The same accountability expected of citizens should apply to aspiring federal judicial and political candidates. Assuming the role of victim does not eradicate past actions or conceal current motivations and perspectives. Throughout the confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh repeatedly attempted to evoke emotional persuasion of the senate through tears and anecdotes of a tarnished reputation and the hardships his family has endured since Dr. Ford revealed her horrific encounter with Kavanaugh. The pattern of convicts and culprits who play the victim card to avoid persecution or preserve status and reputation demeans our justice system and the true victims of their harmful actions.
Civil Rights of Victims
Victims of violent crime have specific rights to be treated with respect, dignity, fair compensation, due process, and protection. While the death threats and hateful emails the Kavanaughs received are crimes, they are not violent crimes. Other than his statement during the hearings, Kavanaugh provided no concrete proof that these acts actually happened to him or his family nor submitted an impact statement of how these acts affected him and his family. Real victims of crime generate legal documentation of harmful acts that have been done to them. Kavanaugh has not generated any legal documentation of the harmful acts nor has his family. Crimes are considered as acts committed by a single person instead of society. The emotional display of tears and anger is not convincing evidence of a crime and do not warrant the granting of rights reserved for victims of violent acts. The hearings are a due process that is a right of every American citizen and one he attempted to exploit for an emotional advantage in the confirmation proceedings.
Victim blaming, the act of creating distance between an unpleasant act and the victim, was a reoccurring theme of Kavanaugh through his statements regarding Dr. Ford’s inconsistent memory and her friends who did not know who he was or recall his presence at events attended by Ford. The repeated statements regarding the Democrats, concealment of information, and the accusations of delaying the confirmation process are all displays of self-reassurance and reconfirming his invincibility. Kavanaugh’s attempt to marginalize the act does not address the root cause of the experience- it only creates a false sense of security by shifting the blame and perceptions of society away from himself. Thus, the questionable motivation and reputation of the accused is preserved and victim mentality is created.
Victim mentality is a personality trait in which the individual believes he is constantly the target of the harmful actions of others when there is insufficient evidence to support the claim. In its extreme, the person may even exaggerate victimization to avoid persecution or uncomfortable situations. Kavanaugh’s statements about the Democrats, Clintons, and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network downplayed the stories and comments as events from the past while Kavanaugh’s insinuation of malicious prosecution and requests for a timely hearing were unfairly delayed. Genuine victims of harmful acts may view the outcome of the hearings as a belief that no actions will be taken against the accused or that the person is treated with leniency. The erroneous perception may dissuade individuals from reporting crimes committed against them. Perpetrators who are caught and tried could view Kavanaugh’s example as a convenient way of avoiding punishment.
Malicious Prosecution is an intentional act of false accusation without a probable cause and infers civil wrongdoing in legal proceedings. Kavanaugh’s defensive statements denoted that the hearings were without probable cause, due to the numerous supporting remarks on behalf of Dr. Ford and confirmation of his collegiate party behavior related to heavy drinking. In the meantime, Kavanaugh’s accusation of ill treatment from the Democratic Party was also without cause or supporting information. Kavanaugh’s malicious prosecution perspective attempted to create a scenario of legal abuse syndrome in his favor.
Legal Abuse Syndrome
Legal Abuse Syndrome is the outcomes and effects of litigation interfering with emotional states and daily activities of living. The stress, expense, and legal system processes can incite profound psychological changes in behavior and feelings of insurmountable injustice. Kavanaugh’s emotional statements during the hearings may have been the result of the intense scrutiny of the proceedings. However, as an active member of the judicial system, Kavanaugh should have been aware of the stress caused by the due process that is granted to all Americans. Kavanaugh, instead, started behaving as if the effects of the proceedings were a new and unfamiliar concept.
Escaping Judicial Accountability
In the past, judges with questionable backgrounds escaped accountability simply by retiring before the start of a formal investigation. The practice of escaping accountability through retirement or recusal only enforces the belief that judges are immune to disciplinary actions. Although Kavanaugh willingly endured the investigation, he did do with the attitude that fellow members of the robe would protect his status and reputation. However, the Me Too movement has empowered victims of sexual assault and harassment, deterring judicial entitlements from avoiding accountability. To their credit, the American Bar Association did voice reservations regarding Kavanaugh’s nomination, but Kavanaugh met the standards of becoming a judge. The decision to hold Kavanaugh accountable through a FBI investigation addressed the need to maintain the trust of Americans in the Supreme Court and judicial system. Kavanaugh’s eventual confirmation to the Supreme Court may have ended his perception of ill treatment by the media and legal system but it has left a lasting impression of what is genuine victimization by the legal system. Now real victims can come forward with courage to initiate legal actions against individuals of authority who act out of their scope of duty and are not immune to the civil or criminal mechanisms of justice.
Anyone who may think a person working in the legal system is not being held accountable for their actions can contact the Center for Public Integrity who will conduct their own independent investigation related to accusations of abuse of power in the business and political sectors. The organization is a place where victims can safely seek help without worry of retaliation. The organization serves as a powerful voice for real victims of crime, not the card playing individuals seeking to maintain a status quo.
Image Attribute: Pixabay