Colorado experts weigh in on Kavanaugh, Blasey Ford hearing implications

Posted at 10:01 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 17:00:58-04

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DENVER -- At a barber shop, on a bus and on flights, everyone was captivated by Thursday’s testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

While it was dramatic and raw, CU political science professor Tony Robinson said the Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were strategic with their questioning of Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh.

With Blasey Ford, he noted how the female prosecutor handled the questions.

"But with Judge Kavanaugh they respond with raw and emotional support and concern that a man is being attacked," said Robinson.

The goal was to win over the few Republicans who decide if Kavanaugh gets the Supreme Court nomination.

And what about Kavanaugh's, at times, angry behavior towards senators questioning him?

That's "evidence of his uncontrolled spirit, at times, which is exactly what he is being accused of," said Robinson.

Robinson told Denver7 it could hurt him, but it could also rally the GOP base.

But if you ask Jimmy Sengenberger, the president of the Millennial Policy Center, Kavanaugh had no choice but to passionately defend himself.

"His life, his reputation, his career, his family. Everything is put on the line for unsubstantiated accusations and allegations and he is not willing to just take it," said Sengenberger.

Sengenberger doesn't believe the assault happened and told us Kavanaugh's detailed calendar of his activities when he was 17-years-old was evidence.

That brings us to Barbara Paradiso, who leads the Center on Domestic Violence at CU Denver and is an expert on survivors of sexual assault. She told Denver7 everyone's first response when a victim comes forward is to believe.

"There is no benefit to this woman coming forward and telling her story. She's not going to make a lot of money. It’s not going to promote her to a new position," said Paradiso.

She believes the outcome could have huge impacts.

"I think certainly the way that the Senate chooses to respond to these hearings will have an impact on whether or not people feel comfortable coming forward and telling their story," said Paradiso.

On the other hand, Robinson doesn’t believe this moment in history will be particularly damaging to the overall process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice, but it may help push forward progress for women.

“Politics go on just beyond this moment, and there is a broader movement of women becoming political, voting, running for office, changing the culture of sexual harassment.”