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Kavanaugh Confirmed Amid Allegations and Protests

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Patrick Trubee

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Kavanaugh Confirmed Amid Allegations and Protests

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters gather in front of the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 7th (Lorie Shaull, Flickr)

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters gather in front of the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 7th (Lorie Shaull, Flickr)

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters gather in front of the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 7th (Lorie Shaull, Flickr)

Anti-Kavanaugh protesters gather in front of the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 7th (Lorie Shaull, Flickr)

On July 9th, President Trump nominated Yale graduate and U.S Circuit Judge, Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court. It didn’t take long for protests to break out, as those who feared the effects of a conservative majority on the Court began to speak out.

At the same time, the Senate became deeply divided along partisan lines as hearings to determine if Kavanaugh would be a suitable addition to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination (the first being Neil Gorsuch), will determine decisions made by the Court and interpret the laws passed by Congress for years to come, so it stood to reason that his nomination would be highly political.

Although by September it seemed that Kavanaugh would be quickly confirmed, a major roadblock to his confirmation appeared when independent journalism site The Intercept reported that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had received an anonymous letter in July detailing accusations against Kavanaugh. The story was quickly picked up by the media, and the Washington Post published a story a few days later revealing the accuser’s name – Christine Blasey Ford – and including her allegation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, more than three decades earlier.

 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27 (Ninian Reid, Flickr)

The allegations and ensuing controversy prompted the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay their final vote and have both Kavanaugh and Ford testify under oath regarding the events that the accusation entailed. Emotions ran high during both testimonies; Ford tearfully described the alleged events and explained to the Committee the trauma that resulted, while Kavanaugh furiously and categorically denied the accusations.

However, the only result of these testimonies was that more fuel was added to the already contentious debate and the lines already drawn were widened. An NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll revealed that 45% of those polled believed Ford was telling the truth, while 33% said they believed Kavanaugh was telling the truth. Additionally, Democrats began to claim that the anger Kavanaugh displayed during his testimony should be enough to disqualify him from the court, and some protestors, inspired by the #MeToo movement, began to more fervently protest his confirmation. Republicans, on the other hand, argued that Ford’s inability to remember when or where the assault had taken place was a clear indicator that she was lying, and compared the allegations to the assault claims made against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.

President Trump looks on as Anthony Kennedy swears in Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to be the Supreme Court’s 114th justice October 8 (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

After a close final vote (due to the Senate being almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans), Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6th. Many Republicans celebrated the victory as a potential boon to midterm elections while many Democrats saw it as a disenfranchisement of sexual assault survivors. Either way, Kavanaugh assumed his position as 114th justice of the Supreme Court on October 9th.

Grim, Ryan. “Dianne Feinstein Withholding Brett Kavanaugh Document From Fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats.” The Intercept, 12 Sept. 2018, theintercept.com/2018/09/12/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-dianne-feinstein/.  

Montanaro, Domenico. “Poll: More Believe Ford Than Kavanaugh, A Cultural Shift From 1991.” NPR, NPR, 3 Oct. 2018, www.npr.org/2018/10/03/654054108/poll-more-believe-ford-than-kavanaugh-a-cultural-shift-from-1991.

 

Stolberg, Sheryl. “Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Oct. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/us/politics/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court.html.

 

Watkins, Eli. “Timeline: How the Kavanaugh Accusations Have Unfolded.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Sept. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/kavanaugh-ford-timeline/index.html.

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Patrick Trubee, Writer

I am a senior and a Varsity Cross Country athlete at Xavier College Prep. I enjoy eating In-N-Out burgers, writing short stories, and spending time with...

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