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Memo to Kavanaugh’s Defenders: Passage of Time Doesn’t Erase Youthful Mistakes in the Criminal Justice System, Especially for People of Color

Memo to Kavanaugh’s Defenders: Passage of Time Doesn’t Erase Youthful Mistakes in the Criminal Justice System, Especially for People of Color

Eileen M. Ahlin

The accusation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, made by California professor Christine Blasey Ford, has been met with a variety of responses.

Among those responses has been the idea that what happens when someone is young should not be held against them, especially if they’ve led a commendable life ever since.

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" what happens when someone is young should not be held against them"

Even if this were true, it wouldn’t be a valid excuse, because it was only last week that he lied about it.


Hi nephews Good answer! Of course, poor people and people of color and the xx chromosome people are treated differently-----and so are poor white people.
For example, didn’t the Watergate people go to special prisons , nice ones not the ones that the general non rich and non powerful get.

Remember that kid from Texas who was drunk and killed 4 people in his car crash and the judge didn’t send hm to prison because the argument was that rich pope are different----- I think they say he was suffering from afluenza— ( too much money) ---------I think karma did catch up with him though,

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I don’t like Kavanaugh. If I was in the Senate I’d vote against him or do anything possible to keep him off the court.

I find Professor Ford very credible.

(It’s sad I have to make those two statements before I can say what I think about this article or I’d be accused of supporting Kavanuagh.)

I haven’t heard even ONCE any Kavanuagh supporters state that because he was young it doesn’t matter. I’ve heard many times those who oppose him saying that they’re saying that and then getting upset over it. But like I said, I haven’t heard them say this.

That makes this all straw man.

Do you even realize what it is the supporters in the conservative base actually are saying? They are saying Ford is lying and this is a political operation sole for the purpose of keeping a good man off the court. They are convinced Ford is not credible. They are convinced this is a set up.

But I don’t see the opponents of Kavanaugh and supporters of Ford addressing that.

So we have two sides arguing past each other.

I’d like to see someone informed respond to the right’s points they claim make her not credible:

  1. They are claiming she can’t remember when or where this happened.
  2. They are claiming all the witnesses she identified as being there have all denied they were there.
  3. Including her best friend.

But all I see from those against Kavanaugh is to go on and on about how his being a teenager doesn’t excuse him. Why? Why avoid the arguments the right is making?

I try to find evidence to support my sense that she is credible and instead I find stuff like this article.

If “youthful mistakes” were the only black marks on Kavanaugh’s legacy I doubt that Trump would have nominated him and I doubt that progressives would make an issue out of this.

Kavanaugh’s legacy includes strong evidence that he will make Trump and future POTUS’ immune from prosecution for all crimes, he will bounce environmental and worker safety regulations back to the 19th century, while making birth control and abortion illegal. And those are just the issues for which ample evidence exists.


I don’t understand why anyone would believe that Ford is telling the truth and I don’t understand why anyone would believe Ford is lying. We don’t know these people personally. We have no evidence that the alleged incident occurred and we have no evidence that it did not occur. Personally, I have no idea if Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent. What am I missing?

This is not the first case that comes down to witness credibility, there is no hard evidence, so these cases are decided on who is more credible. Kavanaugh is a proven liar, Ford is not, I go with truth until proven otherwise.

Sigh… Lib, if you’re a licensed mental health counselor, then you should know that it is not at all unusual for a victim of sexual assault (or any trauma) to be unable to recall every moment of the event, its aftermath, and/or its environment. You should know that even total repression of the event can occur, but the victim is left with symptoms, fleeting thoughts she can’t quite pinpoint, abreactions because of muscle memory, nightmares she can’t understand, etc.

You should know that Ford could very well remember the attack happening, her struggle to breathe and scream, her attacker, some of the environment, but after so many years, it’s perfectly normal for her to have forgotten whose house she was at and the exact date and time. We see situations like this all the time, young and old, sober or inebriated, whatever.

As a counselor, you should also know how frightening, humiliating, risky, actually threatening it is for a woman…or girl…to come out and publicly lay out such accusations, especially against a celebrity or powerful man. Just that level of fear or nervousness alone is enough to block out some memory details.

