By Ashley Hathaway, Contributing Writer
In light of the current events that are sweeping over the United States, you have probably heard the name Brett Kavanaugh. In case you have been laying low and are not up to date on Kavanaugh, here is a quick rundown.
Kavanaugh was nominated as a Supreme Court Justice in July 2018 by President Donald Trump after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. Shortly after his nomination, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sent a private letter to her representative and senator stating that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party in high school. This information was leaked just a couple of weeks ago on September 17th by the Washington Post, which began a chain reaction of more sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Ford and her party are fighting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the Supreme Court because of the sexual assault she experienced that has greatly affected her life.
This past Thursday, September 27th, a hearing was held where both Ford and Kavanaugh defended their positions. Currently, the case is at a standstill. The Senate must vote on whether or not Kavanaugh will be confirmed into the Supreme Court, but they have delayed the vote in order for the FBI to investigate further.
As you can probably predict, there are an abundance of different positions and questions surrounding this case that need to be talked about. Therefore, I decided to ask a handful of students at McKendree University about their thoughts on Kavanaugh’s case.
In my quest to find out what students around McKendree thought about Kavanaugh and the allegations against him, I was interested in a few specific questions. The students I talked to all agreed that they had a good understanding of the case, and would be able to answer any questions I had with a good background of knowledge.
The main point that fighters for Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the United States Supreme Court site is that the sexual assault allegation by Ford happened over thirty years ago when the two were in high school. Should this allegation still be able to have a prominent effect on Kavanaugh and his career? I was curious to see what my peers thought.
The students that I was able to have conversations with all said something similar: no amount of time can erase the pain that Kavanaugh caused his victims, so why should he not pay a punishment? Dewey Pruitt, a fourth-year student at McKendree, stated it clearly, saying: “Thirty years did not erase what he has done, and in the face of their suffering he has compounded it with denial and gaslighting.”
In response to my first question, I asked a follow up that seemed to move along in the same direction as my first. I wanted to know if my peers thought Kavanaugh should be confirmed into the Supreme Court, or if they think that the allegations against Kavanaugh should keep him from being a keeper of the law of the United States.
Their answers again fell into similar patterns. They all agreed that due to the allegations against Kavanaugh, it would be wrong for him to be confirmed into the Supreme Court. Something as unforgiving as sexual assault should not be overlooked when making decisions on who makes up the United States government.
Ebony Luster, a fourth-year English major at McKendree, had passionate thoughts on this subject. She even looked past the sexual allegations against Kavanaugh, and said that “the way he handled the whole situation was poor and is synonymous to how he will handle other ones.” I thought this outlook was interesting. Not only are people looking down upon the allegations against Kavanaugh, but the public is also beginning to see that he does not handle many situations with grace. Instead, Kavanaugh seems to be rash with both his decisions and words, which is questionable character to be running a United States court room.
The last question that was brought up in the conversations I had with my peers was if they believed cases such as Kavanaugh’s are beginning to change how sexual assault is looked at and fought against. While most believed that a case like this would not have been taken as seriously thirty years ago when the actual assault happened, most also believed that we still have a lot of work to do.
The actions surrounding sexual assault cases are heavy and hard to discuss, but the United States is slowly getting better at listening to survivors. If Kavanaugh is voted into the Supreme Court, some believe it will put our progress to a halt. As a country, we must continue to take steps forward.
Of course, opinions from a few students from McKendree University does not encompass an entire population’s outlook. However, I have strong faith in the young people of the United States, and with our voice we must continue to push for what we believe in. With the unwavering need for justice in our hearts, I can see a long overdue change for the United States on the horizon.