OPINION: Kavanaugh’s confirmation process is more evidence that the Supreme Court is undemocratic

Noah Meyer, Opinions Editor

*Correction: 1:15 p.m. An earlier version of this opinion piece said that there were 535 representatives. There are only 100 senators in the Senate.

The United States has spent most of its existence attempting to make itself synonymous with freedom and democracy. The Land of the Free is supposed to be where everyone can be anyone, and the common person may have their voice heard through the democratic process and representatives who represent their interests. It should already be obvious that none of this really holds true in reality, and the most obvious, glaringly undemocratic institution remains the Supreme Court.

The common person has no real say in who is appointed to the Supreme Court. It is instead one of many responsibilities too important for the common rabble to decide; rather, justices are selected by the president, then decided upon by the nation’s faithful representatives in Senate through confirmation hearings. Thus, there is no real interaction between the citizen and the Supreme Court nomination process. One may call their senator to accept or reject a nomination, but it is still up to the will of 100 representatives to decide if a candidate is suitable, and a citizen has zero control over who is nominated; that decision being wholly the responsibility of one person: the president.

Even the current size of the Supreme Court is out of the hands of the citizenry. With Trump being able to nominate two justices during his current tenure, Trump’s presidency, even if nothing else he does leaves any legacy, will leave more than a fifth of the Supreme Court his personal decision until they resign or die, because nothing says democracy like lifetime appointments. However, even the longstanding nine-member Supreme Court could always be subject to change. There is nothing in the Constitution that limits the amount of Supreme Court justices, a feat FDR historically attempted by trying to change the number of justices to fifteen. Technically, if a president wanted to increase the court size by five hundred, he could with Senate approval. Nothing would say “Land of the Free” more than five hundred unelected, lifetime-appointed justices making rulings that may affect the nation for centuries.

All of this precedes the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Like most Supreme Court nominees, he is obviously a Republican-partisan, which isn’t itself unique for a nominee. If one must appoint a lifetime justice that wields significant power, it only makes political sense to appoint one with a matching agenda (a basic political observation Obama failed to make with his nomination of Merrick Garland). Another aspect of Kavanaugh’s nomination that isn’t unique is that he has been accused of sexual assault, mirroring previous allegations against Clarence Thomas.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

There is merit in discussing the heaps of evidence that suggest Kavanaugh is no angel: ranging from the accusation itself to his strange, perverse friend Mark Judge; his practice of specifically hiring attractive young women as law clerks; or to his membership in a frat that waved a flag of women’s underwear and recently chanted “no means yes, yes means anal” as well as a Yale secret society officially called “Truth and Courage,” but known as “Tit and Clit.”

Even if the accusation against Kavanaugh is disproven and he is confirmed, the Land of the Free will have a man appointed to the Supreme Court for a lifetime who was a member of a misogynistic frat that has progressed from flying women’s underwear as flags to chanting pro-rape slogans at Yale’s Women’s Center.

Kavanaugh is just another symptom of the wider problem of aristocracy in politics. Kavanaugh may not be proven guilty of sexual assault, but his pattern of behavior suggests he is a relentlessly perverse misogynist. Our nation will have this man as a member of the Supreme Court for decades, with zero interaction from citizens, a plurality of which oppose his nomination, in the entire confirmation process. If there was ever evidence of the absolute farce that is American democracy, the fact that Kavanaugh is even a possible applicant for a lifetime position in any institution relating to justice is it.

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