The U.S. Senate and American public may soon witness conflicting testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford (“Kavanaugh accuser to testify,” Sept. 22). She will testify that she was sexually accosted by Mr. Kavanaugh and he will deny that it ever happened or that he was not the perpetrator. How to decide who is telling the truth?
Many of us make the decision on the basis of the apparent sincerity and credibility of the witness. But this can be an unreliable measure. One very effective way to attempt to get at the truth is to ask the question, who has the most to gain by telling a lie? What does Professor Blasey gain by bringing forth her accusation? She gains nothing but loss of privacy and mortal danger to herself and her family to the point that she has had to move away from her home to protect herself from harm. In other words, she gains nothing but loses an awful lot.
On the other hand, what does Judge Kavanaugh gain by falsely denying the accusation? He gains confirmation as a justice of the Supreme Court, the pinnacle of achievement for one in the legal profession. So it is Christine Ford who has nothing to gain and much to lose by coming forth with a false accusation and it is Judge Kavanaugh who has the most to gain by lying and denying the accusation. Therefore, we must conclude that there is a heavy presumption that Professor Ford is the one telling the truth.
Jack Kinstlinger, Towson
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