Written by Noah M. Abbot |
The Supreme Court is among the most powerful bodies in the United States. It is the duty of nine, carefully selected, justices to uphold up the rule of law and order, in the most powerful nation of the world. On July 9th, President Donald Trump presented his nominee to the world: Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh is a conservative with many ties to the Republican establishment and a widely respected and highly qualified judge for the Supreme Court. Him being a conservative justice would tip the scales of the court 5:4, in favour of the traditional and Republican interpretation of the Law and the American Constitution.
But this changes with the arrival of Dr Christine Blasey Ford.
Dr Ford on 30th of July, sent a letter to the California Senator Dianne Feinstein, claiming that Kavanaugh and one of his friends had sexually assaulted her during a small house party in the early 1980s.
Feinstein and Ford had repeated conversations over the next couple of months. During this time, Senator Feinstein never sent the letter to the FBI or to the Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. She also had a one-on-one interview with Judge Kavanaugh and did not show the letter to the accused. By this time, she had already given Dr Ford a recommendation for a lawyer. It was only until after Kavanaugh’s first hearing that this letter becomes public knowledge.
Ford’s case could have been investigated before Kavanaugh’s hearing and kept confidential – as she had initially hoped for. However, this path was blighted when Senator Feinstein’s withholding of the letter sparked backlash amongst Republicans and Democrats. Feinstein denied any political motivations at the hearing, regarding her handling of Dr Ford’s letter, but this did little to stymie Republican claims that this was a political hit job against Kavanaugh.
“Then entered Judge Kavanaugh, lambasting the Democrats for as ‘scheming’ against him.”
After Chairman Grassley and Senator Feinstein gave their opening speeches, Dr Ford stepped up. She captivated the whole of America- from Fox News down to the twenty-one Senate Judiciary Committee members that sat looking down on her. Then entered Judge Kavanaugh, lambasting the Democrats for as ‘scheming’ against him. He called the Democrats’ fight against his nomination “a smear campaign” and a “revenge on behalf of the Clintons”.
Kavanaugh’s rage towards the Democrats was felt by many across the country. The Republicans on the committee chimed in angrily, announcing Kavanaugh’s rage as justified. However, Kavanaugh had shown – and still shows – a lack of bipartisanship which is required of judges. In the end, Kavanaugh lost the Republican vote in the Senate for his partisan responses.
“This hearing did little to change the committee’s opinion, or the opinion of the American people – all of them had their minds made up the moment they read the news.”
Tragically the hearing was rifled with common political biases. Neither party- Republican or Democratic- should have been satisfied with the testimonies. Little could be made of Ford’s story, and Kavanaugh’s answers were as useless (and somewhat embarrassingly) as trying to use a toothpick to unlock a door. This hearing did little to change the committee’s opinion, or the opinion of the American people – all of them had their minds made up the moment they read the news.
After the hearing, Republican Senator Jeff Flake, an undecided vote on Kavanaugh, was confronted by sexual assault survivors. In the Judiciary Committee’s vote, Senator Flake appealed that he would vote in favour of Kavanaugh, only if the FBI investigated Dr Ford’s case.
The FBI had one week to look into the accusation. It brought little to the table, but enough for undecided Republican Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake to approve. In the end, Judge Kavanaugh, on the 6th of October, was confirmed to the Supreme Court with a 50-48 vote.
“It is unlikely the American people will ever truly know who spoke the truth.”
It was bound to be that way. Generations will live and die before the courts are at peace with the American people and the parties in power. The most hurtful and unfortunate outcome of this hearing is that Dr Ford’s story has been swept under the political rug. Truth and justice were taken for granted. It is unlikely the American people will ever truly know who spoke the truth. It is even more unlikely that this nomination will heal the Supreme Court war, thus leaving America evermore angry and divided.
You can just add it to the worryingly long list of divisive matters in these troubling times. It is just another brick in the wall.