Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination confirmed

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Last week, the Senate heard testimonies from both Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. The two testimonies couldn’t have been more different, and many Republicans claimed that they were equally credible. Dr. Ford offered a very powerful testimony recounting her sexual assault and calmly answered questions from senators. It was a moment destined to go down in the history books, as Ford held her ground in front of several men questioning her credibility.

Kavanaugh’s testimony was the polar opposite. He dodged several questions, got angry and defensive, and lashed out during the entire process. Throughout the hearing, he acted like a petulant and entitled child rather than the innocent man he claimed to be. Yet he got a lot of praise from Republican senators for having an incredible testimony. I would like to take a step back from the crimes that Kavanaugh is accused of or the credibility of the two testimonies and simply focus on his actions in the testimony.

The Supreme Court is a significant last resort for decision processes in the United States. It’s up to nine individuals to determine the law of the land, divorced from political party affiliations and based on their interpretation of the Constitution. That’s what makes Kavanaugh’s behavior so deeply concerning. To directly quote him from the testimony:

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election.”

This should not be the tone of someone who is going to be on the Supreme Court. It sounded like he channeled the spirit of Trump to make that statement. The Supreme Court isn’t meant to be a partisan institution. Of course, due to the nomination process being started by the President, the court certainly isn’t entirely nonpartisan. However, Kavanaugh’s testimony speaks volumes, showing that he will approach cases in his tenure with a clear and inherent bias.
He also provided very misleading defenses to the committee. The most significant example was when he stated that three people Dr. Ford had mentioned in her statement, two of whom were his friends and one of whom was her longtime friend, had denied her account. This isn’t true. Not corroborating Dr. Ford’s account does not equate to a denial of her account. As a supposed expert in law, he should be well aware of this distinction, and yet, he willfully chose to make this statement at the hearing. It shows cracks in his honesty and temperament, and this wasn’t the sole scenario. When asked about terms that he used, such as “boofing” or “devil’s triangle,” he called the terms a reference to “flatulence” and a “drinking game” respectively, neither of which is true. It’s flat-out perjury because he lied about what those words really mean.

His responses to some simple questions, such as questions about whether or not he was prone to blacking out or how much he drank, were boorish and hostile. He would turn the question back on the senators, talk over them, or avoid the questions entirely. He didn’t even outright say that he would support an FBI investigation into the allegations. In any other scenario, anyone who acted as Kavanaugh did would likely have been held in contempt of court. Instead of being composed as a judge should, he opted to be belligerent and aggressive in both his prepared speech and answers to questions.

Of course, for Republicans, none of this matters. Having a conservative judge on the court is essential for them, since Kavanaugh’s confirmation would guarantee a conservative majority. This has been a big talking point to muster up support for the midterm elections and galvanize the Republican voter base. An NBC/NPR/Marist Poll showed that 54 percent of Republicans would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, even if the assault allegations are proven to be true. Republicans chose to stick by Kavanaugh because if they didn’t, they’d be seen as weak and ineffective, even if it would be the right choice to pick somebody else from the Federalist Society list that Kavanaugh was picked from. Be it Bill Clinton or Brett Kavanaugh, powerful men who further political agendas will always get a pass even though they clearly don’t deserve it.

Dr. Ford herself said in her testimony that she was afraid she would uproot her entire life by coming and speaking out. Unfortunately, she found herself testifying only for nothing to happen and for the status quo to be maintained. In fact, after the hearing, Orrin Hatch referred to Dr. Ford as a “pleasing” witness. The senators listened to Dr. Ford, but they didn’t hear her because they had already made up their minds on Kavanaugh. For them, politics and power are more important than the trauma and abuse faced by survivors of sexual assault. Allowing Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court will go down in history as one of the greatest mistakes ever made in our nation’s history.