Guest Commentary: Consensus is Dead and the Supreme Court Broken, Part 2


by Scott Ragsdale

Part 2 – But You Can’t Kill the Message.

Even if Kavanagh Withdrew

If Kavanagh withdrew his name, surely a juror with equally vindictive views about the meanings of life and the constitution (but with some regard for a display of knowing that he or she is not beyond reproach or the law) would have been confirmed before year’s end.

The Supreme Court is now as broken as the laws that enforce corporate personhood and disallow the conscious a right to determine the fate of their own reproductive capacity.  Erwin Chemersinski, Dean and Professor of Law at UC Berkeley put it mildly,

“It is unclear how it will matter that the court be perceived as an extension of the Republican Party, maybe it will lead to a crisis of legitimacy for the courts…open defiance…  The only thing that is certain…they (Republicans) have irreparably tarnished the institution.”  (Sacramento Bee, California Forum 1D, October 7, 2018)

Professor Chemerinski’s understatement of the damage done is understandable.  My resolution was already sent to Senators Feinstein and Harris earlier in September.

“I will not submit myself or my fellow Californians to the rule of law from a Supreme Court that includes Brett Kavanaugh. You … need to know that if the Senate confirms Kavanaugh that it will mean the end of many many Californians’ link to the spirit and intent of laws from the federal government.  You need to prepare for that result and be able to begin to see Californian’s as the most important fulcrum of their own laws, moral compass and destiny.”

I have said my piece as have many Americans about the dissolution that would erupt from this appointment.  We will not stand idly by to see this action steal the hearts of this or future generations.  Some legal scholars and big D Democrats will try to talk us down from our indignation as the Senate Republicans call out “nothing to see here, move along.” I say listen politely and even engage when it makes sense, but don’t kid yourself – this is not about playing nice.

And all the while, Trumpian sand has been thrown into our faces in order for the extreme right to use the time it takes us to wipe it away to form another succession of ridiculously implausible stories that attempt to portray the Republican party as representative. We are not fooled.  It is clear even through the pain.  The court is broken.

— The Supreme Court Isn’t — Facebook or Twitter that and add a # and a @indivisibleyolo.

An affirmation of hope.

We have not been standing idly by. We are building the future of “show up” politics and the entitled society of mostly white people – the Federalist Society types –  know it.  They want to make our life affirming practices, of human dignity and planetary health for all, illegal.  Preventing that and working towards a positive future is what my work at Indivisible Yolo is all about.  There are thousands of groups all over the country that share these goals. Following the midterm elections, we are moving on to the next level of organization by building our list of principles to guide our work. The first principle taking shape is to:

“Protect our inalienable right to verifiable transparent and inclusive representative democracy.”

We have many ways to get out the vote and to shape federal policy this midterm election and we already have our sights on 2020 and beyond.  We are building now.

Scott Ragsdale is a Davis resident and the former general manager of Davis Roots, the business accelerator fostering economic development in Davis.

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30 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Consensus is Dead and the Supreme Court Broken, Part 2”

        1. David Greenwald

          I read the article. That problem is that the author is a lawyer, not a memory expert. You have several factors running against her having clear recall: (1) traumatic incident, (2) happened when she was relatively young and happened years ago, (3) may or may not have blocked some of the memories, (4) overload of information potentially contaminating the memories. You would need to talk to a memory expert and probably also an expert on sexual assaults, but none of what the law professor describes is surprising to me.

          Not only is she not an expert on this stuff, she’s clearly partisan: “Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.”

        2. Keith O

          overload of information potentially contaminating the memories.

          You said it best, if her memory is potentially contaminated why should she be believed?

          But more to the point, she’s been outed for lies she’s told more recently, not from 36 years ago.  You know, once you tell a lie everything else you say is suspect.

          1. David Greenwald

            Why should she be believed? I would start with her making comments to people about this incident long before his supreme court appointment. There is a difference between making an incident up and mis-remembering details.

