by Vendela Krenkel ‘20
After being nominated by President Trump on July 9, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate on October 6 with a 50-48 vote. Despite the testimony of Christine Ford and the other women who came forward about Kavanaugh’s questionable past, he was accepted to one of the most influential positions in America and will be serving a life term. And considering the various clues revealing his true nature during his high school years and his apparent alcohol problem, such as Mark Judge’s book, it should not have been this easy for Kavanaugh to take office. For the following two weeks, social media exploded with commentary on such a controversial candidate as Kavanaugh. News networks reported every breaking update on the hearing and investigated the allegations of many of the women and peers that spoke out for or against him. What can be said about the stoic, determined manner of Ford at the trial, and its contrast in Kavanaugh’s teary reaction to the accusations she made?
And after such heavy coverage, the spark behind the wave of Kavanaugh opposition fizzled out. Did the resistance give up and forfeit this battle to the suspected perpetrator of sexual assault? Did they decide to leave the Senate’s confirmation of Kavanaugh in the past in favor of finding some other major figure to bombard?
Why has Kavanaugh’s confirmation become a partisan issue? Actions as deplorable as alleged sexual assault and rape shouldn’t be divisive: they are tragic crimes that we should be working together to prevent, rather than putting down the victims of or debating whether it is so-called “locker room” talk. There has been a recent trend of supporting the offender by claiming each woman that comes forward to share her personal accounts is only seeking her 15 minutes of fame. It can’t be denied; this may be true in a few rare cases, but when such an unspeakable crime is committed, the issue no longer comes down to red versus blue, it’s a human rights concern, and there are no excuses allowed.
Many celebrities have recently come under scrutiny due to a wave of women sharing their stories under the #metoo movement after producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment in October 2017. With Ford’s testimony, many thought the Senate would dismiss Kavanaugh in hopes of finding a better candidate to the position, but with his confirmation, the balance of the justice scale is now tipped in favor of conservative values.
Seven weeks later and the country has already moved on from the contentious confirmation of Kavanaugh. He is likely to maintain his position for the next 40 years or so. This means future generations will grow up with him filling the role as a justice to the highest court in the country. What does this say for our values as Americans? For many, even the possibility of having a man who committed sexual assault be the deciding vote for this country’s most important landmark cases is a frightening thought.