How Did We Get Here?

It all began on June 27, 2018, when Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 82, announced that he would retire after serving three decades in the United States Supreme Court.

Justice Kennedy had been the swing vote on a polarized court with issues like abortion, gay rights, and the death penalty. This has lead to worry for the future of women as a conservative judge is more likely to replace the liberal views of Judge Kennedy. More so because the Senate constitutes of 100 members, in which the majority party is Republican with 51 members.

On July 19, 2018, the president announced Brett Kavanaugh, 53, as the nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. He went to Georgetown Preparatory School and received his undergraduate and law degree from Yale University. During his time as an undergraduate at Yale, Kavanaugh was part of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity where it was said that he was a heavy drinker.

Even before starting college, Mr. Kavanaugh and his friends would drink beer while in high school. During a Fox News interview, Mr. Kavanaugh said “drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there.” Yet, the legal age for drinking in Maryland increased to 21 back in July of 1982 and Mr. Kavanaugh didn’t turn 18 until February 1983. Meaning that those who were 18, before the change of age on July 1982, were still allowed to drink, in the state of Maryland.  

Reports by Chad Ludington, a past classmate of Kavanaugh, issues a statement on Sunday, September 30, 2018, about Kavanaugh’s drinking habit.

Full Statement:

“I have been contacted by numerous reporters about Brett Kavanaugh and have not wanted to say anything because I had nothing to contribute about what kind of justice he would be. I knew Brett at Yale because I was a classmate and a varsity basketball player and Brett enjoyed socializing with athletes. Indeed, athletes formed the core of Brett’s social circle.

In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale. When I watched Brett and his wife being interviewed on Fox News on Monday, and when I watched Brett deliver his testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I cringed. For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.

I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18- or even 21-year-old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct and repeated knowledge about his drinking and his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett’s actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation’s most powerful judges

I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth.

I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett, and I offer this statement to the press. I have no desire to speak further publicly, and nothing more to say to the press at this time. I will, however, take my information to the F.B.I.”

But Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t just have a history of drinking. Psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, and a research Psychologist at Stanford University School of Medicine,  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward through a confidential letter sent to her Senator, Dianne Feinstein. The letter expresses her concern with the nominee and the account of her sexual assault allegation of Brett Kavanaugh. Two more allegations against Kavanaugh have come up after Dr. Ford came forward, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

On September 27, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in front of the judiciary committee and the entire world, provided her accounts of what happened to her 36 years ago. She recounts that during a small house party of the summer of 1982, a drunk Mr. Kavanaugh,17 at the time, pinned Dr. Ford, 15, to the bed, groped her, tried to remove her clothes, and cover her mouth to restrict her ability to ask for help while Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge was said to be witness to what took place in that room.

Dr. Ford stood  in front of the Judiciary committee, 11 Republicans, all men, and 10 democrats, composed of six men and four women. In order for the Republicans not to recreate the Anita Hill case in 1991, and the concept of “he said, she said”, they brought in Rachel Mitchell, an independent prosecutor with experience in sex crimes to question Brett and Dr. Ford. Senator Lindsey Graham  said, “If you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you have done to this guy. You are looking for a fair process, you came to the wrong town at the wrong time.” The Republican majority set up the process in a flawed manner. The Republicans only called two people making it difficult to prevent the “he said, she said.”

Dr. Ford opened her statement with “I am here today not because I want to be: I am terrified. I am here today because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me with Brett.” Dr. Ford’s composure throughout the hearing was polarizing to Kavanaugh’s crying and anger outburst. While Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement said, “This whole two- week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with the apparent pent- up anger about president Trump and the 2016 election. Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.” It should be noted that judgement and temperament are part of his job and his demonstration during the hearings are at stake.

This has brought much of the attention of the  double standards women face that men don’t face as an obstacle in everyday life. CNN columnist and analyst, Kirsten Powers wrote, “Imagine an alternate reality where Dr. Ford had yelled, cried, engaged in self- pity and interrupted senators with snarky questions. How do you think that would have gone for her?” And on the day of Dr. Ford’s public hearing, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne told MSNBC, “Can you imagine if a woman came to this hearing and had a temper tantrum and screamed and interrupted senators and behaved in the manner in which he has? She’d be taken out of the room in a straight jacket… and instead, because he’s a guy, it’s acceptable behaviour. And the President undoubtedly will be proud of him because he’s fighting back”. And indeed, the President of the United States tweeted on September 27, 2018, “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, resist. The Senate must vote!”

