Sunday, September 30, 2018

Elizabeth Price Foley: "There Is No Rational Evidence That Judge Kavanaugh Sexually Assaulted Anyone"

In the Politico Insta-Symposium on the hearings.
   In civilized societies that embrace due process of law, rational decision-making—including credibility assessment—can only be achieved by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means that, for a rational determination to be reached, the decision-maker(s) must find that, under the totality of the circumstances, it is “more likely than not” that the allegation is true.
   Credibility is not assessed on the basis of gender, the nature of an allegation, or one’s political affiliation. Any rational credibility determination requires unbiased consideration of the totality of the circumstances.
   Applying the preponderance standard to the allegations levied against Kavanaugh, is it more likely than not that he sexually assaulted Ford? No rational decision-maker could so find, for numerous reasons.
   First, Ford’s allegations are vague in numerous material details, including time, place and number of individuals present at the alleged event. Second, all individuals Ford claims were present at the event have denied, under penalty of perjury, that it ever took place, including one of Ford’s best girlfriends, Leland Ingram Keyser. Third, Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied ever attending any such event, or ever assaulting Ford at any time. Thus, all alleged participants at the event, except for Ford, agree that the event—much less the sexual assault—never even happened. Fourth, hundreds of character witnesses—many of them women—have provided statements regarding Kavanaugh’s exemplary character since childhood, including his respect for, and long-time mentorship of, women.
   Recognizing the inherent weakness of an allegation that lacks any corroboration—and indeed is unanimously refuted—the Democrats shifted their attention to establishing a pattern of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick then suddenly came forward with claims. But Ramirez herself once admitted to being unsure if the individual who groped her at an alcohol-infused Yale undergraduate party was Kavanaugh, and the New York Times could not find a single corroborating witness despite contacting several dozen party attendees. Julie Swetnick claimed that, as a college student, she attended high school parties in which Kavanaugh witnessed (but she does not say participated in) gang rape. Swetnick’s claims, brought forth by the hyperpartisan Democratic lawyer Michael Avenatti, remain utterly uncorroborated and are so sensational as to be inherently incredible when weighed against the totality of the evidence.
   At today’s Senate Judiciary hearing, the Democrats shifted their attention once more, to drinking alcohol. Their chief argument seems to be that Kavanaugh’s youthful consumption of beer should create a reasonable inference that Kavanaugh committed sexual assault...
Read the whole thing. The pro-Ford arguments in the symposium are generally built on subjective impressions. One is of the form "men aren't going to get away with this stuff anymore," and one is built largely on the claim that Ford has no motive to lie...which is an argument that I don't think matters that much in cases like this. The main concern is not that she's out to get Kavanaugh, or envisions some, say, financial gain. It's, rather, that her accusation is a result of certain currents in the cultural zeitgeist + something like iatrogenic false memories produced in therapy + 35 years for all this sort of thing to work on her.
   I'm astonished that so many people "found her credible" I found her just the opposite...but I don't think that should matter much. Anyone's subjective hunches, that is. We're simply not good lie-detectors. I'm appalled that so many people seem oblivious to that fact. So far as the objective evidence goes: I agree (today) with Elizabeth Price Foley: there basically isn't any.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virtually every one of the participants in that pseudo-symposium were law professors. That only one of them actually attempted to weigh the evidence, the law prof from FIU no less, while the representatives from Yale, NYU, Stanford, etc fell back on subjective bs, which plainly is inflected with partisan bias, is astonishing, and completely representative of the rot among the credentialed class right now.

I mean, this came out of a Stanford law professors mouth:

In the end, it was the laughter Ford remembered. Being humiliated, her pain and terror as sport for these two prep school bullies. And a million hearts broke simultaneously. A million tears slid down a million cheeks and we knew, just like we knew about Brock Turner. She could have saved the cost of the lie detector. That was quickly confirmed by Kavanaugh himself who dropped his carefully scripted persona as a hail-fellow-well-met and become the belligerent Mr. Hyde described by his freshman roommate at Yale. No imagination required.

This isn’t 1991, and the Republican high-tech slut shaming isn’t going to work this time. This time we are ready for it and we are going to hold any Republican who votes to confirm this monumentally unfit nominee accountable at the polls.

Are you kidding me? This is the sort of person who makes up the top of our legal establishment? The sheer stupidity of it is mind boggling.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, well-put Anon. I was disgusted, but not as repulsed as I ought to have been. You put your finger on it.

My cognitive pendulum may swing back by tomorrow...but for about the last 3 or 4 hours, there's been no doubt in my mind that Ford is (consciously or unconsciously) making it up.

7:22 PM  

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