            I would suggest that you are seeing precisely why the reporting rate for such crimes is so low. Unless there is physical evidence, it comes down to he said, she said. Your statements are going to conflict. And even if there is physical evidence, you’re going to get torn apart reliving the incident on cross-examination. Horrible position to be in.

            I still don’t really understand why the Republicans decided to sink or swim with him, when they simply could have selected another candidate who was equally conservative if not more, but not tainted. And why is the right on the court – all men?

        3. Keith O

          How about her more current lies about not coaching anyone to take a lie detector test?

          About being afraid to fly?

          Both lies which were outed by her former boyfriend.

          About not knowing that the Senators offered to come to her and keep her testimony private?  Everyone in America knew that but her?  Are we really to believe that?

          There are other current lies too.

      1. Jim Hoch

        “A memory expert would tell you otherwise.”

        You believe a memory expert would say her testimony was accurate and factual?

        BTW there is some blog in town that has been attacking eyewitness testimony on a pretty regular basis. Maybe I can dig up some quotes.

        1. David Greenwald

          “You believe a memory expert would say her testimony was accurate and factual? ”

          That is not what I said.

          Keith said: “Ford’s lies and story changes outed in a USA Today article and shows holes in her credibility.”

          A memory expert would not agree with that assessment. I said nothing about a memory expert saying that her testimony was accurate and factual.

        2. Ken A

          To sum things up according to the Vanguard, If someone sees a person of color in a gang rob someone this week they should not be believed, but if someone says a Republican tried to rape them 37 years ago it is a FACT (even if the three other people they say were there can’t even remember being at a party with the accuser)…

        3. Ken A

          In 2012 the Vanguard posted:

          “Any case based solely upon eyewitness identification should raise red flags. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that eyewitness identification alone, with its 25-percent error rate, cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

          P.S. I think there is good chance that this guy (who has a smirk that reminds me of a high school friend who hit on more girls in one high school summer than I hit on in my entire life):

          1. David Greenwald

            Again, it’s important to follow the conversation: Keith said: “Ford’s lies and story changes outed in a USA Today article and shows holes in her credibility.”

            I said, a memory expert would not agree with that assessment. I said nothing about a memory expert saying that her testimony was accurate and factual.

    1. Tia Will


      The only time I made a formal complaint about a sexually inappropriate encounter occurred when I was 27. I remember the individual involved. I can still see him. I know his name. What I don’t remember was the time of day, the patient’s name, the number of the OR we were in at the time, or even what floor of the hospital it was on. I was on a rotation in which we ride shared. I don’t know who the driver was, or where the call room we stayed in was located. I don’t remember the way to HR where I reported the event or the name of the HR representative or the department chair. My lack of memories for anything other than the event itself are lacking. That does not mean it didn’t happen. The event is as clear in my mind as though it were yesterday. That is how memory works. I was not lying then, and I was believed and corrective action taken. But had I not reported it, the event would still have been the same.

      1. Keith O

        Somewhat knowing your character I’ll bet that when you made the report you didn’t then lie about several more current things as Miss Ford has been shown to have done?  Do you believe that when someone lies that makes the rest of their accusations and testimony suspect?

    2. Richard McCann

      Reading the article, I failing to see the “significant” inconsistencies that have been made up by the writer.  I have no idea who Margot Cleveland is (almost anyone can be an adjunct professor, otherwise known as an “unpaid lecturer”) and why she has any particular qualifications to opine on this. That the layout of the house changed? That 35 years later she couldn’t remember if there were 4 or 5 people? That maybe the house wasn’t as close to the country club as she thought? (I have you ever spent time with a 15 year old and their lack of spatial awareness?)

      Wow, I’m in total awe of all of you who can remember every fact and conversation in your life flawlessly? Or maybe it’s that you can’t remember anything perfectly and therefore we should just simply ignore YOUR testimony and affirmations?  I’m just thinking that neither option is realistic.