As it came time for Brett to be questioned by Rachel Mitchell, she was cut off by the Republican Senators who began speeches on lamenting the situation that Brett and his family are going through. Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, told Kavanaugh that “this is hell and the most unethical sham that he has seen in his career as a politician”. “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics”

Brett Kavanaugh’s evidence was a calendar from 1982 that showed in detail events that took place during these times. It showed two names out of the four people in which Dr. Ford mentioned had been at the party, Mark Judge and PJ. Even though the evidence of the calendar demonstrated a sort of credibility, his high school yearbook said otherwise. Him and his friends in the yearbook bragged about being Renate Alumni, referring to a girl that they knew. Kavanaugh apologized, saying that it was “clumsily intended to show affection , and that she was one of us”. Yet Renate didn’t know anything about this saying that “... ‘ the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”’ Many terms have been taken into questioning that are shown in the yearbook like “boof”, “Ralph” and ‘Devil’s Triangle”. Jaime Roche, Kavanaugh’s classmate, told Anderson Cooper from CNN that, “I was shocked when I heard that. Those words were commonly used, and they were references to sexual activities. If you think about the context in which you might hear those words, the way that he described them and the way that they are defined, they are not interchangeable. I heard them talk about it regularly.” Devil’s Triangle is commonly  known as a threesome with two men and one women and Mr. Kavanaugh told the senators during the hearing that it was a drinking game. Four alumni from Georgetown Preparatory School supported these claims on October 5, 2018. "When we played 'Devil’s Triangle,' four people sat at a table. On the table, three small glasses of beer were arranged next to one another to form a triangle. Each of the four participants took turns being the “shooter," they wrote. "The shooter attempted to bounce a quarter into one of the glasses. If the quarter landed in one of the glasses, the person at the table sitting nearest that glass had to drink the beer” (Samuel Chamberlain, FOX News).

Brett Kavanaugh, throughout the hearing, would dodge the question if he would support an FBI investigation in which his response was “ I will do whatever the committee wants done” or he would stay silent. Senator Flake from Arizona called for an FBI Investigation after being confronted by sexual assault survivors due to him saying that Kavanaugh has his vote. This encounter lead victims to speak up to him that if he votes yes, sexual assault survivors don’t matter; that what happened to them don’t matter.

And even though an F.B.I. investigation has been taken place over the last couple of days, there have been reports that there are still dozens of potential sources that have not been contacted, in which that includes, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford herself.

 

On October 2, 2018, during a rally campaign in Southaven, Mississippi, President Donald Trump mocked sexual assault survivor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. CNN reported,

"I had one beer. Well, do you think it was -- nope, it was one beer," Trump said, mimicking Ford's testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know."

Trump's comments were met with laughter and applause from the crowd.

"I don't know. I don't know," the President continued. "What neighborhood was it in? I don't know. Where's the house? I don't know. Upstairs, downstairs -- where was it? I don't know -- but I had one beer. That's the only thing I remember."

 

Voting will take place on the Senate floor on Friday after Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell filed for a cloture to end the debate for the nominee late Wednesday night after the F.B.I investigation concluded.  

The New York Times reported on October 4, 2018 that “Senior White House officials and Senate Republicans were increasingly confident Thursday morning that summaries of interviews conducted by the F.B.I. would help clear Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation, people familiar with the information collected said”.

Even though many don’t understand why Dr. Christine Blasey Ford spoke up after 36 years and why we are condemning Mr. Kavanaugh for something that happened during his teenage years, it needs to be understood that those who have been sexually assaulted  will never forget what happened to them and time in essence doesn’t matter. Feelings are not correlated with time and Dr. Blasey Ford will never forget what happened to her on that night.This is all about accountability and serving the consequences of one’s actions no matter when it took place.

This is not about who wins or who losses, this is about finding the truth.