BY TARA ZANNI
On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Democrats and Republicans clashed over the nomination only weeks before the pivotal midterm elections.
After Kavanaugh’s nomination by Trump, allegations of sexual assault against him surfaced. The woman who came forward with these allegations is Christine Blasey Ford; she claimed that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her three decades ago. Kavanaugh has denied these claims.
“I thought he had outstanding credentials and was well-suited for this appointment. I am now withholding judgment until Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser respond to further questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Professor Gary Rose, chair of the department of government, politics and global studies at Sacred Heart University.
Ford, now a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, told the Washington Post that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when both were teenagers in high school.
“I do not see how after these allegations that he could be trustworthy in the Supreme Court. It would make me uncomfortable knowing that someone making such important decisions regarding cases, that could even be about sexual assault, has had these claims made against him,” said junior Grace Farley.
Nominations for the Supreme Court are always made by the sitting president. If the Senate Judiciary Committee confirms the nomination, a floor vote is held for the nominee with a simple majority resulting in their confirmation.
Trump tweeted on Sept. 21 stating, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she brings those filings forwards so that we can learn date, time and place!”
Trump also tweeted earlier, “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation.”
Evangelical activists want Republican leaders to act more forcefully to send Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, expressing skepticism about the decades-old allegations of sexual assault levied against the federal judge. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, faith leaders, and others vowed that Trump’s nominee would win confirmation.
“This might sound harsh but there are so many more qualified judges, who haven’t been accused of sexual assault, that they should try to find a better choice,” said junior RJ Innamorato. “There are definitely some people who will be against the appointment and it may lead to protests. If a trial that involves the talk of sexual assault comes to his court room, his view might be skewed after these events.”
“If there is no firm evidence supporting the allegation, then I would say that his confirmation is still justified,” said Dr. Rose, “But it all comes down to whether or not the allegation can be supported. There is presumption of innocence until guilt it proven. Accusations alone are not enough to derail a Supreme Court nomination particularly after the nominee has been thoroughly vetted.”
As of publication of this article, Ford’s attorneys and the Senate Judiciary Committee have reached an agreement for a public hearing on Thursday, Sept. 27. Additionally, on Sunday night The New Yorker reported on a second allegation of sexual misconduct, this one coming from Deborah Ramirez, 53, who claims that Kavanaugh sexually harassed her at a party during his freshman year at Yale.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.