An Apology After the Hearing

The evening after the Honorable Brett Kavanagh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he apologized to Senator Klobuchar regarding his response to her: “She asked me a question at the end, and I responded by asking her a question and I’m sorry I did that.”

This article has an interesting perspective on that apology. The author notes how an apology can short-change the opportunity to deal fully with an offense and all its effects. She asserts that studies show that people appreciate apologies even when they are incomplete or insincere. I’ve seen other studies establishing that a bad (incomplete, insincere, self-serving, etc.) apology is actually worse than saying nothing. (See, e.g., Jennifer Robbenolt, “Apologies and Legal Settlement: An Empirical Examination.” 102 Michigan Law Review 460, 497 (2003))

But it’s also true that people of goodwill often appreciate the offender’s efforts at an apology, even if its content is less than satisfying.

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