An Open Letter To Chairman Grassley Regarding the Confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Updated With Correction)
September 25, 2018
The Honorable Chuck Grassley
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Re: Confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh
Dear Senator Grassley:
I write to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a private citizen with relevant expertise in matters pertaining to Congressional correspondence. I support Judge Kavanaugh and believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is being less than forthcoming with respect to her allegations against him.
Specifically, I believe Dr. Ford's letter may have been written by a third party, and should be evaluated with this in mind, for the reasons below. (Please forgive any typos as it is late in the evening and I understand this matter is time-sensitive.):
My background: For the past 2.5 years I have served as Chief, Executive Correspondence in a civil service capacity. (All opinions are my own.) I have been a professional writer for 30 years, have taught at the graduate and undergraduate level, and hold a Ph.D. in sociology and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on creative writing.
Overall impression: Having read Dr. Ford's letter carefully, it strikes me as poorly written, below her professional and educational letter, and oddly phrased, almost as though it were written by someone from another country who does not speak American English. There are also quality issues with the actual typeface of the letter itself. Below I will enumerate as many specific examples as I can.
1. The letters I receive are usually highly charged. This one seems oddly cold.
3. Like an editor is writing it, not a human being who experienced a trauma
4. Inconsistent - from childish, to formal, to flowery, to legalistic, to professional
5. Sloppy, not well thought-out
1. Doesn't mention Judge Kavanaugh right up front, e.g. "I am writing to express my concerns about Brett Kavanaugh..."
2. Vague reference to "early 1980s" -- someone who went to a significantly traumatic party at around age 15 should know the year.
3. Why does she say "I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh"? Normally one would simply say "I haven't seen Kavanaugh." Why the qualifier "knowingly?" That seems overly legalistic.
4. "They" locked the door--wouldn't she say it was one, or the other of the people in the room?
5. Refers to the same bathroom twice, but in the second mention makes it sound like a different bathroom.
6. Married and published under her married name, but uses her maiden name.
7. If her assailant covered her mouth, but not her nose, why was she afraid he would "inadvertently kill" her?
8. "I am available to speak further should you wish to discuss" - sounds like an editor, not a person telling their story.
9. Signed "Christine Blasey" and not "Dr. Christine Blasey Ford," her married name in full.
10. Marked "Confidential" multiple times, but easily leaked, seemingly with Dr. Ford's support
III. Words or phrases that sound like the writer does not speak American English natively:
1. "Very drunken" rather than "very drunk"
2. "Mixed words" rather than "contradictory things"
3. "The two scrapped with each other" rather than "they tussled" or "they wrestled"--Americans don't say "scrapped"
4. "I was able to take this opportune moment" -- this sounds overly formal, almost British, and doesn't match the way someone would describe escaping a near-rape
5. Refers to psychotherapy as "medical treatment"
6. Signature doesn't include her title, and the return address is in the wrong place, at the bottom of the page rather than the upper right. City and state are used rather than the typical formatting of a full address -- this is how one would sign an op-ed.
7. "In Confidence" is used as a signoff rather than "Sincerely," or "Yours truly." Americans don't write that way.
8. "Mid-Atlantic" is used instead of "East Coast." Americans don't say "Mid-Atlantic."
9. "Notified my local government representative," rather than "contacted Congresswoman Eshoo"
10. Use of formal words like "exited" rather than "left"; "inebriated" rather than "drunk"; "disrobed"
1. "High School" is capitalized when it should be lowercased.
2. "early 1980's" instead of "early 1980s"
3. Shift in tense: "It is upsetting" (present tense) but "I felt." (past tense)
1. Font size is not consistent
2. Odd shading around sentences, not like a Word document but rather like a scan
3. Certain letters aren't spaced properly, almost as though someone had used white-out (the first "p" in "opportune"), or are tilted (the first "e" in "feared")
The theory that Dr. Ford's letter is ghostwritten would explain:
1. The timing. Dr. Ford says she first came forward July 6, 2018. On July 10, 2018, Democratic strategist Ricki Seidman, who worked for the Clinton White House, publicly stated that she believed a strategy would emerge to counter Judge Kavanaugh. The letter was delivered to Sen. Feinstein about three weeks later, on July 30. That would have given the Democrats time to plan.
2. The format. It appears to be a "dead PDF" or a graphic file that has errors overwritten. Typically one would see a clean, formatted, typed Word-style document.
3. The clear sense of coordination around this document. First there were media leaks; then with an orchestrated circus of celebrity endorsements, demonstrations, and even an ambush on Sen. Ted Cruz as he went out for dinner with his wife.
4. The obvious strategy. Sen. Feinstein held the document for many weeks, until the last minute. The Democrats believed its mere release would be enough to discredit Judge Kavanaugh. This would also explain the obviously coordinated use of the words "credible allegation," followed by "bullying" as Dr. Ford was actually offered the chance to speak.
5. The refusal to testify. It seems that no amount of support for Dr. Ford is sufficient for her to speak publicly, despite the negotiations and apparent promises. In reality, Dr. Ford will not even provide a formal statement in advance of testifying.
6. The issue around questioning. At every turn, her attorneys balk. A scripted, third-party letter written by someone else would explain why Dr. Ford's handlers seem to want all elements of her public discussion scripted as well, rather than having the alleged victim speak out for herself.
I hope this analysis is helpful to you and the Committee. I will also put it on my personal blog at www.dannielleblumenthal.com.
Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D.
Copyright 2018 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Updated 9/26/2018 to correct Dr. Ford’s maiden name. It is Blasey, not Blaseley. I regret the error.