Kavanaugh accusations: A byproduct of #MeToo

The story begins in late June, when Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s median justice, announces his retirement. Most Supreme Court nominations are inconsequential, as the new judge is purposed to maintain an ideologically moderate court. But in filling his second Supreme Court vacancy in his short presidency, President Donald Trump elected Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a former White House official and current federal appeals court judge. With a strict Constructionist constitutional philosophy and deep-seated right-wing convictions, Kavanaugh will create a reliably conservative ruling body. With the shift to a 4-5 right-leaning judiciary, monumental social equality rulings are at risk of being overturned, including Roe v. Wade.

Nearly a year after the beginning of the #MeToo movement, Christine Blasey Ford found the courage to write a confidential letter to The Washington Post and her Congresswoman Dianne Feinstein, that accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the 1980s. The letter details how Kavanaugh forced himself onto Blasey Ford, attempted to rip her clothes off, and covered her mouth to muffle her screaming. Although Kavanaugh assures that the allegations are “categorically and unequivocally” false, there is sufficient evidence that supports Blasey Ford, including notes with her therapist documenting her emotional trauma and a screened polygraph test.

The story draws striking similarities to the 1991 confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, during which he was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill. The court quickly dismissed Hill’s accusations, showcasing the low esteem in which the court holds sexual harassment claims. The #MeToo movement has permanently changed this attitude, as it is now unfathomable to ignore these accusations. With today’s heightened awareness of sexual inequality, citizens now hold the court and politicians to a higher standard: we expect them to have integrity in the way they regard women and other marginalized groups.

Therefore, politicians from both sides of the aisle are committed to fully investigating the claims and Kavanaugh’s character before officially, appointing him to the nation’s highest court. In fact, a number of conservatives, including Kellyanne Conway and Senator Susan Collins (the key vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation) have agreed to examine the claims even if it means postponing the dream of a conservative court.

Although her testimony was originally disregarded, Hill’s testimony is now deemed a success. As a result, the court clarified the definitions of sexual assault, reevaluated a number of laws on sexual harassment and inspired women to become active political participants. With Hill’s testimony to guide her and the #MeToo movement behind her, Blasey Ford has a chance to permanently derail Kavanaugh’s nomination.

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