If Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is confirmed without categorically proving the allegations against him are not true, the Supreme Court would have a second judge who is accused of alleged sexual misconduct.
The controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination is heating up with a second claim of sexual misconduct against him. Allegations that Kavanaugh exposed himself and behaved in an extraordinarily deplorable manner with Deborah Ramirez while they were both at Yale University surfaced over the weekend in a New Yorker article. This comes on the heels of the previous allegation by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 28 that Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted her during their high school days in the 1980s.
In a confidential letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, Ford shared the details of her harrowing experience at the hands of the man poised to become a judge in the country’s highest court. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Charles Grassley, released the letter to the public following Deborah Ramirez’s allegations.
Kavanaugh has defended himself against both women’s claims. In his letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh characterized these allegations as “smears, pure and simple.” Refusing to step aside, Kavanaugh stated that “the vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out.” Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump, a man who unabashedly bragged about kissing and groping women, defended his nominee to the Supreme Court, saying: “Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding person. I am with him all the way,” calling the allegations politically motivated. Standing by Kavanaugh are most Republicans, including Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.
How the Senate Judiciary Committee and the GOP conduct themselves in the next days and weeks will be a telling point in how far has America come in respecting women’s rights and appreciating their unique predicament when it comes to discussing sexual assault and harassment. In 1991, Anita Hill accused another Supreme Court nominee, Judge Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment. A group of men comprising of both Republicans and Democrats grilled Hill during a 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, displaying no sensitivity to the woman who had faced sexual harassment at the hands of a powerful man.
Particularly insensitive was Senator Arlen Specter, who accused Hill of perjury and called her testimony a “product of fantasy.” Hill could not sway the committee despite her valiant effort, and the alleged sexual harasser continues to date as a judge on the Supreme Court.
Disregard for the Truth
Now, 27 years later, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear Ford’s testimony. Sitting on the committee is Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who told Hill in 1991 that she got the idea for some of her charges from a horror film The Exorcist. The hearing is bound to proceed in the same fashion as Hill’s, where the Republicans will do their best to discredit Ford and make her feel uncomfortable with their insensitive questions. With the prospect of losing the House and the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections looming large, the Republicans are rushing through the process of confirming Kavanaugh’s nomination instead of devoting the time to perform a thorough investigation a matter of this import deserves.
In a display of total arrogance and complete disregard for the truth, McConnell has vowed to proceed with the full Senate vote no matter what happens in the upcoming testimony by Ford and Judge Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh’s behavior described by Ford does not seem to be an isolated incident. She mentions that his friend Mark Judge was present in the room when Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her. Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh at Georgetown Prep, has graphically outlined the drunken debauchery he and his friends routinely indulged in their high school years. In his book, God and Man at Georgetown Prep, Judge boasts that “Prep was a school positively swimming in alcohol, and my class partied with gusto.”
Notwithstanding Judge’s claim that he has no memory of the incident involving Ford, it is undoubtedly clear that such encounters routinely took place at Georgetown Prep in the 1980s. Kavanaugh’s page in his 1983 high school yearbook makes references to his drinking excesses as well as a reference to “Renate Alumnius,” possibly boasting of his conquests with Renate Schroeder, a student at a neighboring Catholic high school.
The mounting evidence against Kavanaugh’s character demands an investigation into the allegations that he had sexually assaulted Ford in high school and continued the pattern in college with Ramirez. An FBI investigation into the matter will shed more light on the events, which right now remain a “he said, she said” story. In a desperate attempt to cover up the truth and place the fifth conservative judge on the Supreme Court, the Republicans are racing to confirm Kavanaugh, going through the motions in the Senate Judiciary Committee before McConnell puts the nomination up for a full floor vote. Their efforts are aided by the only person who can order an FBI investigation, President Trump, who has indicated that he would not do so.
America is at a pivotal moment in its history today. The #MeToo movement has empowered women, allowing them to make big strides in seeking, and sometimes getting, the justice denied to them in the past. Republicans are desperately trying to change the composition of the Supreme Court, first by denying Merrick Garland his rightful place and now rushing through Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Pushing the nomination of someone accused of sexual misconduct would be a discouraging acknowledgement of the fact that not much has changed since 1991, even with the momentum from #MeToo movement.
Notwithstanding their liberal or conservative beliefs, every judge in the Supreme Court ought to possess the highest integrity and moral fiber. The onus is upon Kavanaugh and the Republicans to prove why allegations against him are false. In Clarence Thomas, we already have an alleged sexual harasser on the Supreme Court. If Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is confirmed without categorically proving the allegations against him are not true, the Supreme Court would have a second judge who is accused of alleged sexual misconduct. And that would indeed be a travesty of justice.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.