‘Should this be disqualifying?’ NYT writer faces harsh backlash for Kavanaugh comments

‘Should this be disqualifying?’ NYT writer faces harsh backlash for Kavanaugh comments
New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss was attacked for asking whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be disqualified from the Supreme Court nomination due to sexual assault allegations against him. (Image source: MSNBC video screenshot)

A New York Times opinion writer was harshly criticized after questioning whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be disqualified from the Supreme Court nomination for something he may have done as a teenager during an MSNBC appearance.

The writer, Bari Weiss, said she believed accuser Christine Blasey Ford was sincere but also suggested that maybe Kavanaugh should still be confirmed even if Ford’s sexual assault allegation is true.

“What about the deeper, moral, cultural … the ethical question here?” Weiss said to Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC. “Let’s say he did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17-year-old, presumably very drunk kid, did this, should this be disqualifying? That’s the question at the end of the day, isn’t it?”

Why did she say that?

Weiss said that she was hesitant to disqualify Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court nomination over this allegation based on his past character and the lack of a pattern of this kind of behavior.

“The whole thing in all these instances is that there has been a sustained pattern,” Weiss said, referring to past sexual misconduct cases such as that of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. “The ones that have stuck, there has been a pattern. By all accounts, other than this instance, Brett Kavanaugh has a reputation as a prince of a man, other than this.

“I believe her. I believe what she’s saying. But at the end of the day, it is one word against another,” Weiss concluded.

The backlash

Some of the feedback against Weiss focused on the distinction of this being a Supreme Court confirmation, not a criminal proceeding. In summary, Weiss’s critics point out that being appointed to the nation’s highest court for life is not a right.

“It is perfectly consistent to believe that nobody’s life should be ruined for committing a crime at age 17 — and that any adult who lies about that crime should not be elevated to the Supreme Court,” lawyer Mark Joseph Stern wrote for Slate, pointing out that by saying she believes Ford, Weiss is also saying that Kavanaugh has lied in his denials.

Others on social media also expressed disapproval of Weiss’s MSNBC comments:

(H/T Business Insider)