Senate Judiciary Committee fails American people in improper investigation

Courtesy of United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

As the highest court in the country, the U.S. Supreme Court has long been held in esteem by American citizens. It is historically seen as an impartial body, fit to rule on the most important issues affecting the nation.

This has not been the case for some time. Though Justice Anthony Kennedy was known as the court’s swing vote, he leaned conservative on crucial decisions. His retirement spurred political chaos on both sides of the aisle.

Almost immediately, the empty seat represented the fight for women’s rights. As the Supreme Court has spent the better part of 40 years doing its best to cripple Roe v. Wade, Democrats feared this would be the final straw. Another conservative judge would certainly be the tool to strike the ruling from the books completely. Their fears were well-founded.

From the start, the Trump administration acted irresponsibly when President Trump choose Judge Brett Kavanaugh from a list of previously-vetted conservative nominees. The list of judges came from the ultra-conservative group, The Federalist Society, which has been working to turn the courts to the right for years. This was its ultimate victory.

Initially, fighting Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed impossible. The Democrats in the Senate simply did not have the votes. Kavanaugh’s opposition called on Republican Senators Lisa Murkowsi and Susan Collins to vote against their party because of the threat to women’s rights, but neither senator has caved to these demands.

All this came before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s, accused him of sexual assault via a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Dr. Blasey Ford claimed that, at a house party in July of 1982, Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, then seniors at Georgetown Preparatory Academy, cornered her in a room and attempted to rape her. Soon after this was revealed, two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, accused Kavanaugh of further sexual misconduct.

Since this revelation the Senate Judiciary Committee has completely failed in its obligations to Dr. Blasey Ford and to the American people. In particular its leader, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has done his best to push the nomination forward despite the accusations.

Sen. Grassley refused Dr. Blasey Ford’s request for a FBI investigation. He enforced arbitrary deadlines for her to decide on testifying. He refused to allow her to call any witnesses, including Mark Judge, the man allegedly in the room with Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford at the time of the assault.

This strays far from normal operating procedure for confirmation hearings. Even the 1991 confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, famous for Anita Hill’s testimony, was carried out more effectively.

Hill, who accused the judge of workplace sexual harassment, was afforded an FBI investigation prior to testifying. Thomas ended up being confirmed regardless.

Despite the additional allegations from Ramirez and Swetnick, the committee moved forward with the vote to approve Kavanaugh on Sept. 28. He was approved with a 11-10 vote along party lines, though Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) attached a stipulation to his “yes” vote.

He voted with his Republican coworkers on the condition that there would be a one-week FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct. Democrats on the committee had been asking for this since the first allegations surfaced, but their requests had fallen short until Flake had a chance encounter in an elevator moments before the vote took place.

Two protestors, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, tracked Flake down immediately after he released a statement that he would be voting yes on Kavanaugh and forced him to listen to their experiences.

Their actions were unbelievably brave and quite possibly made all the difference in that Friday vote. This is the current state of America. We are reduced to crying to senators in stolen moments to implore them to recognize our inherent humanity.

That is the ultimate problem with the handling of the Kavanaugh confirmation. Democrats are not asking for anything dramatic, and the survivors protesting at the capital are not ‘hysterical.’ They are asking us to believe them, to treat them with compassion.

To quote the spray paint found on McAlister Friday morning, “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.” I hope you do, too.

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