The woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of drunkenly trying to force himself on her when both were high school students, Christine Blasey Ford, must sit at the Senate Judiciary Committee witness table, as she says she is willing to do, and answer tough questions about the very serious accusations she has hurled at the man who would be a Supreme Court justice.
She says he and a friend, both “stumbling drunk,” got her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers.
Ford claims Kavanaugh then pinned her to a bed on her back, groped her over her clothes and ground his body against hers, while trying to pull off her bathing suit and the clothes she wore over it.
She says when she tried to scream, he covered her mouth with his hand.
Even if the memory of Ford, now a clinical psychology professor in California, is perfect, we do not here suggest that Kavanaugh, the 53-year-old judge and married father of two, is the same person as that inebriated teenage boy. None of us are defined by the worst things we did as young women or men; that’s part of the reason New York and other states have raised the age of criminal responsibility.
But as described, this purposeful and aggressive act rises above a mere indiscretion or singular bout of bad judgment. And if Ford’s recollection is correct, that means Kavanaugh today would be lying, by “categorically and unequivocally” denying it.
The Senate must make a good-faith effort to determine what the truth is. Ford must appear in person (not via telephone conference call) and Kavanaugh return to the panel to respond.
Ford must tell her story, detail by detail, to establish her credibility and get at the possibility that, through the haze of time, she might be misremembering parts of the incident, or be mistaking one young man for another.
She must be asked, and convincingly answer, why she took so long to come forward.
And he must answer.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, got it right: Ford “should not be insulted, and she should not be ignored.” She should be questioned, forthwith, under oath.