Kavanaugh Canters to Contested Confirmation
Are you proud to live in a country where an accused rapist resides in the Oval Office? How about one on the Supreme Court? Brett M. Kavanaugh, a former Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the most recent addition to the Supreme Court, has been bombarded with allegations of sexual assault. How were they handled by the Senate Judiciary Committee? Most were not. The original allegation was brought forward to Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Mr. Kavanaugh’s name was first entered into a list of candidates for the Supreme Court. Christine Blasey-Ford, who brought these allegations to Senator Feinstein, went to the same high school in Maryland as Brett Kavanaugh.
Blasey-Ford provided her testimony on Thursday, September 27, by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which eventually voted to send Kavanaugh to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. Mrs. Blasey-Ford’s testimony evoked an emotional response from many Senators and people across the country. She stated that she is “100 percent” certain that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her during high school. Kavanaugh also testified on that Thursday, saying that he got into Yale by working hard. At times during their respective testimonies, both Kavanaugh and Mrs. Blasey-Ford were on the verge of tears or in tears. “His demeanor and his behavior in the Senate hearing was incredibly arrogant, irresponsible, and disrespectful,” states Mr. Fleming, a World Cultures teacher here at TL. However, Kavanaugh lashed out at Democrats, answering their questions with questions. Nick Testa, a Sophomore, states, “I think it is because he feels that he is being attacked…he saw Democrats as an entity that was trying to get him out of the court.” One such event occurred when Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota asked Mr. Kavanaugh if he had ever “drank so much that you didn’t remember what happened the night before or part of what happened?” Kavanaugh’s response was to say, “You’re talking about blackout. I don’t know. Have you?”
Even though he later apologized for his actions, his retort still stands. He took a defensive edge when asked questions by Senators commonly affiliated with the Democrats. He also lashed out at Democrats by calling the allegations, among other things, a “revenge on behalf of the Clintons”. This comment suggests that he thought he was being targeted by Democrats because of Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election of 2016. This particular rhetoric is (not surprisingly) similar to President Trump’s insistence that the presidential election was rigged, which he stood by until he was elected. Both Kavanaugh and Trump have defaced seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their path to power by questioning their credibility in the most absurd ways. “It is a classic Trump technique to discredit and attack the people who are against you, which is a very political and partisan thing to do,” states Mr. Fleming. Coincidentally, Mr. Trump stopped defacing his obstacles once he had overcome them, and Kavanaugh has said nothing more that is as incendiary as his original comments on the allegations.
The original allegations weren’t as impactful as Democrats originally thought because there appeared to be no corroborating evidence. Mr. Coleman, a History and Street Law teacher at TL, states, “They didn’t look like they were trying to get to the bottom of what happened, they looked like they were trying to look like they did just enough of a hearing so that it didn’t seem like they were disrespecting women.” The Senate Judiciary Committee limited the hearing to just testimony from Mrs. Blasey-Ford and from Kavanaugh, and the motion to subpoena Mark Judge was cast down by a Republican majority.
Mark Judge was named by Christine Blasey-Ford as the only other person in the room while Kavanaugh attempted to drunkenly rape her. He was said to have egged Kavanaugh on at times, but at some points during the night told Kavanaugh to stop. The corroborating evidence that was missing from the testimony could have come from Mark Judge, had he been subpoenaed. If the corroborating evidence was there, it is most likely that Kavanaugh would not have been confirmed. Kavanaugh was not on trial, so he would not have been convicted, and he wouldn’t be convicted even if he was on trial because the allegations were brought forward after the deadline for the Statute of Limitations expired.
The Statute of Limitations is very common in the U.S.A., and it provides a deadline for legal action on a case. For example, the now abolished statute of limitations in California called for a case involving a rape to be under ten years of age from the date of the crime to be prosecuted. This law was changed by Senate Bill 813, which revoked this Statute of Limitations. “I think that there are some in the public who probably think, well, this was so long ago that, either, this may not be relevant or they question her credibility because it was so long ago,” states Mr. Coleman. The Statute of Limitations does not apply to the allegations brought forward because there is no trial. However, as these allegations are so old, people may be led to discredit them because of their age and the fact that, under a Statute of Limitations, the allegations cannot be tried.
The lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court that has been bestowed upon Brett M. Kavanaugh now gives the Republican party a “majority” on the highest court in our land. Mr. Fleming states, “This is supposed to be the highest moral authority in our country…these are supposed to be people of the highest moral character…someone with swirling issues of alcoholism, sexual assault, and aggressive behavior in the courtroom…We can’t do better than that?” This is technically not a partisan majority, but the ideals that the Republicans stand by are also those of the majority of Justices on the Supreme Court. Abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, and other more liberal ideals may be on the chopping block.