Brett Kavanaugh, the appellate court judge who is now President Donald Trump's nominee for a vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court, is going to face the hearing of his life on Monday, when he must confront allegations that he attempted to rape one of his teenage peers when he was a high school student in the 1980s.
A hearing has been set for Monday in which Kavanaugh and his accuser, California research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, will discuss the alleged incident, according to The New York Times. The purpose of this hearing for Republicans will be to see if it is still possible to confirm Kavanaugh to the court before the current session of Congress lets out, which would risk putting Democrats in charge of that chamber by the time it reconvenes.
At the same time, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — made a concession to critics by canceling the committee vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation that had been scheduled for this Thursday. It is likely that the pressure placed on him by many of his fellow Republicans, including Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, played a role in his decision to confront Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh.
Trump defended his Supreme Court pick on Monday. "He is somebody very special. At the same time, we want to go through a process. We want to make sure everything is perfect, everything is just right," Trump told reporters at the White House. "If it takes a little delay, it will take a little delay. It shouldn’t certainly be very much."
Ford alleges that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her during a social gathering when they were both teenagers. Kavanaugh has emphatically denied the accusations, and many of his defenders are arguing that the timing of Ford's claim indicates that it was released for political reasons.
According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), she received Ford's letter in July and kept it confidential because Ford had specifically requested to remain anonymous. The California senator did not send the letter to the FBI until last week, when a news report in The Intercept revealed its existence, and Ford herself did not come forward as the accuser until a report on her allegations was published in The Washington Post.
Although Republicans in the Senate made the decision to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation as a result of Ford's coming forward, many conservative outlets are still defending him. Fox News, for instance, recently republished an editorial in The Wall Street Journal that argued against allowing Ford's accusation to derail Kavanaugh's confirmation.
The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage. Experts know that human beings can come to believe firmly over the years that something happened when it never did or is based on partial truth. Mistaken identity is also possible.