We can debate all day about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Professor Christine Blasey Ford and whether or not a sexual assault occurred when they were both back in high school. But what is most disturbing is the growing number of people, even women, who are excusing such behavior, or willing to overlook it in this confirmation battle.

Scales of Justice - Frankfurt Version was taken by Michael CoghlanA panel of women on CNN discussed the issue of whether Mr. Kavanaugh forced himself upon Ms. Ford at a party when they were in high school. Some on that panel sought to defend Kavanaugh for his actions.

“‘I mean, we’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect. I’m a woman. I respect. But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school?’ Gina Sosa asked on the CNN panel when asked her thoughts on the accusation.”

“‘How can we believe the word of a woman of something that happened 36 years ago? This guy has an impeccable reputation. There is nobody that has spoken ill will about him,’ Lourdes Castillo de la Peña said on the panel. Ms Castillo de la Peña later indicated that she would continue to support the nominee even if the allegations proved to be true.”

In fact, the United States became known as a place where sexual assault would not be tolerated, in the days of America’s Founding Fathers. Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville, whose words in Democracy in America from 1833 are still required reading for conservatives and liberals alike, had this to say about American and gender.

“It is true that the Americans rarely lavish upon women those eager attentions which are commonly paid them in Europe; but their conduct to women always implies that they suppose them to be virtuous and refined; and such is the respect entertained for the moral freedom of the sex, that in the presence of a woman the most guarded language is used, lest her ear should be offended by an expression,” he wrote. “In America a young unmarried woman may, alone and without fear, undertake a long journey.”

But it wasn’t just our generally virtuous behavior (outside of a few exceptions) that shocked de Tocqueville. What really got his attention was how such behavior to protect women and punish those guilty of such conduct was put into law.

“The legislators of the United States, who have mitigated almost all the penalties of criminal law, still make rape a capital offense, and no crime is visited with more inexorable severity by public opinion,” he wrote. “This may be accounted for; as the Americans can conceive nothing more precious than a woman’s honor, and nothing which ought so much to be respected as her independence, they hold that no punishment is too severe for the man who deprives her of them against her will. In France, where the same offense is visited with far milder penalties, it is frequently difficult to get a verdict from a jury against the prisoner. Is this a consequence of contempt of decency or contempt of women? I cannot but believe that it is a contempt of one and of the other.”

As a husband, a father, and an uncle, I couldn’t agree with de Tocqueville, and the America our Founding Fathers sought to create. We need a full investigation of these charges. And if the charges are true, we shouldn’t have someone represent us on the highest court, dispensing justice, where we can say this is one of the best nine judges in America.

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John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.