      The REAL issue is that this allegation, the other allegations that were raised, Kavanaugh’s aberrant behavior in the hearing that hinted as a serious drinking problem, and his obvious partisanship all combined to require a pause on the confirmation process. A fuller investigation could have alleviated many parties concerns and might have avoided undermining further the legitimacy of the Court.

      Those who claim that the Court’s legitimacy will remain intact are either ignorant, stupid or deceptive.  (By the way, I believe the 55 MPH speed limit undermined the legitimacy of law enforcement by turning most Americans in lawbreakers who began to view the “fuzz” as hostile ticket writers.)

  1. Keith O

    Here’s a compilation I found of many of Ford’s lies:

    “She can’t remember the place, time of day, month or year. She has cited multiple places and dates/times.

    * She cited four witnesses, NOT ONE OF WHOM corroborated what she had to say. LIE. * She didn’t mention it until 2012 and didn’t mention him by name until recently. * She’s at odds with her psychiatrist. LIES. * She delayed the testimony because she was afraid of flying. Oh wait, she wasn’t. Oh wait, she’s flown all over the world. LIE. * She was out of control at this party — but she only had one beer. LIE. * Didn’t know how she got home. Seriously? * Her boyfriend from 1992 to 1998 called BS on all of this. She wasn’t afraid of flying, she lived in a tiny, 600 square foot apartment; she trained her friend (whom he NAMED) on how to pass a polygraph (which she LIED and said she’d never done that). She cheated on him, and she stole from him. * Christine Ford says she is a California psychologist but her name is not in the state database and Stanford scrubbed her bio page earlier this month. * She deleted ALL of her social media accounts. * Christine Ford told Congress, the Washington Post and her far left activist lawyers she had memories of Kavanaugh when she put a second front door on her home in 2012 but photos of the property show the door was installed before 2011. * She has aligned herself with the far-left. * She said she wanted anonymity but continually reached out to the far-left Washington Post. * Her polygraph is a farce. In the statement she wrote out in her farce of a polygraph test, Ford crossed out “early 80’s” so it would only read “80’s.” * Her story has been carefully weaved into a Kafka-esque nightmare no man (even with detailed calendars) can ever escape from. * Her team was so desperate to have The Woman Who Wants Anonymity to testify publicly, they turned down the opportunity to have her questioned in private at her home in California — and then lied about it. * Kavanaugh had a lengthy letter of support written by women who know him best. Dr. Ford had a letter of support from family and friends. Er…her husband’s family. Her parents and siblings didn’t sign the letter. * Ford’s therapist’s notes from 2012 also refute here tale, even as the media and Democrats try to gaslight us into believing the opposite. Ford originally claimed four boys tried to rape her when she was in her late teens in the mid-eighties. Now she says it was one rapist and one bystander when she was 15 in the early eighties. * Ford refused to give her therapist’s notes to the Senate Judiciary Committee. * The prosecutor outlined nine reasons why Christine Ford’s testimony was suspect, recounted above. * She was clearly coached throughout”

    1. Ken A

      First I want everyone to know I am not a Republican or a fan of Kavanaugh and I’m sad that there was very little talk about his support of unconstitutional government surveillance of Americans, his support for the unconstitutional Patriot Act, or his close ties to the Walker-Bush crime family (that has been using government connections to rip off Americans and make their friends rich for generations).

      Unlike Eric (and almost every Democrat) I have no idea if Kavanaugh and Miss Blasey were ever in a room together in 1981 (or the mid 80’s) with one (or three) other boys.  Since I was in college when Kavanaugh was in High School I know that many high boys were in rooms with girls and he very well could have been with her hoping she was interested in her.

      While there is also a chance that he was planning to “rape” her (then head over to her parents house to kill her parents with a knife), it is not very high and over the years people lie for political reasons FAR more often (e.g. “no new taxes” “I did not have sex with that woman) than rich prep school boys with married parents rape girls (or kill people).

      P.S. As a reminder Daniel Marsh came from a (messed up) divorced family and went to public school (where he was not headed for the Ivy League)….

