Christine Blasey Ford didn’t derail Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but she at least has this consolation — she made Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. Not just the United States, the world.
Time seems to be assuming that Blasey Ford’s allegation of attempted rape by Kavanaugh is true. Indeed, it turns the floor over to one of her most partisan defenders, Sen. Kamala Harris, to explain why Blasey Ford deserves to be on the list. If Blasey Ford’s allegations aren’t true, then it would be easy to dismiss her as a liar who tried, but failed, to affect the composition of the Supreme Court — thus hardly meriting special recognition by Time or anyone else.
But on closer analysis, Blasey Ford deserves to be recognized for her influence regardless of the veracity of her account. As we have observed, Kavanaugh has not fully aligned himself with the conservative wing of the Supreme Court. Instead, he has formed an alliance” with Chief Justice Roberts. Together they have prevented the Court from becoming as conservative as many expected.
Is this because of Blasey Ford’s accusations? It’s difficult to say for sure. But Kavanaugh reportedly has been telling people he intends to “lay low” for a year in the aftermath of his bruising confirmation battle.
At the same time, it’s also true, I think, that Kavanaugh was never as conservative as his supporters made him out to be. I predicted that as a Justice, he would fall somewhere between Roberts and Justice Alito on the ideological spectrum. But so far, he stands just about where Roberts, in his current less conservative incarnation, stands. Thus, there may well be a Blasey Ford effect.
If Kavanaugh is only going to stand alongside Roberts for a year, then the Blasey Ford effect, assuming there is one, will be short-lived. However, it remains to be seen whether, after a year, we will see a bolder, more conservative Brett Kavanaugh.