Kavanaugh investigation: a success for MeToo?

In the row over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh US President Donald Trump has instructed the FBI to open an investigation into the affair. The agency is to examine the allegations against the judge before the US Senate votes on his appointment. Commentators discuss the impact the MeToo movement has had in the Kavanaugh affair.

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El País (ES) /

The end of silence

In publicly accusing the Supreme Court nominee of attempted rape, Christine Blasey Ford could break the silence of millions of women once and for all, El País hopes:

“The MeToo movement has shown how millions of women have suffered abuse and harassment without daring to denounce it out of fear. Blasey, too, was afraid and lived with this fear throughout her life as an adult. And now she has moved a step forward. Millions of people have heard her halting voice. Whatever happens now, this voice can no longer be silenced.”

Nowaja Gaseta (RU) /

Inquisition in Washington

The accusations of sexual misconduct being levelled at Kavanaugh remind Julia Latynina of a late Medieval inquisition. She writes in Novaya Gazeta:

“A modern, civilised court operates on the basis of the presumption of innocence. It expects evidence to be submitted. And evidence that is obtained through inadmissible means may not be presented. These rules are meant to prevent the innocent from being found guilty. That's what distinguishes modern courts from the Inquisition, in which those accused were automatically guilty. What happened to Brett Kavanaugh is an Inquisition, pure and simple. His accuser cannot present any kind of proof that she is telling the truth. And Christine Blasey Ford wouldn't be accusing Kavanaugh at all if he were a Democrat.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Dangerous culture of power in prep schools

The investigations into the Kavanaugh case reveal why sexual harassment of women is part of daily life in the US's elite prep schools, US professor of Islamic law Hatem Bazian writes in Daily Sabah:

“The overwhelming majority of students in these prep schools are sons and daughters of America's rich and powerful elite. Prep school lessons in privilege and entitlement do not come out of a vacuum, instead they represent the expected norm in elite circles. How best to train the next batch of total insolent and brash corporate, government and religious leaders that are in it only for themselves and take no prisoner Darwinian mindset. If survival of the fittest is the motto operable among these psychopaths in all affairs of society then conquering women through sexual violence is the natural order of things.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Things are gradually changing

The Republicans in the Senate didn't dare recommend Brett Kavanaugh's candidacy without first hearing Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, Dagens Nyheter believes, and puts that down to the MeToo movement:

“In the view of the Republicans it's more important to have Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court than it is to maintain control of Congress. The judges are appointed for life and exert a strong influence over American politics. Nevertheless, the power of the MeToo movement must not be underestimated. The senators only heard Blasey Ford's story because society is changing. ... Many women voters have turned their backs on the Republican Party because of Donald Trump's sexism and vulgarity. And many more women are running in the midterm elections than previously.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Gawking and groping still no big deal

The Kavanaugh case is anything but a success for the MeToo movement, columnist Rosanne Herztberger writes in NRC Handelsblad:

“If it turns out that he's guilty he won't have much to fear. The past year in Washington has shown clearly that gawking and groping needn't be a problem at all. You can even brag that you've grabbed women between the legs without their consent and still become president of the United States. MeToo has not gone too far. MeToo has not gone far enough.”

The Sunday Times (GB) /

Judgement with neither judge nor jury

The MeToo movement has destroyed the reputation and career of dozens of prominent men without proper investigations being carried out, The Sunday Times laments:

“The MeToo movement is revolutionary feminism. Like all revolutionary movements, it favours summary justice. Since April 2017 more than 200 prominent men have been publicly accused of a sexual misdemeanour, ranging from rape to inappropriate language. … MeToo seems to have elided rape, assault, clumsy passes and banter into a single, catch-all crime. Reputations have been destroyed and careers ended. 'I believe her' are the fateful words that, if uttered by enough people, perform the roles of judge and jury.”