Since Donald Trump was elected President of the USA in 2016 there has been greater focus in the UK on American politics. Media from both sides of the pond have obsessively reported on anything that has the slightest hint of scandal. The latest scorcher relates to Professor Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the President’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice.

Who is Christine Blasey Ford?

Ms Ford alleges Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party some 37 years ago. Both were student teenagers at the time. Crucially her allegation was made at an important stage of the judge’s career. At a time when Kavanaugh was likely to be confirmed into the Supreme Court a letter written by Ms Ford came into the possession of Senator Dianne Feinstein who passed it on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is the job of Sen. Feinstein to make decisions regarding recommendations of Supreme Court nominees for the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote upon.

Both Christine Blasey Ford and Diane Feinstein are Democrats.

Despite being concerned about possible retaliation Ms Ford considered that drawing attention to the alleged abuse was her “civic duty”.

The allegation she made about Brett Kavanaugh was that whilst on a bed, he placed his hand over her mouth whilst trying to take her clothes off.  This allegedly took place in a private Maryland home some time in the 80s.  Ms Ford cannot remember exactly where the party was or the date it took place. She said that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge (who was also in the room) were both very drunk.  She also stated that she feared for her life. Ms Ford was able to escape the attack and lock herself in a bathroom she says.

Work

Christine Blasey Ford is a professor of clinical psychology whose work has featured in a number of academic journals.  She has taught in two universities – Stanford and Palo Alto.  Working with the PGSP (Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP) her work focuses on statistics, psychometrics and study methodologies. In addition she has been a consultant to many companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Personal life

At 51 years old, she likes to surf and spends a lot of leisure time with her family engaging in the sport.

Married to Russel Ford, her husband is supportive of her regarding the accusation she has made against Brett Kavanaugh. Mr Ford, in an interview with the Washington Post, said that his wife made reference to the assault whilst the couple were in therapy during 2012. She apparently described the attack in detail and named her alleged abusers. The therapist’s notes were provided to the tabloid but do not refer to the attackers by name – only that they were from “elitist boys’ school”.

According to the Washington Post, Ms Ford is an official member of the Democrats and she has donated funds to the party. She has also made donations to the non-profit organisation Act Blue, which assists progressive, Democrat candidates, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the recent highly publicised matter of illegal immigrant parents being separated from their children Ms Ford joined thousands of physicians by signing a letter to the President protesting against the policy. It appears that she is politically active rather than inactive.

Lie Detector Test

When people were made aware that Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by the President for the Supreme Court, Ms Ford began communication with The Washington Post.

She also sent a letter to her local Congressional representative Anna Eshoo. This letter was then forwarded on to Diane Feinstein

Having employed Washington lawyer, Debra Katz Ms Ford sat a lie detector test.  When taking on cases such as these it is not unusual for lawyers to want their clients to take polygraph tests in order to verify the truth of what they are saying. The result of the test was that Ms Ford was telling the truth.  Later news emerged that she was only asked two questions in relation to a statement that she made.  Speculation arose on social media as to why this was the case and why Brett Kavanaugh’s name was not mentioned in the test.

There is nothing odd about the way the lie detector test was handled.  The polygraph examiner, Jeremiah Hanafin, a former FBI agent explains in the video below. He went over the questions with his client the night before. The following day he had a pre-test interview with Christine Blasey Ford and then asked her two questions regarding the statement she had given her lawyers.

 

Brett Kavanaugh – who is he?

With a blemishless career up until this allegation emerged, Brett Kavanaugh is 53 years old and highly respected in Washington circles.

His nomination for the Supreme Court would see him replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, to whom Kavanaugh was a clerk after he graduated from Yale Law School. Kennedy has retired. A federal appeals judge in his own right for 12 years, Kavanaugh has written innumerable articles, delivered countless speeches and issued around 300 opinions.

Christine Blasey Ford has shone a spotlight on him with her allegations making it less certain that he will attain a place in the Supreme Court. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee gave the FBI one week to conduct further investigations into the accusations.  Kavanaugh denies all allegations made against him.

Work

It was Kavanaugh’s report, co-written with Kenneth Starr (independent counsel) in the 90s, that highlighted the legalities of impeaching Bill Clinton when his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was exposed. The legal arguments were that the then President could be impeached on the basis that he misled the general public and lied to members of his staff.

Kavanaugh has never been asked to rule on any case involving abortion and there has been speculation regarding his opinion on the topic.  Following an appeals court ruling on an illegal immigrant teenager being able to undergo an abortion, Kavanaugh dissented. Other than making reference to the 1973 Roe v Wade case during his confirmation hearing, no one really knows how the judge stands on these matters.

A nomination from President George W Bush got Kavanagh into the Federal Appeals Court. He had previously worked within the Bush administration as a lawyer. It was during this time that he earned the respect of many powerful figures, both legal and political, in Washington. Indeed when President Trump nominated Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. George Bush described the decision as “outstanding”.

Personal life

Married to George Bush’s former PA, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, the couple have 2 daughters.

Judge Kavanaugh was inspired by his mother, Martha, to pursue a legal career. She was a teacher for many years before she obtained her own law degree. Her career led her to become a Maryland judge. Her commitment and respect for the law transferred to Kavanaugh he said.

The judge also has an interest in running and he has finished the Boston Marathon twice. He is involved in races that are run for charity too.

He is an avid volunteer for Catholic charities and goes to church regularly.

Brett Kavanaugh has not been asked to take a lie detector test.  We believe, since Christine Ford has sought to support her allegations with polygraph results that the Judge might benefit from supporting his innocence with the same.  We find it surprising that he has not taken this route.

 Testimony

The testimony from both parties, heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee spans over 9 hours. For those with the stamina it can be seen below:

 

The result of the FBI investigation will be available later this week and we watch with interest.  We invite our readers to comment.

Christine Blasey Ford v Brett Kavanaugh and the Lie Detector Test
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