Opinions: Stripping away the politics

Trent Gautney, Opinions writer

A little over a year has passed since the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court. 

On October 6, 2018, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the highest court in the land by a 50-48 Senate vote and sworn in while shouts of “shame” could be heard from the galleries. This vote came mere days after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had attempted to rape her in the 1980s. 

During the September 27 hearing, Dr. Ford recounted her experience in excruciating detail. After she was finished testifying, Justice Kavanaugh proceeded to tell his side of the story: an enraged tirade filled with accusations of partisan conspiracy and his account of the pain that the Democrats had brought upon him and his family. 

Now, a year after this traumatic event, it’s time that we look at the ramifications of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, beyond the implications for the Court itself. 

Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process came in the midst of the #MeToo movement. The (successful) attempts of Kavanaugh and the Republican Senate to gaslight Dr. Ford and place himself as the victim were exactly the type of sexual and epistemic injustices that this movement occurred in response to. 

In Hollywood, individuals and companies were finally starting to listen to the many women that had been abused and ignored for years. Career offenders like Harvey Weinstein were finally seeing justice. 

The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh however, showed that this movement had not made it to Washington yet. 

Justice Kavanugh’s confirmation process reinforced to millions of people that individuals accused of sexual assault do not need to rely on facts and reasoning to exonerate; they need only use emotion and rage to victimize themselves rather than actually facing their accuser.

Everyone thought that Justice Clarence Thomas’s hearing nearly thirty years ago would be the last time that a man accused of sexual harassment would be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, it was not. 

Today, Justice Kavanaugh’s placement on the Supreme Court is regarded by many Republicans to be a political victory. Kavanaugh has become sort of a hero to many young Republican men.

However, stripping away the politics shows only that a year ago, a man was able to become a member of the highest court in the United States even in the midst of being accused of rape. The precedent that has been set is that a man in power will only gain more power despite what they may or may not have done. This is what we must grapple with as we move forward with a Supreme Court that is likely ready to strip the autonomy of women and only make it more acceptable for men like Brett Kavanaugh to achieve power.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].