Op-Ed: Kavanaugh Confirmation is Chillingly Familiar

October 17, 2018

History seems doomed to repeat itself in the Kavanaugh Confirmation.

The past weeks have drawn striking parallels to the allegations made against Justice Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill in 1991. Once again it appears that the experiences and testimony of victimized women will be ignored, and a potential sexual aggressor will be allowed to sit on the highest court in our land. Except this time, there was barely an cursory investigation into the allegations against Judge, or should I say Justice, Brett Kavanaugh.


The Allegation

The incident in question is a set of allegations placed on Judge Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Ford. Dr. Ford, a psychology professor at Stanford University, came forward publically with the allegations in September. She stated that, at a party during the summer after her senior year, Kavanaugh helped another man drag her into a bedroom. She claims that Kavanaugh held her down and covered her mouth while the other man climbed on top of her.

Luckily, Dr. Ford was able to escape before the assault turned into something worse, but she has been facing the consequences of this assault ever since. Dr. Ford has faced anxiety and PTSD symptoms, as well as problems making friends and sustaining relationships.

Dr. Ford states that she had no partisan motivation in her allegations. Instead, she simply wanted to make sure the Senate had all the information before confirming Kavanaugh. Her logic appears to be sound. She had everything to lose from coming forward, and her worst nightmares have come through. Her family has been ripped apart as they are shuttled between safe houses. She has left her job and life behind, all so she could bring her story to the public. In order to do so, she agreed to testify at Kavanaugh’s rushed confirmation hearing.


The Hearing

Rather than holding an investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, as was done in the Anita Hill case as well as all other similar instances, Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was held with no prior investigation.

Despite this, and despite the extremely limited amount of time she had to prepare, Dr. Ford presented herself for testimony. During her grueling day of testimony, Dr. Ford remained calm and collected. She stated her story to the best of her memory, and assured with “100% certainty” that it was Judge Kavanaugh who assaulted her.

Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, became defensive and emotional during his testimony. He himself, writing in the Wall Street Journal, stated that he “might have been too emotional”. While being accused of sexual assault is a difficult and distressing process to go through, his emotional display raises questions about the double standards still evident in Congress. Dr. Ford had to remain utterly composed for her story to even be slightly believed, yet Judge Kavanaugh was allowed to show a full range of emotions while maintaining the assumption of credibility. 

As the confirmation hearings wound to a close, the validity of Dr. Ford’s claims was still unknown. In order to provide more information, a background check was ordered.


The Background Check

After Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing on Saturday, President Trump ordered the FBI to run a background check on Judge Kavanaugh. The investigation, however was limited from the start. The investigation focused only on the allegation made by Dr. Ford and not by the other women who came forward with similar claims surrounding Judge Kavanaugh.

Furthermore, the investigation was incredibly short, ending on Wednesday the 3rd – only six days after the confirmation hearing. Only ten people were interviewed, and the truth of the allegations was not determined. However, it appears that even this lackluster investigation was enough to exonerate Kavanaugh in the eyes of Republicans.


The Confirmation 

Despite the allegations made against him, despite his emotional response during his testimony, and despite the rushed and limited background investigation,  it appears that Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

On Friday October 5th, the last remaining undecided Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, was quickly followed by Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin as both pledged their support for Judge Kavanaugh. As Sen. Collins stated, she believed that in order to discount the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh they must meet a “threshold of ‘more likely than not’”.  According to her, this threshold was not met.

With these crucial votes in hand, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh on Saturday October 5th.

It now appears that the highest court in the land will gain one more alleged sexual assaulter.

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