Commentary: Sen. Hatch, it is time for you to choose the right

(John Duricka | AP Photo) Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, questions Professor Anita Hill on Friday, Oct. 11, 1991 in Washington during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., looks on.

Dear Sen. Hatch,

I urge you, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to demand a balanced, rigorous and thorough investigation of the alleged assaults on women by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Sunday’s new accusations are troubling indeed. No one’s past sins — especially repented of — should rise to ruin one’s professional life. But one’s past sins (if any) do need to be acknowledged and justice meted out in appropriate measure if proven, rather than hurriedly rewarded or deemed trivial.

Your public dismissive comments about Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations (similar to those you shared about Anita Hill in the 1991 investigation) do you no service and impede the due process that our government should afford to those called to such a significant and lifelong post. Do not let political party agendas trump your ability — as the Primary song goes — to choose the right.

Words matter. Women, especially, are taking note.

On Sept, 18, 2018 you tweeted: “The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us” (meaning the Judiciary Committee).

You lean on a statement made that day by the Justice Department, reported in APnews.com: “The Justice Department says the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ‘does not involve any potential federal crime’ for the FBI to investigate … The FBI’s role during background investigations is to evaluate whether the nominee could pose a national security risk and then provide that information ‘for the use of the decision makers’.” )

Your words do not mesh with history, Sen. Hatch. We are listening, and we know better.

Past episodes of conflicts during a confirmation process routinely have been investigated by the FBI. Scrutiny of candidates by the FBI became significantly more rigorous as far back as November 1987 after it was revealed that Ronald Reagan’s Supreme Court hopeful Douglas Ginsberg had smoked marijuana. Besides probing for “national security risks”, the FBI’s standard procedure for inquiries with this much at stake have included questions “focused … on personal background and integrity issues.” (Nov. 8, 1987, summations of notes of FBI interviews of Anthony Kennedy). And of course you recall the difficult days of the Anita Hill controversy regarding Clarence Thomas. You didn’t believe her either.

Take the time to do the job correctly and thoroughly. Too much is at stake. Let your lasting impression to your constituents speak of your dedication to moral principles and not to political expediency and distortions of the truth.

Use what influence you have to stop the confirmation process immediately and investigate these disturbing accusations. Prophecies by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the imminent and certain confirmation of Kavanaugh do not reflect the ethical authority that ought to be evident from those who want to protect established procedures of truth seeking. If evidence supports Ford’s and the other alleged victims claims, and you still wish to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, remember that he has denied these events ever occurred. In that case, you will be endorsing a candidate who has lied to Congress — a federal crime according to 18 U.S. Code § 1621.

Your performance as a senator now will remain as a legacy in the memory of voters — including informed, vocal, patriotic women who will show up in vast numbers for the midterm elections. Insist on fair and thorough hearings for these women.

Choose morality. Choose truth. Choose integrity.


Linda Kimball

Courtesy photo Utah author Linda Hoffman Kimball.

Linda Kimball is a co-founder of Mormon Women for Ethical Government.