      P.P.S. Can anyone name even ONE 16 year old boy “convicted” of the rape of a prep school girl in the last 100 years who lived with both parents and was at the top of his class at an exclusive prep school (it would be a lot easier to believe her if she was not working with the DNC “dream team” or said a priest, nun, gang member or homeless drifter rather than a geeky virgin tried to rape her in the 80’s)…

      1. Richard McCann

        Ken A “it is not very high and over the years people lie for political reasons FAR more often (e.g. “no new taxes” “I did not have sex with that woman) than rich prep school boys with married parents rape girls (or kill people).” 

        This is not true. The total number of date rapes is MUCH higher than the total number of politicians telling lies.

        1. Ken A

          Thanks for the link but can you name even one (1) 16 year old boy “convicted” of the rape of a prep school girl in the last 100 years who lived with both parents and was at the top of his class at an exclusive prep school?

  2. Eric Gelber

    It is the attitudes of those like the anonymous male posters on Internet blogs that is a primary reason why sexual assault victims are so reluctant to come forward. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, but that is not true in the case of reports of the salient features of traumatic events, like the memories of victims of sexual assault:

    If you are going to accuse a brave woman, with nothing to gain and everything to lose, of lying at least educate yourselves first and have the decency and courage to make your accusations openly and transparently, as she did.


    1. Keith O

      For starters I’ve heard where a few Go Fund Me campaigns have already raised around $1 million for her.

      Secondly we have no way of knowing that she didn’t do this for political reasons.

      1. Howard P

        Secondly we have no way of knowing that she didn’t do, one way or the other, if she came forward this for political reasons.

        I agree with the statement, with my nuances/edits.

        We also have no way of knowing, one way or the other if she deliberately lied, if she told “gospel truth”, if she confused facts as to who the assailant was, or if she was even assaulted.  As to the latter, whether she was assaulted, I strongly believe she was… by someone, at some time… the “one beer” thing is not as credible, unless she was very sensitive to the effects of alcohol (possible, but unlikely)… we just will never know, one way or the other, and why should we?

        Facts:  we have a new Supreme Court Justice… he joins 4 other justices who profess to be Catholic, 3 who profess to be Jewish, and one who professes to be Protestant. [Kavanaugh professes to be Catholic]


    2. Jeff M

      “victims”, “traumatic events”, “brave woman”, “anonymous male posters”

      Eric, your politically-correct, social justice, virtual-signaling credentials have been validated yet again.

      Now try looking at it outside of your strongly-felt emotions and political wants and focus on the facts.

      “The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network defines sexual assault as “unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape.”

      I think where many of you are guilty of a giant fail is the “unwanted” part.  And I think were we as a society are acting stupidly is ignoring the fact that females want too, and that the statute of limitations for claiming “unwanted” can be 35 years later and full of memory holes.  And that also, based on the posting of some on this blog, that “unwanted advances” are also persecute-able sex offenses.

      You are incorrect about that traumatic events cement accurate memories.

      In fact, converging evidence demonstrates that experiences of trauma, whether a single event (e.g., a sexual assault) or a sustained stressful experience that might involve multiple trauma types (e.g., experiences at war) are also vulnerable to memory distortion. In fact, traumatic memory distortion appears to follow a particular pattern: people tend to remember experiencing even more trauma than they actually did. This usually translates into greater severity of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms over time, as the remembered trauma “grows.” (For research articles documenting this, see the references cited in this post.)

      1. Howard P

        “Psychology Today”, is about the same for credibility as “National Enquirer”… “PT” is where folk publish when no other professional publications, that require peer review, will accept their submittal for publication.

        [Note that apa is American Psychological Association, not to be confused with American Psychiatric Association:]

  3. Scott Ragsdale

    If someone takes the time to write a thought piece on a topic – comment should not take a disproportionate amount of the attention from the authors point.

    There needs to be some limit in words and the number of entries – otherwise those commenting should be directed to write their own article and put their name on it.


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