Confirming More Than Just Kavanaugh


Jim Bourg

Emily Liu, Staff Writer

Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation as a Supreme Court justice was nothing less of a political win beating all odds for the conservative party. While Kavanaugh’s own voice reflected more than enough on who he is as a person and will be as a judge, the entire confirmation echoed volumes on the current socio-political state of our society. The confirmation confirms more than just Kavanaugh; it tells us of our politicians’ priorities, brings to attention the unfairness of our justice system, and unveils crucial aspects of our country’s feminist movement.

Republican Arizona senior senator Jeff Flake requesting an official FBI investigation was less an instance of bipartisan cooperation than an attempt to save face. While the negotiation was considered a slight win for the Democrats, the investigation was “limited in time and scope” and lasted for less than a week. Because the Republican senators were the ones to set the “limited scope” of the FBI investigation, people such as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s college roommate, or any of the witnesses who corroborated her testimony, were not interviewed.Following the investigation, Senator Collins still voted for Kavanaugh, giving a 45-minute speech explaining her vote. She found “[Ford’s] testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling, [and that] she is a survivor of sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life” but apparently thought our justice system’s “presumption of innocence” was more important. Similarly, a right-winged court was more important to Collins, even if it meant accepting a man accused of sexual assault.

Just a few states away, women in Maine protested and begged for Collins to vote against Kavanaugh, and even took a bus to the Hill. For Collins, the investigation was more of a cover than anything else. Voting after a “limited” investigation let Collins vote with just as limited justifications. Initially, Collins’ vote would have been for Kavanaugh, siding with the rest of her party; the investigation was only a political move, an opportunity for the last three swing votes to appeal to sympathy before voting according to their party.

Following Collins’ vote, women across the country erupted accusing her almost of betrayal. We must question exactly what Kavanaugh’s confirmation reveals about the feminist movement. Twenty-seven years ago, there was an almost identical accusation by Anita Hill, against court nominee Clarence Thomas. Between 1981 and 2018, there has been a five percent increase in people who disapproved of the way Senate handled the hearings of the nominees. A reason for this could be the culture surrounding changing rape culture, especially with the recent #MeToo movement and raised awareness of sexual assault. When evaluating Dr. Ford’s accusations, we must keep in scope Ford’s social status as a white female with a financially well-off background and Stanford School of Medicine education; Ford’s privilege unarguably was an advantage. When we think about pushing for feminism, we must be pushing for intersectional feminism, or feminism for all people, regardless of race or sexual orientation. Furthermore, Vox’s Election Research Center shows that 3% more men than women believe in rejecting a supreme court nomination if sexual assault charges were true. This is a wake-up call to our society and to the feminist movement that we need to stop passivity and that perhaps there is much more to be done than first thought.

In his opening statement, Kavanaugh brought up all the women working with him and in his life who supported him, which is a logical fallacy and excuse no different from people who justify racism or homophobia with having colored or LGBT+ acquaintances. His angry and emotional speech should have been more than enough to bring to attention his inadequacy to serve as a Supreme Court Justice While Kavanaugh’s final confirmation is something out of the control of the common person, it is also a call to action for the entire action to really rethink their morals. And we must remember how Kavanaugh is able to rage against women who make the life-altering decision to bring up sexual assault, only to turn shoulder and stand proudly beside his wife and daughters.