Feinsteins Home Town California Newspaper says She Did a Disservice to her Judiciary Committee Colleagues

In concealing the accusation she received in July the California Democrat did a disservice and took the worst possible course by waiting San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board width=331Sen. Dianne Feinsteins treatment of a more than 3-decade-old sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was unfair all around. It was unfair to Kavanaugh unfair to his accuser and unfair to Feinsteins colleagues Democrats and Republicans alike on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein a California Democrat took the worst possible course by waiting until almost a week after Kavanaughs confirmation hearing was completed to ominously announce that she had turned over information from an individual" about Kavanaugh to the FBI and adding that she would be honoring the womans strongly requested" confidentiality.

Feinstein has been around Washington long enough to know that her opaque statement guaranteed that the contents of the letter sent by a Stanford law professor on behalf of the accuser would be pursued and publicized in short order. And they were.

The race was on. the New Yorker published the letters details within 48 hours. The New York Times reported that the episode involved possible sexual misconduct." A BuzzFeed reporter tried to speak with the accuser a professor at Palo Alto University as she was leaving class. Another reporter was calling her colleagues.

Knowing that her identity was about to be exposed Christine Blasey Ford decided to take control of her story. Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation" Ford told the Washington Post in a story published online Sunday.

The accusation was that Kavanaugh as a high school student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda Md. held down and attempted to force himself on Ford then a student from a nearby high school at a party at which he had been drinking heavily. I thought he might inadvertently kill me" said Ford now 51. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."

Ford told the Post she managed to escape when Kavanaughs male friend jumped on top of them sending all three tumbling.

Kavanaugh had earlier issued a statement in which he categorically and unequivocally" denied the allegation.

width=312In concealing the accusation she had received in July according to reports Feinstein did a disservice to her Judiciary Committee colleagues who might have wanted to determine if corroborating accounts were available or at least question Kavanaugh about the accusation in a closed session.

Instead Feinsteins colleagues were left in the dark. The letter had been sent to Feinstein through Rep. Anna Eshoos office.

White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec has called the letter an 11th-hour attempt to delay" the confirmation vote.

The relevance of a 53-year-old mans alleged criminal act in high school to his fitness for the judiciary is a fair matter of debate. After all juvenile records are sealed for good reason: Young people who make serious mistakes even violent ones should have a chance at redemption without being tarnished for life. Yet a good case could be made that participation in a sexual assault no matter how long ago is a disqualifier for a seat on the highest court of the land.

The regrettable outcome here is that the Senate Judiciary Committee never had a chance to contemplate those difficult questions or consider the merits of this accusation while they were holding hearings on the nomination.

If Ford is willing to testify under oath Kavanaugh should be required to respond under oath. But the Republicans are showing no inclination to allow such an airing.

As we have said before there are many gaps in the history of Brett Kavanaugh that have persisted because of the ruling Republicans refusal to allow full access to documents from his tenure in the George W. Bush administration. This is one more issue that appears certain to be left unresolved as the Senate Republicans continue their rush toward a confirmation vote Thursday.

This commentary from The San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board was posted September 16 2018.

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