In 1906 Ed Johnson, a black man, was arrested in Chattanooga, Tennessee and charged with sexually assaulting a white female. Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court granted a stay of execution to review the case, but while the proceedings were still in progress a mob broke into the jail, dragged Johnson out and brutally murdered him in a public hanging. Johnson's conviction was finally posthumously overturned in February 2000.
Lynchings of black men by white mobs are, thankfully, a thing of the past. Lynch mobs are not.
Witness the very public spectacle of the attack on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
First came Christine Ford who accused Kavanaugh of having sexually assaulted her thirty-five years ago at a party when the two were both teenagers. Ford, who did not report the incident at the time, cannot recall where the attack took place or why she and the other individuals she claimed were present were at the home other than to say it was a "party".
Ford named several individuals who she claims were present at the gathering in question. Two of them Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth have denied to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, any knowledge of the alleged incident or of the party described by Ford. Leland Ingham Keyser, a former classmate of Ford's at the Holton-Arms all-girls school in Maryland, who Ford says was also present at the party says she doesn't know Kavanaugh or remember being at the party with him.
"Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford," Keyser's lawyer, Howard J. Walsh III, said in an email to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Now a new accuser has come forward. This claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University.
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Ms. Ramirez claims that while at a party with Kavanaugh and engaged in a drinking game with him and others, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her.
Ms. Ramirez also admits that she was highly intoxicated at the time of the "incident". In fact, she was so drunk at the time of the "assault" that she was lying on the floor. During initial meetings with reporters from the New Yorker, which broke the story, Ramirez said she was reluctant to come forward because of the "gaps" in her memory.
No big deal.
The New Yorker could not confirm with any of the other individuals alleged to be present at the party that the incident occurred. The magazine attempted to contact several dozen classmates of Kavanaugh and Ramirez. They were unable to find anyone who could confirm the accusation.
One of the male classmates who Ramirez claimed was present said "I don't think Brett would flash himself to Debbie, or anyone, for that matter," he said. Another male classmate who Ramirez said was involved in the incident commented, "I have zero recollection."
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, have disputed Ramirez's account of events: "We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett's Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this."
None of that matters at all.
What is at stake here, of course has nothing to with drinking games, high school parties or sexual assault. Brett Kavanaugh is not under attack because of predatory behavior toward women. He is under attack, because he is a jurist.
Kavanaugh understands how our constitutional system of government is constructed. He knows that the legislature makes law, and that the judiciary interprets them and ensures they are applied fairly. For those who intend complete political and social transformation of our society, that is an unpardonable sin. We cannot wait for the wheels of democracy to turn and for the people to decide for themselves the important matters of the day. We must have a judiciary composed of unelected kings and queens that is empowered to make these decisions for us.
The confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court kills hopes of such a transformation for a generation. It does not mean racism, homophobia or oppression. It does not mean a puppet court that will do the bidding of President Trump or condemn women to servitude. It does mean that a majority of the members of the Supreme Court will be individuals who will do their jobs within our governmental framework and will leave the business of creating law and establishing policy to the President and to the Congress as the Founders intended.
This the mob cannot abide. No matter the cost. No matter the shame. That a good, decent man and his family are being savaged is of no import. The ends justify the means.
Get the rope.