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Bari Weiss slammed for Brett Kavanaugh comments

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New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss
New York Times opinion
writer Bari Weiss

Screenshot/MSNBC

  • New York Times opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss was
    criticized online Tuesday after questioning whether sexual
    assault accusations should disqualify Judge Brett Kavanaugh from
    serving on the Supreme Court. 
  • Weiss, a conservative, said that she believes the allegations
    against Kavanaugh, which he has aggressively denied.
  • But she argued they may not be enough to prevent him from
    sitting on the highest court in the country. 

New York Times opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss was
criticized Tuesday after questioning whether Judge Brett
Kavanaugh should be disqualified from serving on the Supreme
Court if sexual assault allegations made against him are
true. 

During an appearance on MSNBC, Weiss argued that the fundamental
“ethical question” at issue is whether someone should be
disqualified from sitting on the court because of a crime they
committed as a teenager.

She suggested that she believes the allegations made by Christine
Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old psychology professor who accused
Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high
school. But Weiss questioned whether they amount to enough to
make Kavanaugh unfit to serve. 

“What about the deeper, moral, cultural … the ethical question
here?” Weiss said. “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?”

Weiss added that Ford’s allegations, which Kavanaugh has
“unequivocally” denied, don’t fit a pattern — as many other
instances of men who commit sexual misconduct do — and that the
accusations can’t be proven. 

“Brett Kavanaugh has a reputation as being a prince of a man,
frankly, other than this,” she said. “Now, I believe her. I
believe what she’s saying. I’m just saying, in the end of the
day, it is one word against another.” 

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle pushed back, arguing that the
standards should be higher for someone nominated for a lifetime
position on the highest court in the country. 

“We’re not talking about should he be disqualified to be a dog
catcher,” Ruhle said. “We’re talking about to be a Supreme Court
justice.” 

Ruhle went on: “What if this is the moment to finally say, you
know what, let’s actually take a stand, and not say, this is
life, people get drunk, yikes, and actually move in another
direction and say this does disqualify you. Let’s find another
pick.” 

Weiss then seemed to back away from her assertion, but lamented
that Kavanaugh’s “worst instance” is being “paraded” in
public. 

“I guess I’m thinking of it today from the perspective of, let’s
all think about our worst instance that’s happened to us in this
world and imagine it paraded out in front of the country,” Weiss
said. “And that most men we know — it’s a horrible
reality.” 

Liberal critics immediately jumped on Weiss’ comments.

Mark Joseph Stern, an attorney and writer for Slate, called
Weiss’ question a “useless and irrelevant red herring,” and
argued that the question is not whether an adult should be held
accountable for something they did as a teenager, but whether
Kavanaugh lied about the allegations. If Weiss’ intuition is
correct and Ford is telling the truth about the incident, then
Kavanaugh has wrongly undermined a victim, he said. 

“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,”
he wrote

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