Brett Kavanaugh: Supreme Court Justice or Supreme Court Injustice?

Annie Sinert, Contributing Writer

I have been a student at Clark University for just over a month. Within that time, I have made friends, eaten probably too much ice cream from Higgins, explored Worcester, and, unfortunately, been exposed to the harsh realities of sexual assault.

Within the first two weeks of my time here, I heard about an incident of sexual assault on campus. Those involved had gone to the Title IX office where, according to what they shared with me, they were told that because the perpetrator was not currently “dangerous” and no physical rape had taken place, he would get a warning and, unless something else happened, that would be the end of it. Despite the victims having incredible levels of anxiety and unrest about the situation, there was nothing to be done because it wasn’t a case of “real” sexual assault.

According to a study from the United States Department of Justice, one-in-five women are likely to be sexually assaulted during their four years in college, one-in-six as freshmen. The study also found that only 10% of these cases were reported to authorities. The other 90% go unreported. Unmentioned. Buried. Forgotten. Despite the support systems for sexual assault victims that almost every college has instituted in recent years, a majority of the time, victims go through this trauma alone. I know that for my friend, after being turned down by the Title IX office, it was too hard for her to go anywhere else. She relied on support from her friends and family and is still working to move past it. 

Forty years ago, things were different. When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was attacked during a high school party, she had nowhere to go – no support systems to turn to. She spent years trying to forget what happened to her and move past it. Years later when she was finally in a place where she wasn’t haunted by the attack on a daily basis, she heard that none other than the man who had done this to her had been nominated for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. Upon hearing this, she knew she could no longer stay silent. She felt she had to share her story in an attempt to keep Brett Kavanaugh off of the highest court in the land. 

On October 6th, 2018, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court despite numerous allegations of sexual assault from Dr. Ford and several other parties. The allegations created quite a spectacle during his confirmation hearing, including gut-wrenching testimony from Dr. Ford, memorable pro-Kavanaugh outbursts from Senators such as Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, and hundreds of sexual assault survivors and supporters protesting in and around the Capitol building. With the support of the Republican-controlled Senate and President Donald Trump, Kavanaugh was confirmed as the 114th Supreme Court Justice. 

Kavanaugh lasted almost a full year on the Supreme Court before he was once again accused of sexual assault, this time by fellow Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez. In an interview with the New York Times, Ramirez said that during a drunken dorm party, “Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, promoting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it.” She also mentioned that the good-girl status she had pridefully carried her whole life had been “ripped away in one evening.” Her friends and family confirm that they had known about the incident far before Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation and another classmate, Max Stier, claimed that he had seen Kavanaugh doing the same thing to another girl at a different party. Kavanaugh declined to comment or answer any questions concerning the allegation.

When looking at both of these allegations and the others that arose during his initial confirmation hearing, it is a wonder to me how a man like Brett Kavanaugh has the privilege of serving as a Supreme Court Justice for our country. His behavior during his hearing and the fact that he did not have the decency to utter an apology to any of the women who accused him is enough to question his credibility and beg the question: how could our government let him onto the court? Democrats in Congress are demanding an impeachment trial for Kavanaugh and I am all for it. A man like Kavanaugh should not be interpreting our laws and our Constitution. Our government has given him too much power and it is time that power be revoked. 

With men like Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct more times than I can count on my fingers, being the faces of our country, the outrage following this new allegation is no surprise. We are currently living in a time where a man can force himself upon a woman and, not only will he get away with it, but he may be given the honor of a seat on the highest court in the land. Kavanaugh deserves an impeachment trial and women like Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez deserve to have their voices heard. 

A man waving his penis publicly in the face of an unwilling woman is not “harmless fun,” as The Times wrote in a tweet that was later deleted. He’s doing it to prove to her and to witnesses that he can embarrass and abuse her and there is not a thing she can do about it because of misogynistic societal standards. Confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court shows the public that anyone can sexually assault another person and the government will not do anything to help them. They will glorify the abuser, telling people that pursuing allegations will “ruin” the abuser’s life and future. It opens a door that allows sexual assault to roam free with no fear of consequence. It pushes our country further down the rabbit hole that we have been trying to dig ourselves out of for decades. The dirt is falling in and we don’t have a shovel.