CW: Rape and sexual assault
Politics in recent years have become a quagmire of emotions and scandals. The most recent nomination and appointment of Brett Kavanaugh is an example of this, and with the sexual assault allegations against the new Supreme Court justice, polarization between the two parties has split down the aisle and American culture. On one side, democrats demanded for Kavanaugh to be denied. On the other side, republicans wondered why there was any hold up in sending him through the nomination. I must admit, at one point, I was an advocate for Kavanaugh. He served under Justice Kennedy, the very man Kavanaugh is now replacing. He appeared to be a fair, respected justice in the U.S. Court of Appeals. And while some of his stances on certain issues I did not agree on, I found that his judgment was balanced and well presented. But with the recent scandal, for the good of the Supreme Court, and the United States as a whole, Brett Kavanaugh should not have gotten his seat on the court.
First, I was disappointed with the response from the republican party. When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was running for office, the republicans used the argument of President Bill Clinton’s affair as a continual weapon against Secretary Clinton. And yet now, with allegations against Kavanaugh, the republican party has become very quick to claim the mentality that “the past is the past and it’s time to move on.” Past the gross nature of the republicans trying to shrug off a sexual assault, in doing so, they are contradicting conservative schools of thought. One of the pinnacles of conservatism in the political realm is the idea of independent rights, and sexual assault is the violation of that right. Rape is the perversion of the body and the right of the person’s body, the first and foremost independence. This inability of republicans to actively combat sexual assault and their choice to openly shame the victims are big flaws in conservative thought let alone established morals.
My second issue was the way Kavanaugh handled the affair. The hearing was not to discern whether Kavanaugh was innocent or not. Kavanaugh was not being tried in a court of law, thus any argument surrounding the notion of innocence was irrelevant. What was relevant is the way that Kavanaugh went through the hearing. Instead of giving testimony in a calm demeanor, his words were those of a cornered animal, with malice and hatred. Instead of accepting any responsibility with dignity and grace, he attempted to shift blame over and claim that the investigation was an attack. It is important to realize that Ford’s testimony was not to bring charges to the table, simply to say that a man was not a fit candidate for the highest court in the land. Had Kavanaugh handled the issue with more grace, perhaps the argument would have been different. But instead, Kavanaugh attacked and snapped back, and showed the very opposite of the good grace a supreme court justice ought to have.
Many distinguished justices have become legends on the Supreme Court, such as Justice Joe Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Chief Justice John Roberts. The public image of the supreme court is often one of an aloof, wise, all-knowing group. Having a Supreme Court justice who was accused of sexual assault tarnishes that reputation and concerns many citizens that are now fearful of trying women’s issues in the court. Public servants, such as the justices, rely upon the trust of the people, and Kavanaugh being an accused perpetrator of sexual assault breaks that trust. Supreme Court justices interpret the law and are bound to protect the constitution of the United States. It would be wrong for a justice to reside in the Supreme Court and have violated the rights of an individual and gotten away with it. While the statute of limitations may be that Kavanaugh cannot be charged in a court of law, the fact remains that a justice accused of such an act cannot, in good faith, serve on the bench of the Supreme Court and truly speak to women’s issues.
I have been saddened to see the fall of a promising Supreme Court justice seat. I cannot support a nominee accused of sexual assault, regardless of party affiliation. It hurts me to see the republican party ignore the claims set before them by Ford, and their mocking of her misery and refusal to truly question her or her suggested witnesses in the FBI case. To abandon reason to protect the image of the party is inexcusable, no matter what the party. The second values are abandoned, justice no longer can be served. Supreme Court justices are protectors of the land, and to have a justice accused of sexually assaulting an individual and reacting in such a malicious way, goes against the core beliefs of their position. It is time for Brett Kavanaugh to step down.