Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor and the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix, has been hired to handle questioning of accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (and presumably of Judge Brett Kavanaugh) in tomorrow's hearings.
So the Democrats are saying, Great, Dr. Ford won't be questioned by mean old white male Republicans, right?
No. The Democratic reaction is outrage. Hot Air cleverly summed up the Democratic response:
Out: It's Sexist for Republican Men to Question Ford. In: It's sexist for Republican Men Not to Question Her.
Feminist law professor Lara Bazelon penned a column in the New York Times urging, "Man up, Grassley. Question Blasey Ford Yourself." She opines:
The Republicans’ attempt to outsource the questioning of Dr. Blasey is cynical, sexist and cowardly.
. . .
Let’s start with the cynicism. Mr. Grassley said, “We reserve the option to have female staff attorneys, who are sensitive to the particulars of Dr. Blasey’s allegations and are experienced investigators, question both witnesses.”
The chairman knows the optics are bad for him. Mr. Grassley and his 10 Republican colleagues on the judiciary committee are all white men. Their median age is about 60; Mr. Grassley and his colleague Orrin Hatch of Utah are in their mid-80s.
Talk about cynicism.
Ford lawyer Michael Bronwich has written a letter to Grassley complaining about an outside questioner:
“In our view, the hiring of an unnamed ‘experienced sex crimes prosecutor’…is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations,” Bromwich wrote.
“It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s repeated requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning. This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate,” he said.
Rachel Ford is reportedly a Republican (unlike some, Republicans are candid about party affiliation of associates) with 26 in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. She seems to have the ideal background to be sympathetic to both Dr. Ford and the quest for the truth:
The division Mitchell heads deals with family violence, physical and sexual abuse of children, and sex offenses, including sex assault cases. Mitchell oversees about 40 to 50 people in the division, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Mitchell has a long history of investigating years-old sex crimes and allegations that are difficult to corroborate, including in her role re-examining hundreds of cases that were unresolved and inadequately investigated by the sheriff's office, Montgomery said."
Over the course of Rachel's career, she has dealt with victims in this very circumstance of delayed disclosure and circumstances where allegations were difficult to corroborate," Montgomery said. "She has had to make a decision as a prosecutor whether or not those cases can move forward."Senate Judiciary Committee staff contacted Montgomery over the weekend asking about her experience, and Montgomery encouraged the staff and Mitchell to communicate directly, he said.
In a 2011 interview, Mitchell said she was drawn to sex crimes work after she was paired with a senior lawyer prosecuting a youth choir director after joining the office as a law clerk awaiting the results of her bar exam. "It was different than anything that I would have ever imagined it being," she said in an interview with FrontLine Magazine, which is affiliated with the conservative Christian group Foundations Baptist Fellowship International. "It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were."
It looks like Mitchell will be able to ask good questions and prevent the hearings from turning into a circus (if indeed that is possible).
Read the whole profile.