Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Amid National Controversy, Kavanaugh Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Kavanaugh ConfirmedThe Senate voted 50-48 to send Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6.

After an extensive confirmation process in the midst of allegations of sexual misconduct and a supplemental FBI investigation of the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court later Saturday evening.

Just 24 hours prior to the confirmation vote, there was confusion as to whether or not Senate Republicans had enough votes to confirm him to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s status was sealed when Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine who supports reproductive rights, announced that she would vote to confirm him, expressing her confidence that he would not attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Collins said that, while she felt one of Kavanaugh’s accusers Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about the alleged sexual assault “very compelling,” she was also concerned about the lack of witnesses to support Ford’s accusations.

“I feel very comfortable that I’ve made the right decision,” Collins told 60 Minutes in their interview. “I could not come to another decision, based on the testimony and the evidence that I reviewed.”

Joseph Patten, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science, pointed to the Kavanaugh hearings as proof of the deep social divisions in American society.

In Kavanaugh’s particular situation, Patten addresses the divisions around gender, as some female supporters of one of Ford, claiming that women are not being believed about sexual assault, and some male supporters of Kavanaugh believing that those who are accused are not being given due process.

Patten also explained that much of the tensions in the current political climate stems from voters not necessarily being loyal to the Democratic or Republican Party, but rather from voters strongly disliking the opposing party.

“Our country has become much more polarized and partisan over the last 20 years,” he said. “That has even filtered down to the American people; we are getting more partisan.”

“It is politically intentional, because I think [Trump] believes that this could help mobilize the Republican base in the midterm election,” Patten said. “The impact of winning or losing an election is that you get to select judges that share your view. It is quite conceivable that there could be some areas of settled law that could become unsettled.”

Several Democratic Senators were critical of the process by which the sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh were investigated, claiming that several days was not a sufficient amount of time for the FBI to do a thorough review of the allegations.

“A Senate confirmation hearing is a very poor venue by which to determine what actually happened and who is telling the truth,” said Nicholas Sewitch, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice.

“A sexual assault trial could take weeks to try, here we are in a much-shortened version,” he added.

Sewitch believes that it was not the role of the FBI in this instance to do a criminal investigation on whether or not Kavanaugh had committed sexual assault.

“Sexual assault allegations are normally investigated by state, local or county authorities,” he said. “The crime of sexual assault is a state violation of a criminal code, and every state has its own sexual assault definition.”

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was met with thousands of Women’s March protestors being arrested for descending on Capitol Hill, and advocating for Kavanaugh to be denied a seat on the Supreme Court.

Among the protestors detained were well-known celebrities Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski, both of whom argued that Kavanaugh was a sexual predator who was not fit for the highest court in the federal government.

A few days after he mocked Ford at a rally in Mississippi, painting her as an unstable woman whose testimony was not reliable or credible, President Donald Trump publicly criticized the protestors, referring to them as “paid professionals” who had been hired by left-wing political philanthropist George Soros.


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