Kavanaugh Confirmation Catastrophe


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Rudy Sanchez

On Saturday, Oct 6, the United States Senate voted (50-48) to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the 114th Supreme Court Justice after an FBI investigation concluded they could not find any sufficient evidence that would corroborate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations. This confirmation has derailed into violent discourse about sexual abuse throughout the country and even our own campus. Half of the population seems unsettled by the recent confirmation. I find their angst to be justified.

I found Ford’s testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing painful to watch. Although she had trepidations about coming forward, Ford felt it was her “civic duty” that compelled her to come forward. Many right-wing ideologues criticized and mocked the timing of Ford’s allegations since Kavanagh has been a prominent figure in Washington D.C. for many years now. I find this rhetoric deeply disappointing. Ford mentioned the alleged event had a traumatic effect on her as a developing woman. She told her current husband of the event only after a decade of marriage.

Those who criticize Ford’s timing of her allegations lack any sense of empathy. Women constantly face an overbearing fear of being scrutinized for revealing their abusers. Moreover, they doubt that anyone will take them seriously and if justice will rightly be served. These thoughts create a cocktail of emotions stirred with anxiety and self-consciousness that render women mute from their attacks. The idea that the hourglass for recanting a traumatic sexual experience is turned over at the will of anyone other than the abused is inherently detrimental to those who have been affected by sexual violence.

The legitimacy of Ford’s testimony and the true scope of the FBI’s investigation are debatable. However, more witnesses have come forward claiming to corroborate the story of Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the second accuser who claims she was assaulted by Kavanaugh–her former classmate from Yale. The FBI investigations failed to consider the validity of Ramirez’ claim and also a key account by Kavanaugh’s college suitemate Kenneth G. Appold. Appold claims he can confirm Ramirez’ account of Kavanaugh’s misconduct. Conservatives are touting the “success” of the investigation, meanwhile everyone else is protesting the conclusion of the apathetic investigation.

Putting Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct aside, what surprised most people, including GOP Senators, was Kavanaugh’s demeanor as he aggressively attacked Democrats. Judge Kavanaugh furiously refuted any allegations made against him, going as far as saying Ford’s allegations were, ​“a calculated and orchestrated political hit.”

Rather than being composed and open-minded to any view that came his way, he was openly partisan. Rather than seeking reason for the allegations, he violently detested the allegations and those who questioned his integrity. His temperament was clearly exposed in his hearing and brought doubts to his potential tenure as a Supreme Court Justice.

Over 2,400 law professors signed a letter sent to the Senate that protested Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.” Judge Kavanaugh lacks the poise and moderation that are quintessential characteristics of a Supreme Court Justice.

Despite Kavanaugh’s successful nomination, he has made clear who his political enemies are. In a country whose values mostly fall under two parties, Kavanaugh’s judicial decisions are no less than certain to fall along his partisan beliefs. In a foreshadowing quote from our newly sworn in 114th Supreme Court Justice, “what goes around, comes around.”