As I discussed in yesterday’s earlier in a column, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., RI) going through the yearbook entries of Brett Kavanaugh was one of the most bizarre moments of confirmations in our history. Whitehouse was attempting to undermine Kavanaugh’s account of not being a black out drunk or participating in sexual exploits at parties with his friends. The hearing devolved into a discussed of the terms “boofing” and the “Devil’s Triangle.” The terms are widely defined on the internet to mean anal sex and a threesome (with one male and two females). Kavanaugh insisted that they meant farting and a drinking game. That led many to question his veracity (I am thankfully ignorant of either term but I have come to realize that my high school and college years were monastic in comparison to most everyone else). One person using a congressional computer however decided to try to add at least some support for Kavanaugh on the Internet by changing the definition on Wikipedia. He or she only succeeded in causing a row that highlighted the controversy over Kavanaugh’s answers.
Wikipedia was edited to include a possible definition of a “popular drinking gme enjoyed by friends of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As reported by CNN and other sites, he source is a congressional IP address.
Frankly, I do not know what to make of this issue (I did not even know what “Quarters” was after Kavanaugh said it was the same thing as the Devil’s Triangle.). There is no way to prove that Kavanaugh was lying in his colloquial understanding 36 years later. In the end, there is something deeply unsettling in the scene of a United States senator going through the yearbook entries written by a teenage boy in High School as a material issue for a confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. I understand that Whitehouse was trying to show not the meaning of these terms but that Kavanaugh was lying. However, it was a moment that will not be soon forgotten as capturing how far our confirmation hearings have strayed from core issues of competency and qualifications.
I did not know what to make of these hearings. I found both witnesses to be highly compelling. I am glad that there is more time for investigation but I doubt that a week will offer much of an opportunity for meaningful inquiries. While it may not uncover anything new, it will offer cover to a handle full of uncommitted Senators who want to vote for Kavanaugh to avoid political backlash while maintaining that they did so only after demanding an investigation.