Supreme Court Nominee Faces Backlash After Accusations

Any Supreme Court nomination provokes partisan backlash. But once you factor in major accusations against the nominee, much more comes to light.

S. Crawford '20

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In late June, 2018, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring, leaving an open seat on the Supreme Court. Shortly after Kennedy’s announcement, President Trump held a press conference to announce Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to fill Kennedy’s seat.

Kavanaugh has an extensive educational and professional background that is crucial in understanding the reasons for his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory school in Bethesda, Maryland, before going to Yale University where he earned an undergraduate degree in History. He then continued into Yale Law School, graduating in 1990. After graduating from law school, Kavanaugh worked as a law clerk for a number of judges, including Anthony Kennedy, the very man he may replace in the Supreme Court. After working as a clerk, Kavanaugh went to work for Ken Starr, helping Starr to write The Starr Report, arguing in favor of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, Kavanaugh worked for him in many capacities. First, Kavanaugh took position as an associate to the White House Council, later becoming an assistant to the President and White House Staff Secretary.

In 2006, Judge Anthony Kennedy swore Kavanaugh into The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, after Bush nominated him for the position. Kavanaugh has held this position since 2006, and the Supreme Court has adhered to 13 of his decisions.

Based on such details as his professional resume, Kavanaugh looks like the perfect candidate for Supreme Court. Many people, however, have fought his nomination from the very beginning.

Critics of Kavanaugh’s state that he is unlikely to keep an open mind and consider all sides of an argument presented to him. This issue caused Kavanaugh’s nomination to the DC Circuit to stall for three years, and critics have brought it up again since his nomination for the Supreme Court.

Another issue that has affected Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court is his history of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh previously told senators of the Judiciary Committee that he had not met with other White House officials to discuss withholding lawyers from detained enemy combatants. It appears, however, that Kavanaugh did participate in conversations regarding this very matter.

A third roadblock in Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is perhaps the most well known of them all: the sexual assault allegations made against him. Two women have come forward accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. One alleged incident occurred when Kavanagh was 17-years-old. In an anonymous letter sent to Senator Diane Feinstein, the victim stated that a drunk Kavanaugh pulled her into a room and groped her, only stopping when another student made him lose his balance, allowing the victim to escape. This victim has come forward as Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University.

The second incident allegedly occurred while Kavanaugh studied at Yale University. The victim has stated that Kavanaugh unsolicitedly exposed himself to her during a party.

These allegations have been at the forefront of the press coverage regarding Kavanaugh’s hearings.  

Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied these accusations, calling them “smears.” He states that he will fight his case and defend his honor; in fact, Kavanaugh plans to make a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday, as will one of his accusers, Blasey Ford.

It is uncertain whether or not Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court. It is clear, however, that many people will stand by Kavanaugh due to his extensive professional background. It is also clear that Kavanaugh has lost supporters due to the sexual assault allegations made against him, as well as his reputation for being closed-minded and history of misleading the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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