The Brett Kavanaugh debate continues

Justin Norris | Staff Writer

Brett Kavanaugh

The Associated Press

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to face obstacles on his road to confirmation as a judge on the Supreme Court.

From the perspective of those on the left, some find Kavanaugh’s record questionable, while others have a problem with President Trump appointing a second judge to a lifetime seat while being under federal investigation.

Meanwhile, some conservatives are worried that Kavanaugh would support Trump over the good of the country if nominated to the highest court in the land. According to C-SPAN, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voiced his wariness at the confirmation hearing about supporting “an administration that doesn’t seem to understand and appreciate separation of powers and the rule of law.”

Many people are also worried about Kavanaugh’s position on women’s rights, particularly Roe v. Wade.  During his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh was grilled by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). Harris’s background as a former prosecutor aided her questioning of Kavanaugh, who struggled to respond.

According to CNN, Harris asked him if he could “think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?” Kavanaugh was visibly flustered by the question, and even tried to avoid answering the question altogether.

When forced to answer, Kavanaugh responded, “I’m not thinking of any right now, Senator.”

If confirmed, Kavanaugh could very well be the swing vote in a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that has stood for 45 years. Overturning Roe v. Wade would have both immediate and lasting effects. In the short term, it would undermine the progress that women have made in the decades since the landmark decision. In the long term, it would affect reproductive decisions made by women everywhere for at least another generation.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women. The first accusation came from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor of Psychology. She alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago at a party in high school. The second allegation was from Deborah Ramirez, who claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while they were both students at Yale University. Julie Swetnick has accused Kavanaugh of being present as parties in the 1980s where she and other women were raped by multiple men.

India Anderson, a senior journalism major at Hampton University, said that she would not be surprised if Kavanaugh is confirmed despite the allegations.

“We have a president who decides when he wants to obey the law,” Anderson said. “This says a lot about our government and our people. We live in a society where women are discouraged from speaking up about their sexual assault histories. When Kavanaugh’s accusers came forward, they were shamed by the leader of our country.

“Even with the #MeToo movement, when our nation’s president can attack sexual assault victims, it says a lot about how women are treated. The prospect of Kavanaugh being confirmed is scary for many reasons, namely his character. If he is confirmed, we are in deep trouble.”

Kavanaugh’s and Ford’s testimonies were heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27. Ford was the only accuser called to testify in the hearing, according to published reports. She gave a patient, detailed testimony of her allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s testimony was more emotional and raw. On Sept. 28, the panel voted 11-10 to advance Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation.

However, Senator Flake stated he would not support a final confirmation of Kavanaugh until the FBI conducts an investigation into the sexual misconduct claims.

When considering Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it is worth noting that the Senate is made up of 78 men and only 22 women.

It is not hard to envision a scenario reminiscent of Clarence Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearing. The credibility of Thomas’s accuser, Anita Hill, was attacked by the all-male judiciary panel only to have his nomination sent to the Senate without a positive or negative recommendation before the full Senate confirmed Thomas.

With three sexual misconduct claims made against Kavanaugh, how the Senate proceeds with his confirmation will be scrutinized closely.

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