In the latest controversy to envelop the Supreme Court nominee, criminals across the United States are demanding that their cases receive the kind of F.B.I. investigation that Brett Kavanaugh just got.
From coast to coast, perpetrators of crimes ranging from arson to bank robbery are arguing that, if the F.B.I. investigates them at all, such investigations should be extremely limited in scope.
Harland Dorrinson, a criminal lawyer in Cleveland, said that his clients have followed the Kavanaugh probe “with great interest” and see it as “tailor-made” for the crimes for which they stand accused.
“My clients are asking that the F.B.I. investigate them for no more than five days and only talk to the witnesses I designate,” Dorrinson said. “We think this could be a huge time saver for everybody.”
One of his clients, Denton Faldo, currently faces twenty criminal counts of cooking and selling meth, but wants the F.B.I. to investigate only an unrelated speeding violation.
“It’s important that the F.B.I. wrap up this investigation by Friday and release me from jail in time for the weekend,” Faldo said. “A man’s life is in tatters.”
.. The Republicans, if they stick together, have the necessary votes. A veneer of civility made it seem as if the senators were questioning Ford and Kavanaugh to get to the truth
.. But that’s not what the hearing was designed to explore
.. it should be as plain as day that what we witnessed was the patriarchy testing how far its politics of resentment can go. And there is no limit.
.. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” Ford had told the Washington Post when she first went public
.. With the word “annihilation” she conjured the spectre of Anita Hill
.. Ford’s experience—shaped by the optics of the #MeToo moment, by her whiteness and country-club roots—was different. The Republicans on the committee, likely coached by some consultant, did not overtly smear Ford.
Some pretended, condescendingly, to extend her empathy. Senator Orrin Hatch, who once claimed that Hill had lifted parts of her harassment allegations against Thomas from “The Exorcist,” called Ford “pleasing,” an “attractive” witness.
.. Instead of questioning her directly, the Republicans hired Rachel Mitchell,
Mitchell’s fitful, sometimes aimless questioning did the ugly work of softening the Republican assault on Ford’s testimony. Ford, in any case, was phenomenal, a “witness and expert” in one, and it seemed, for a moment following her testimony, that the nation might be unable to deny her credibility.
.. Then Kavanaugh came in, like an eclipse. He made a show of being unprepared. Echoing Clarence Thomas, he claimed that he did not watch his accuser’s hearing. (Earlier, it was reported that he did.) “I wrote this last night,” he said, of his opening statement. “No one has seen this draft.”
.. Alternating between weeping and yelling, he exemplified the conservative’s embrace of bluster and petulance as rhetorical tools.
.. spinning unbelievably chaste interpretations of what was, by all other accounts, his youthful habit of blatant debauchery
.. he was as Trumpian as Trump himself, louder than the loudest on Fox News. He evaded questions; he said that the allegations brought against him were “revenge” on behalf of the Clintons; he said, menacingly, that “what goes around comes around.” When Senator Amy Klobuchar calmly asked if he had ever gotten blackout drunk, he retorted, “Have you?” (He later apologized to her.)
.. There was, in this performance, not even a hint of the sagacity one expects from a potential Supreme Court Justice.
.. More than presenting a convincing rebuttal to Ford’s extremely credible account, Kavanaugh—and Hatch, and Lindsey Graham—seemed to be exterminating, live, for an American audience, the faint notion that a massively successful white man could have his birthright questioned or his character held to the most basic type of scrutiny.
In the course of Kavanaugh’s hearing, Mitchell basically disappeared. Republican senators apologized to the judge, incessantly, for what he had suffered. There was talk of his reputation being torpedoed and his life being destroyed. This is the nature of the conspiracy against white male power—the forces threatening it will always somehow be thwarted at the last minute.
.. The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing will be remembered for their entrenchment of the worst impulses from that earlier ordeal. What took place on Thursday confirms that male indignation will be coddled, and the gospel of male success elevated. It confirms that there is no fair arena for women’s speech. Mechanisms of accountability will be made irrelevant.