Is History Repeating Itself With Brett Kavanaugh?

On September 27, 2018 Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was called after Ford’s claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980’s. This accusation went public just as Republicans were getting ready to vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment. There was debate on whether Ford would appear before a Senate Judiciary Committee, she preferred the idea of an F.B.I. investigation. Despite her reservations, Ford came forward and delivered an emotional testimony, as did Kavanaugh. More than 20 million people tuned into the live recording of the testimonies, with many news outlets like CBS News live fact-checking and documenting the experience.

According to The New York Times, Kavanaugh has three accusers including Ford. The other two women are Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. Ramirez accuses Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a drinking game in college and Swetnick attests to being present at parties during high-school which Kavanaugh also attended and most likely took part in verbal and sexual abuse of women. To all three accusations, Kavanaugh vehemently denies having any involvement in any of the situations detailed by the three women, stating that it is a ploy to delay the vote and ruin his reputation. A fourth accusation has also come forward, although in the form of an anonymous letter yet to be confirmed. The letter states that a woman’s daughter witnessed Kavanaugh roughly force himself upon another girl.

The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing cannot help but bring to mind the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy that happened when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was first nominated in 1991. Hill, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, came forward before Thomas’ confirmation hearing with accusations of sexual harassment when she worked for him years prior. After a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee and an FBI investigation, Justice Thomas was confirmed and the controversy put behind him.

Now that Kavanaugh is facing similar allegations to Justice Thomas, it begs the question of whether or not he will end up being our new Supreme Court Justice, a position held for life. Republicans called for a vote on confirming Kavanaugh after the Senate hearing, but President Donald Trump has instructed that a brief F.B.I. investigation take place before there can be a vote.  With movements in the past year pushing for justice for sexually harassed or assaulted women versus the precedent set by the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas in the 1990’s, it’s hard to tell which way Congress will go regarding the appointment of the next Supreme Court Justice. This next week will be a turning point in the controversy, and it’ll be worth keeping an eye on as it unfolds.