The Bucknellian

Editorial: Analyzing the developing narrative against Brett Kavanaugh


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The question of focus surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should not be whether her claims are true, but rather, how incriminating these claims are to the integrity of the candidate.

The approach to Dr. Ford’s allegations has largely revolved around partisan notions of the defamation of Kavanaugh’s image, emerging almost entirely from the Republican party, or his supporters. Perhaps the most problematic issue in this particular case is timing. While Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump on July 9 of this year,  the allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh from Dr. Ford, a Professor of Psychology at Palo Alto University, surfaced on Sept. 16; when such reports were published, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings had already concluded.

It is critical to note that Dr. Ford initially reported her experience to Senator Dianne Feinstein this summer with the intention that the information be included on a background report on Kavanaugh completed by the FBI, and heard in confidential judiciary hearings about the nominee. She also intended that her identity remain confidential. According to “The Washington Post,” Dr. Ford did not intend for her allegations to come under intense public scrutiny, nor did she expect them to hold a significant effect on Kavanaugh’s standing as a nominee: “why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said.

Following Dr. Ford’s accusations come the stories of Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale Unversity, and Julie Swetnick, an acquaintance of Kavanaugh in high school. While Ramirez affirms that Kavanaugh forced his naked genitals upon her without her consent, Swetnick claims to be familiar with Kavanaugh’s aggressively inappropriate behavior towards girls in his high school years.

Nonetheless, despite the implicating details of these reports, Kavanaugh is not on trial for his actions. What is at stake is not the truth of these accusations, but rather the integrity of Kavanaugh as a candidate. The Bucknellian is not questioning the truth of Dr. Ford’s allegations, but rather, Kavanaugh.

The reasonable response to sexual assault is to judge the character and virtue of the alleged perpetrator accordingly. However, in this particular case, when the preservation of conservative ideologies in the Supreme Court has been laid to rest on the nomination of Kavanaugh, morality has taken the back seat. With November fast approaching, the midterm elections hold just as great a stake in Kavanaugh’s nomination as the 2016 presidential election did when Merrick Garland was nominated to the Court. Where some senators, on both sides of the aisle, stand on this issue depends on the safety of their reelection campaigns.

Thus, when the morality of sexual assault simply cannot be questioned, the only thing left to attack is the validity of the allegations. For this reason, Dr. Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick continue to endure relentless scrutiny and defamation on the part of Kavanaugh’s supporters and several media reports. At the time of this article’s publication, Dr. Ford was yet to testify before the judiciary committee. The Bucknellian intends to reevaluate Kavanaugh’s standing following Dr. Ford’s testimony throughout this developing narrative.

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The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University
Editorial: Analyzing the developing narrative against Brett Kavanaugh