Your reading should have shown you some of the consequences Ford has already suffered, like death threats, enough fear for her family to force them to move out of their home, ridicule and contempt by many, including the insufferable good OLD boys in the Senate. Your logic should tell you and the others that she MUST have come forward and risked/suffered so much for reasons far more credible than simply wanting to smear Kavanaugh to keep him off the Court or to frustrate thugs like McConnell and Cornyn. You might have seen in some media how she fretted about disclosing, sought advice from friends and therapist, questioned her own self in many ways…and now has to deal with the reality of being condescended to or actually bullied by these old men…with fickle reporters and photographers everywhere. What woman goes thru all of this for less than serious principles?

I’ve read and seen clips by some of her friends and family who ARE supporting her. Those old men are lying in their accusations and innuendos…to discredit her and finish driving their railroad job on through. I’ve also seen those f’n Repugs and some pundits imply, if not say outright, that Kavanaugh’s possible youthful misdeeds should not keep such a now-sterling person off the Court.

If any friends are not publicly taking her side, as a counselor, you should understand how fearful so many people are in this time of unpredictability and fascism to stick their necks out.

IMO, being a teenager at the time doesn’t excuse him because he’s denying it, because he never apologized, and most of all, because the neuronal pathways (programming) laid down in his youth that let him get so drunk so often, let him use such poor judgment, let him so devalue a girl (misogyny), let him show such arrogance, aggression, sense of entitlement, need for peer approval, and ability to rationalize and lie about his behavior don’t just evaporate in adulthood. Early neuronal pathways manifest later in life in myriad ways, witness his hedging and subterfuge in the JC hearings and his outright perjury from previous hearings and his blithe dismissiveness about “what goes on in Gt stays in Gt.”

I don’t know how to post a link on my device, but if you haven’t seen the Rewire article by Jodi Jacobson, look it up.

Repugs I have seen cast aspersions on Ford: Cornyn, Hatch, Graham, and outre vile McConnell and others.

I hope this too-long posting satisfactorily addresses some of your concerns.

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He is another person of the “upper crust” who probably believes this was all in good fun. A young person who acts like that only gets worse when he gets older.

Well, at the end you did. Before that you responded to me as if I was presenting those arguments when what I was asking for was articles like what you referred to at the end.

So I went and read everything Jacobson has written about this there.

Very disappointing.

All of them address some good points about the process and the despicable behavior of the GOP senators. But none of them even seem aware of these allegations made by my FB friends and this Brandon fellow on YouTube, much less refuting them with evidence that they are lies (she does know where and when this happened; her friends are not denying they knew anything about this) or the type of argument made by Toni that these claims might be true but they don’t lessen her credibility.

MM, thanks for the effort you exerted. I appreciate that integrity.
I need help understanding this last post because I got lost in the pronouns. Can you clarify your points for me? Thanks in advance.

Did you mean to write this in response to me?

I finally read an article that addressed the actual arguments that conservatives are making!



Christine Blasey was 15 years old when this happened. Her female friend was most likely 15 as well.

So, I am trying to remember when I was 15 if I could remember a specific address and how I got to a specific house for a party, and without doing some research, forget it, I couldn’t produce those things off the cuff.

As far as all of the witnesses in the house losing their memory of that party, well, two things come to mind.

  1. The party most likely wasn’t an eventful memory for those who may have just talked and maybe drank beer. They may have moved to another room possibly downstairs. The only thing they might have thought weird was when Christine came downstairs and immediately left through the front door without saying anything.

  2. These grown people now may be terrified to say anything against Kavanaugh because he’s a rich powerful person and they would be afraid of the sort of retaliation the rich use to punish those that get in their way.

Trust your instincts about her credibility.

I am.

I’ve personally known several women who were raped or sexually assaulted. I was amazed that they trusted me enough to share their horror with me. I never questioned their credibility before, or after their assaults.

The fact that Kavanaugh was a teen or in college doesn’t matter a bit.

A pattern of behavior is what does matter.