Kavanaugh Confirmed into the Supreme Court Despite Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Oscar Flores, Copy Editor

Brett Kavanaugh, after testifying on Sept. 27, was officially confirmed to be a Supreme Court Justice on Oct. 6.  The Senate vote came to a final decision of 50-48, with the majority of approval votes coming from conservatives.  


Senator Susan B. Collins’s (R-ME) vote assured Kavanaugh’s ascendence to the highest court in the U.S., but she received backlash from women advocating on behalf of Christine Blasey Ford.  Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) followed suit – he broke from his party and announced his support for Kavanaugh as well.


#MeToo protesters gathered on Capitol Hill shortly thereafter to express their dissatisfaction with the overall decision, with many shouting “Shame!” during and after the proceeding.  Others took to social media to initiate larger discussions on issues of gender and power in government.


President of Junior State of America (JSA) and vocal speaker on political issues, Allyssa Chan, 11, was not surprised by the confirmation but hopes that it does not increase the divide among Americans.


“Honestly, I wasn’t surprised that he got confirmed.  With all the stats that gave the projected outcome, it made sense that the he [Kavanaugh] got confirmed,” Chan stated.  “I feel that this fight was a struggle for both sides of the spectrum, and I hope that this motivates them [Democrats and Republicans] to try to work together rather than continue the division.”


Partisan bickering between Democrats and Republicans on Kavanaugh’s nomination began before sexual misconduct accusations were brought up.  His appointment by Trump was met with resistance due to his past stance on legal issues. Compared to judge Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh is more committed to conservative ideals, while Kennedy occasionally deviated from his conservative stance.  By placing Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court, worries grew among Democrats and reproductive rights advocates’ that he and the rest of the high court (now a Republican majority) could overturn Roe v. Wade – a court case upholding a woman’s right to abortions.


Even though Kavanaugh contended during his confirmation hearing that he understands “…the importance of the precedent set in Roe v. Wade,” questions still remain on how he would rule in the decision to overturn it.  


Current AP Government student Yaneli Ochoa, 12, believes that even with a firm conservative judge, the precedent held by Roe is unlikely to be overruled.


“See even if the Supreme Court is mostly Republican; it’s really hard to overturn something like Roe v. Wade which I am in full support of.  I may be religious but I still also believe that it is a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body,” Ochoa said.  “I personally do not believe that they will overturn Roe v. Wade because there would be a lot of backlash; I honestly believe that things will stay the same, at least right now.”


Despite the polarizing question of Kavanaugh’s stance on Roe, it was not until after Dr. Ford’s letter was leaked without her consent that tensions spiked in the nomination case.  Ford came out as the author of the letter to a reporter from The Washington Post on Sept. 16, four days after the letter leaked to The Intercept.  Called before the Senate to testify on Sept. 27, Ford recounted a moment in 1982 where Kavanaugh attempted to rape her during a house party.  In response, Kavanaugh vehemently denied the claims that he and his friend, Mark Judge, sexually assaulted her when she was 15.


Once the committee finished hearing their personal statements, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AR) called for a delay on the Senate vote for a week so the FBI could look into the sexual misconduct allegations; there was one caveat to the situation though – the scope of the investigation was limited, leaving the FBI to use only the information that was available at the time.  They could investigate Ford’s testimony, Deborah Ramirez’s account (which was first reported by The New Yorker), and Julie Swetnick’s allegation.  If any new information came to light the week of Oct. 1 through Oct. 5, the FBI was prohibited from researching it.


In the end, the FBI’s investigation was unable to corroborate any allegations against Kavanaugh, leading Collins and Manchin to approve him to the high court.


With the midterm elections coming up on Nov. 6, Kavanaugh’s confirmation holds value considering the fact that Republicans hold a slim majority over Democrats in the Senate.  


For senior Francisco Martinez, the midterms will act as a pendulum, with Democratic voters restoring balance to both the Senate and the House.


“I think that the Kavanaugh case will lead to a push for more Democratic presence in our Senate and House of Representatives,” Martinez stated.  “The addition of Kavanaugh will likely encourage the desire for more balance of political parties as seen throughout time.”


Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote is the most recent case to have won by a narrow margin; in 1991, Anita Hill brought forward sexual harassment allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas, yet he was still appointed to the Supreme Court by a final decision of 52-48.  This decision brought up crucial questions, especially now because of the #MeToo movement, regarding sexual assault cases and how many men are held accountable for their actions.