Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
March 3, 2021

Brett Kavanaugh has won. All Americans have lost.

By ARIELLA SHUA | October 11, 2018

COURTESY OF EDA INCEKARA Protesters rallied at D.C. on Saturday in opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.

Yes, this is a piece by a college student lamenting the state of politics in this country.

I’m not going to waste space here talking about what happened. We’re in America. Pretty much all Americans who’ve logged onto Facebook or seen a news headline know the facts, or, at least some version of the truth. Those in charge of our country these days seem to be always arguing about what actually happened in any given situation.

In this case, one fact can’t be denied: Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court on Oct. 6. He has since been sworn in as a justice. He won on an almost-perfect party-line vote, broken by one Republican’s opposition and one Democrat’s support. These are the simple facts, perhaps the only simple facts about the entire debacle.

The timeline of events since Kavanaugh’s initial nomination by U.S. President Donald Trump can be described in any number of ways. It is indisputably true that he got in amid the kicking and screaming of both parties: one to let the man be (just look at his stellar reputation!) and the other to stop this man at all costs, as past reputation doesn’t matter when confronted with the truth.

To hear it from those who run this country, Kavanaugh was smeared in a last-minute attempt to stall and ultimately reject his nomination. Or Kavanaugh was finally being forced to answer to decades-past crimes of sexual assault. No assault took place against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — if it had, she would have revealed the information much sooner. Or Dr. Ford stepped forward now because, when one’s former assaulter is about to secure an elite job position that will determine the law of the land for years, it doesn’t matter how much personal damage is inflicted upon yourself. On and on and on.

Everyone seems to agree as well that dirty political tactics were in play in securing the confirmation. Trump saw Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a “tremendous victory for our nation” against the “Democrats’ shameless campaign of political and personal destruction,” as he said during a Kansas rally on Oct. 6. Senator Dianne Feinstein stated, “Judge Kavanaugh’s behavior revealed a hostility and belligerence that was unbecoming of someone seeking to be elevated to the United States Supreme Court” a day previously on Twitter. And it goes on. In general, there is Republican-leaning support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation and Democrat-leaning outrage.

Is it only those who are citizens of this country, but have no official role in running it, who will willingly admit this insanity for what it was?

This wasn’t a special election for a Senate position, with a maximum term of six years. This wasn’t a regular election for the President, with a maximum of eight. This was for the Supreme Court. These appointments — they’re for life. And the process of choosing, and confirming, a nominee should be treated with the utmost level of careful consideration.

It is difficult (and it should be difficult) to separate exactly what Kavanaugh was under investigation for from the investigation itself. But leave his innocence or guilt aside for a moment. Focus on his demeanor during the hearing, on his scripted statements and answers to questions. Are they representative of a man who is ready to deal with the muddy, unclear details of cases and make sense of them for a country, for a generation? Throughout the hearing, and the entire investigation, did he seem like a calm, orderly man who could be relied upon to judge cases that no one else could? And more than that — did he seem like the absolute best option for the job?

Consider again the accusations against Kavanaugh. Remember that, back in the 1980s, sexual assault had a very different meaning than it does today, a year after the #MeToo movement began. Remember that this was not a criminal hearing, where losing would have meant jail time, but essentially a televised job interview, where losing would have meant returning to a less prestigious office. Remember that our University takes at least 60 days to investigate cases of sexual assault. The Senate and FBI appear to take seven — at least, in this particular case, with this particular candidate, at this particular time.

This certainly was a “tremendous victory” for you, Mr. President. Tremendous in the sense that it did not make sense, and, logically, should not have happened at all. You had many, many options — 24 others, and that’s only from your list of candidates — to choose from. How hard would it have been to admit that this candidate does not inspire enough confidence at this time and pick someone else?

Justice Kavanaugh, I suppose you deserve congratulations on your new job. Unfortunately, I can’t in good conscience offer them.

As for everyone who is either thrilled or furious about this outcome and how we got here: Nov. 6 is coming. Get out the vote and make damn sure that Washington notices. Kavanaugh is employed for life now. Fortunately, our other government employees don’t get the same guarantee.

Ariella Shua is a sophomore from Livingston, N.J. majoring in Writing Seminars. She is the Your Weekend Editor.

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