Chuck Grassley is Bullying Christine Blasey Ford

It’s instructive to see how different people are responding to the allegation of attempted rape that has been leveled against Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Nancy noted that the spectacle was providing a reminder to women that Republicans do not have a high opinion of them. Today, Anita Hill reminds us in an opinion piece in the New York Times to call the accuser by her name:

Finally, refer to Christine Blasey Ford by her name. She was once anonymous, but no longer is. Dr. Blasey is not simply “Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser.” Dr. Blasey is a human being with a life of her own. She deserves the respect of being addressed and treated as a whole person.

What Christine Blasey Ford is now being asked to do is to discuss an experience she had with Brett Kavanaugh that she found humiliating, terrifying, and traumatic. She is being asked to discuss this in a Senate hearing with hostile and skeptical questioners while a global audience serves as the judge. It’s fair to say that discussing an attempted rape on those terms is guaranteed to elicit all those strong, negative emotions again. But sensitivity isn’t Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s strong suit. So, what he’s doing now is engaging in bullying someone who says she has been a victim of sexual assault:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) said that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has agreed to participate in Monday’s committee hearing but that his staff has not heard from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused the judge of sexual assault while they were in high school, the Washington Post reports.

Said Grassley: “It kind of raises the question do they want to come to the public hearing or not. We still haven’t heard from Dr. Ford, so do they want to have the hearing or not?”

Grassley suggested the hearing could be called off if Ford declines to appear.

Chuck Grassley doesn’t want a fair process or even a responsible one. He’s under pressure to deal with Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations quickly, without taking the time needed to actually investigate her credibility or the credibility of Judge Kavanaugh.

Sen. Grassley hasn’t changed much in the 27 years since the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas. He was serving on the Judiciary Committee back then, too, and back then he was more impressed by how Thomas responded to the charges of Anita Hill than by the disgusting and degrading behavior she described: “He was miraculous in how he handled it. He handled it in a way that looked responsible…I hope he stays on there till he’s 95 years old.”

He’d like to create a process so egregiously unfair that Christine Blasey Ford won’t agree to participate, which is basically what the problem here is all about: powerful boys/men who want to force women to participate against their will. Grassley still “just doesn’t get it” when it comes to victims of sexual harassment and assault, and he probably doesn’t understand how his behavior here parallels Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior in that bedroom 36 years ago.

Her name is Christine Blasey Ford and she’s a “professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University, training graduate students in clinical psychology. Her work has been widely published in academic journals.”

She has something important to say about the 53-year-old man who might serve on the Supreme Court until he’s 95 years old. She doesn’t need to be coerced into doing something she’s not prepared to do. If she’s telling the truth, she had enough of that as a 15-year-old girl.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.