The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Yes, this is a job interview

| Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. During the hearing, both Ford and Kavanaugh provided testimony surrounding the incident, and both were questioned by senators on the committee.

At one point, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham became irate. “I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through … I hope the American people can see through this sham,” the senator belted. He then asked Kavanaugh, “Do you consider this a job interview?” before answering the question for the judge. “This is not a job interview,” he said. “This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this c–––.”

I understand his hyperbole. But Sen. Graham is wrong. This is, quite literally, a job interview. It’s a job interview for a seat on the highest court in the land. I’m not the one hiring, nor is the average American citizen. It’s up to the Senate to decide. But hopefully they see the same disqualifying behavior that I saw. In addition to Dr. Ford’s and the other sexual assault allegations made against Kavanaugh, the judge illustrated behaviors entirely unfitting a Supreme Court justice.

His demeanor during the hearing was uncanny. He was irritable, snarky, he couldn’t control his emotions. He looked as if he did not understand the gravity of the allegations made against him, as if he did not understand why the whole world decided to take this so seriously. During her time, Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked Kavanaugh if he had ever drank so much he could not remember the events of the night. Instead of answering the senator’s question, he snapped back with “You’re asking about blackout. I don’t know, have you?” It showed a remarkable disrespect for the senator and for the process of the hearing. And it served as a microcosm of Kavanaugh’s behavior throughout the hearing.

But more troubling, more disqualifying than Kavanaugh’s demeanor, was his penchant for dishonesty. When Sen. Klobuchar did finally get a “no” in answer to her question, it was almost certainly a lie. Kavanaugh claims to have drank heavily, but never to excess — that he never once ‘blacked out’ and has no gaps in his memory after a night of drinking. This is practically disproven given, well, basic common sense and that several of his Yale classmates, including Lynne Brooks, Ryan Goodman and Elizabeth Swisher all acknowledged Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker who undoubtedly experienced a ‘blackout’ at some point.

Kavanaugh also lied about his ability to legally drink in high school, saying that while in high school an 18-year-old could legally buy beer in Maryland. This is untrue; the legal drinking age in the state was raised to 21 in July of 1982. Not that it matters, because Brett Kavanaugh was 17 when the law changed anyway.

During the hearing, some of Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook entries were called into question. Several of his Georgetown Prep classmates have refuted his definitions of “boof” and “Devil’s Triangle.” Now, perhaps sophomoric yearbook jokes are not relevant indicators of Kavanaugh’s character. But his dishonesty about them certainly is.

When his testimony turned to his time at Yale, Kavanaugh again lied. “I have no connections there,” he said. “I got there by busting my tail.” I doubt that Kavanaugh is smart. I don’t doubt he worked incredibly hard to get into Yale. But he does have a connection there. His grandfather graduated from the school in 1928. Like many colleges, Yale gives strong admissions preference to legacy students. I cannot understand why Kavanaugh would lie about something so easy to uncover. It’s concerning, really, that he believed he could get away with it. To be so willfully dishonest about something so easy to look up insults the intelligence of the American people. To have such blatant disregard for the truth calls into question his judgement.

This is a job interview. It is a test of the judge’s fitness for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, for one of the most prestigious and important positions in America. The person who fills this position will be charged with the grave responsibility of laying down laws for generations to come. This is a job interview. And Kavanaugh has proven himself unqualified for the job.

Patrick McKelvey splits his time between being a college junior and a grumpy old man. A New Jersey native and American studies major, he plans on pursuing a legal career after graduating Notre Dame. If you can’t find him at the movies, he can be reached for comment at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , ,

About Patrick McKelvey

Contact Patrick