On October 6, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. On national television, Donald Trump apologized to Kavanaugh for the inconvenience of the allegations and openly mocked Dr. Ford’s testimony.
For many, Kavanaugh’s confirmation was highly emotional. It seemed to demonstrate that political gain is more important than fundamental female rights. It demonstrated the polarization of American politics and the need to toe the party line regardless of circumstance. Not a single Republican voted against Kavanaugh, and only one abstained. Five female Republican senators decided to aid the election of a judge who shows no commitment to the protection of women’s rights.
The White House ignored the allegations against Kavanaugh and ordered a patchy investigation in order to appease the public. They chose to omit witnesses who claimed to have evidence to substantiate Dr. Ford’s claims.
The treatment of Dr. Ford demonstrates the struggle of women who have suffered from sexual harassment. She was accused of being a political pawn and a liar. The Republican narrative took on a central theme of misplaced victimhood; the right-wing media was quick to portray Dr. Ford as perpetuating injustice.
Her claims were undermined due to the time gap between the incident and her testimony. When all else failed, Republican voters and politicians attempted to justify Kavanaugh’s behaviour:
“Boys will be boys.”
“All boys make mistakes; at that age testosterone is flying high.”
“Should we judge a man based on his behaviour in high school?”
The testimony of Dr. Ford was one of the most televised allegations of sexual assault in the nation’s history. The verdict sends a loud message to other victims of sexual assault: your allegations will be aggressively attacked, and evidence of wrongdoing might not ensure the delivery of justice.
Regardless of your personal take on the allegations, it is crucial to consider Kavanaugh’s credibility as a Supreme Court Justice. Throughout his testimony, Kavanaugh lied repeatedly about his drinking habits and his behaviour in high school and college. By committing perjury, Kavanaugh has demonstrated disregard for a system he was elected to uphold.
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has resulted in a conservative majority in the Supreme Court. As Supreme Court seats are a lifetime appointment, Kavanaugh’s nomination has ensured that Trump’s political influence will outlive his own administration. Concern over the Supreme Court’s future is further exacerbated by speculations regarding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s retirement.
The Supreme Court’s neutrality and credibility have been effectively undermined by the proceedings of the trial and the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. The confirmation has revealed divisions within American society and calls for urgent reform of checks and balances within our political system.