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Discussing the Kavanaugh Crisis With My 12 Year Old

Discussing the Kavanaugh Crisis With My 12 Year Old
Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 27, 2018. (Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 October 2018 02:37 PM EDT

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a major topic of discussion in our household.

In the interest of full disclosure, Southeastern Legal Foundation, our constitutional public interest law firm, has appeared before Judge Kavanaugh in a handful of cases. He is approximately my age, and like him, my wife and I have two daughters. I coach my twelve year-old daughter’s basketball team, and have done so for several years. Like Kavanaugh, I love the experience and support the girls as they develop teamwork and confidence.

Likewise, my twelve year-old daughter has a keen interest in Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process. Always a keen observer of human behavior and politics — even at her tender age — she connects with his story because she knows he has a family, with daughters, and understands that controversy often follows the clash of ideas through America’s constitutional process. In short, she gets the lay of the land, understands the differences between liberals and conservatives, and has a confident and developing sense of justice.

Over the past two weeks, as the Kavanaugh confirmation process has developed into a constitutional crisis, the discussions with my daughter have turned from information-gathering into specific and heartfelt inquiry about the who, what, and, most importantly, why this is happening. Needless to say, like Ashley and Brett Kavanaugh have done, my wife and I are filtering some of the more salacious and extreme details of the accusations, but we’re careful to leave the story intact and to let our daughter watch both Dr. Ford’s testimony and Judge Kavanaugh’s follow-up testimony.

Following are summarized exchanges my daughter and I have had over the past several days, which I share in the hopes of connecting with Americans whom I know share the same thought process and enlightening those who are searching for answers in the same way. These are her questions, unfiltered, and our discussion which followed:

Has this ever happened before for a person going to the Supreme Court?

Yes, this process is part of what the Constitution gives to the Senate to do — review, advise, and consent on a judge nominee a president names. It’s not just about what kind of decisions the Judge would make if he or she would get onto the Supreme Court. Many times, Senators will get into all kinds of details, and sometimes those details are kind of ugly when they are said in public. That’s one of the reasons the FBI does a background investigation on the Judge nominee, and then the Senate also does a background check on the nominee, too. Even then, when the background checks don’t show the kind of stuff that some Senators bring up, those Senators who don’t support the president will still talk about the bad stuff to try to make the Judge nominee look bad and not get enough votes to go the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has had six background checks, and now he is having another.

Does the Judge have a bad reputation?

No. The Judge has had a good reputation with many people from his past saying what a good man he has been. All the professional people who look at his record as a Judge say that he is well-qualified to be on the Supreme Court. The stuff that is being said now is new. Some people may have real concerns, and some people may be trying to make him look bad because of politics. Like with your friends, you have to judge whether they are truthful or not, and the Judge has not been found guilty of any crime.

Why did the woman in the glasses wait until now to tell her story?

Dr. Blasey Ford said she tried to tell her story many months ago, but did not know who to tell it to. As you saw, she said her story has made her very upset over many years and she was very concerned about it becoming public. She’s a teacher at a college.

Did the Democrats hide her letter?

Dr. Blasey Ford told the Senators that she tried to tell her story many months ago, but couldn’t figure out how to talk to the right people. She says she was very afraid about the story becoming public. She told a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and then she told a U.S. Senator who is on the Committee, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Dr. Ford wrote a letter telling her story. They promised to keep her story from being public. Sen. Feinstein did not ask the Judge about Dr. Ford’s story when she had the chance to talk to him in private, and she did not tell the Committee and the FBI before they interviewed the Judge. Now Dr. Ford’s story is very public, and she is very nervous about what people will say about her. Some people believe that Sen. Feinstein kept the letter secret until after the Committee talked to the Judge and right before the Senate was going to vote on him.

Are people going to be found guilty now even when they don’t go to court?

Great question — and we sure hope not! We want to protect the Constitution, which says that we are all innocent until we are proven guilty through a court of law, and that is called due process. Do the Senators accusing the Judge of things now want to have people start saying bad things about them? Good question, and the answer is, they don’t.

What shines through in the back and forth with my twelve year-old is the question of fairness. Relating the experience of “the Judge” to her own, she identifies times when she or others she knows were wrongly accused, when “somebody just makes up something to get someone else in trouble.”

My daughter’s final observation over the weekend — “I agree that we should pray for the woman and for the Judge.” And we are.

Todd Young serves as Executive Director for Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), an Atlanta-based national constitutional public interest law firm founded in 1976. In his role at SLF, he has worked closely in an advisory capacity with former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former Independent Counsel Judge Kenneth Starr, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and various members of Congress and state governors and attorneys general. To read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a major topic of discussion in our household.
kavanaugh, supreme court, senate
Tuesday, 02 October 2018 02:37 PM
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