On October 8th, former Yale student, and seated member on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into a lifelong position on the nation’s highest court.
The events that transpired over the 13 weeks leading up to the Kavanaugh nomination were chaotic. Brett Kavanaugh was expected to be voted into the Supreme Court; however, on September 12th, Senator Feinstein (D) announced that the committee had received a letter in July detailing sexual assault allegations against the candidate. Four days later, the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, went public with her accusation in an article for The Washington Post. Soon thereafter, two more accusations were made. Afterward, the committee decided to have both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testify. On Friday, September 28th, senators decided to postpone their vote until a week-long F.B.I. investigation was conducted. On Saturday, October 6th, it was announced that Kavanaugh would become the newest member of the Supreme Court.
But what does this nomination mean for the American people? Many feel that it has proceeded to further polarize our country. Some have indicated that they feel more strongly divided as a nation than they had since the 2016 election. RealClear Politics displayed that a recent YouGov poll taken on September 29th indicated that a staggering 83 percent of Democrats agreed that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed, as opposed to only eight percent of Republicans. But, should this be a partisan issue? Many argue that Kavanaugh’s nomination has further tilted the Supreme Court towards “the right” or, otherwise, the conservative side of politics, possibly endangering nationwide landmark rulings such as Roe v. Wade.
Many have celebrated Kavanaugh’s nomination, such as Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who expressed his satisfaction with the Senate vote in a press conference. The Courier Journal reported, “It’s hard to judge your own legacy but I can say this: I think it’s the single most important thing I’ve been involved in my career. I think putting strict constructionist on the courts is the single biggest way you can have a long-term impact on the country.” Many conservatives feel that this nomination will benefit them in the upcoming midterm election, furthering their control of the House and Senate.
As for the opposing side, many progressives question the validity of the demanded F.B.I. investigation and feel betrayed by the Senate decision. Senator Feinstein told The Washington Post that, “The most notable part of this report is what’s not in it… the F.B.I. did not interview Brett Kavanaugh, nor did the F.B.I. interview Dr. Blasey Ford.” Both men and women have vigorously taken to the streets of Washington to show their support for Dr. Ford and the two other Kavanaugh accusers, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. Renowned organizations such as “The Women’s March” have led such protests.
Many are fearful about how this decision will impact a victim’s ability to report sexual assault and be believed. Yahoo reported President Trump’s criticism of the #MeToo movement, “It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.” The Hill reported that Dr. Ford’s testimony re-opened the wound of trauma for sexual assault survivors, with calls to The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), increasing an estimated 147% above their normal interaction. Many have also drawn parallels from the Ford/ Kavanaugh testimonies to the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas testimonies of 1991. Justice Kavanaugh will be the second judge on the supreme court to encounter sexual assault allegations.
Ramapo High School senior Stephanie Goodrich shared her opinion on how Kavanaugh’s confirmation might impact the country, “I am interested to see how Kavanaugh will rule in this cycle of Supreme Court decisions.” Stephanie stated. “I am personally at odds with his strict constitutionalism, and I am especially nervous that he is only 53 years old–many of the cases that will be before the SCOTUS in the next 30-35 years are likely going to be from the Warren Court and he will outlive the liberal Justices Breyer and Ginsburg at least. I hope that he sticks to precedent in his decisions on those cases, otherwise a lot of the progressive decisions concerning abortion, free speech, the right to privacy, etc. are in danger of being nullified.”
Since his nomination, Kavanaugh has appointed a team of all female law clerks. He will sit in on his first hearing on October 9th. America is keeping a close watch on Brett Kavanaugh and his future plans for the country.
By: Tara Lamorgese ’19, Staff Writer
Featured Photo: Brett Kavanaugh and his family, along with President Trump at his Ceremonial Swearing (Photo courtesy of CNN).