The Kavanaugh affair

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the worst about what Christine Blasey Ford is claiming about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Let’s assume it’s all true. (Something, it should be emphasized, he unequivocally denies.)

If, as a drunken 17-year-old, he made aggressive but ultimately unsuccessful sexual advances against Ford, then 15, and tried to silence her screams while she protested, should that disqualify him from the nation’s highest bench?

For a young man to try to force himself on a physically weaker female is deplorable behavior, and in today’s world could land him behind bars. But there are a lot of things people do as teenagers - often under the influence of large amounts of alcohol — that they are not proud of as adults. How far back in a person’s past is it fair to go and hold him or her accountable for it? If 17 is fair game, what about 15? Or five for that matter?

It’s hard enough to find persons with squeaky clean adult lives to be put up for public service. If they have to have had spotless childhoods, too, the pool of prospects is going to be awfully tiny.

The Supreme Court itself has said that, in the criminal justice system, it is unfair to hold teens to the same standards as adults since their brains are not fully developed. Such a concession should also apply to the court of public opinion.

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