written by Judge Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook, don’t refer to a drinking game, flatulence, and a “wind up” to the f-word.

While we all look forward to learning more from the FBI investigation, it seems that Kavanaugh’s guilt  is sensed by many, including his own supporters, who show how little they trust him by angrily opposing an FBI investigation and objecting to forcing the one eyewitness of the assault to testify. This case has become so difficult and so hate-fueled because even if he is shown to be guilty, it is the underlying question that dictates the outcome. That underlying question is “Should a powerful man with a distinguished resume be disqualified from a life-changing opportunity because of something he did in high school?” Through my own experience and simple common sense, I can quite confidently tell you that the answer to that question is yes.

It’s important to recognize that even if Judge Kavanaugh is innocent of the charge of sexually assaulting Dr. Ford and others, he still is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Just a few days ago we watched the man lie under oath about his yearbook, misrepresent others’ sworn statements for his own advantage, and give sloppy, half-truth answers about every other tricky question that revealed flaws in his character. People who lie about small things also lie about big things. Lying under oath is a serious offense that could bar Kavanaugh, not only from the spot on the Supreme Court, but also from being a judge or lawyer anywhere. Beyond the technicalities, I’d also rather an aggressive, blundering, prep school frat boy not be interpreting my laws.

During the hearing this past week, Judge Kavanaugh was asked a series of questions about high school partying and alcohol consumption to which he responded: “I went to Yale.” I think Judge Kavanaugh’s aim in repeatedly mentioning this was to prove his intelligence, which doesn’t actually have anything to do with his integrity or morality at all. What it does do is prove that privileged white boys who go to fancy colleges believe that they are above accusations of sexual assault. This, and the fact that many of Kavanaugh’s supporters believe that a crime committed at a different time in his life shouldn’t affect his qualifications, sends a terrible message to teenage boys. It tells them that their wrongdoings in high school don’t matter in the long run, as long as they’re wealthy and white. It’s alright if you get dangerously drunk and commit a little sexual assault every once in a while- it’s high school, you’re young and dumb! You’ll still get opportunities for success, like maybe even becoming a Supreme Court Judge!

But hey, maybe Judge Kavanaugh’s supporters are right. Maybe the brains of teenagers simply aren’t developed enough for their actions to determine their future character. Maybe people do change. If that’s the case, Brett Kavanaugh certainly hasn’t. The snobbishness, hostility, and incomprehensible arguments displayed during his hearing place him at the maturity level of a middle schooler. I know plenty of high school boys with more respect and professionalism than he has shown throughout this process.

I’m not one to make assumptions about people based on their race and class, especially teenagers. I by no means believe that all or even most white high school boys are elitist and aggressive, but I do know they exist, and I know they are dangerous. They are influenced by the misogynistic culture that resides in our politics today, and if Judge Kavanaugh makes it onto the Supreme Court, I fear the worst. I fear that girls like me will be even more reluctant to turn in our abusers or harassers for fear of being dismissed, shunned, politicized, and bullied. I fear that boys with a tendency to harass or abuse will learn that there are few consequences for their actions. Most of all, I fear that America as a whole will lose track of the importance of believing in survivors and searching to find the cold, hard truth.

I hope that the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation will prevent an aristocratic liar from gaining a seat on America’s highest court. I hope that Christine Blasey Ford is able to finally come to peace with the anxiety Brett Kavanaugh inflicted over so many years. In the meantime, however, it’s time to look honestly at Brett Kavanaugh’s true character, which includes the character he was back in high school. So yes, Brett, we will be looking through your yearbook for this one. I think we all know now that there’s more in there than a smiling portrait of you in a suit and tie.

Pearl Benjamin is an 11th-grade student at the Watershed School.


Comments (6)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Oct 05, 2018 17:02

Comparing your op-ed to Senator Collins speech today affirming her support of kavanaugh, my vote is with you, Ms. Benjamin. Hope after college and grad school, you'll run for office. Bravo

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Oct 04, 2018 16:36

You are the future of our country. We will be in good hands. Another gutsy, informative article. Get the vote out!


Posted by: Steven Cornforth | Oct 04, 2018 14:50

Pearl - you nailed it. I emailed Susan Collins' office and suggested she read your piece before voting. Thank you.

Posted by: ROBERT W. KNAPP | Oct 04, 2018 14:02

So young and already indoctrinated by leftst talking points. Perhaps as you mature in several more years, you will see the error of your ways and truth will shine on you. Judge Kavanaugh will become know as the finest jurist to ever sit on the Supreme Court of these United States.

Posted by: Jeri Holm | Oct 04, 2018 13:25

Well said Pearl, thank you.

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Oct 04, 2018 09:37

well said.........

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