Judge Brett Kavanaugh Approved for General Senate Vote

Judge Brett Kavanaugh Approved for General Senate Vote

With an 11-10 decision, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has been voted through to the Senate. After three days of a televised trial, and repeated examination of Kavanaugh’s young adult life, when he is alleged of sexually assaulting multiple women, the Senate committee reviewing his case has pushed the vote through to the Senate general assembly. Although the committee is not indicting him, they are acknowledging the need for an FBI investigation, which will take place this week under President Trump’s orders, and will help determine whether Kavanaugh will be appointed to the Supreme Court.   

The investigations started when Kavanaugh was first accused of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Ford, but as the case continued, a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forward with accounts of his behavior and drinking habits in college as well. Kavanaugh’s defense team then led their own investigation in order to defend their client. Along with a lack of communication with the prosecutors, and multiple delays of the trial, people were understandably confused and upset, turning to President Trump for an explanation of why he nominated Kavanaugh and his response to the situation. While President Trump continues to support Kavanaugh’s nomination, he also later acknowledged the need to listen to the accuser’s stories and ordered an FBI investigation.

“I feel like in multiple questions, many senators were asking Mr. Kavanaugh about his own statement about having an open investigation, particularly Senator Durbin, who asked Brett Kavanaugh in his opening statement if he was open to any investigation,” Divya Chhotani ‘20 said. “But, although he’s going to be passed, and that he’s going to the next round, I think that having an FBI investigation is super critical.”

However, while a hearing did occur, the circumstances around it seemed suspicious, with no female Republican senators represented in the court, while they hired a female attorney experienced in sexual assault cases hired to take questions for them. And the questions that were presented had an emphasis on Kavanaugh’s lack of continuity in his statements about the availability of information to the general public. Senators from both sides cited different aspects of the trial to support their claims that another trial was needed, which is why FBI investigators now have less than a week to investigate before the second round of his appointment commences.

“It doesn’t really matter how it started, I think it’s just a question of ‘Are the allegations true or not?,’” Saavan Myneni ‘20 said. “The Republicans think it’s not, and if they think it’s not, that means they’re going to approve Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s going to be approved either way, so it doesn’t really matter a lot, since the Republicans are already pretty much going to vote [for him.]”

Even though the investigation hasn’t ended, political commentators are already considering the implications the accusations have for Kavanaugh and the political sphere in general. While it may seem like Kavanaugh will always have the reputation of this case behind him, a Supreme Court nominee in 1991 was accused of sexual assault as well, and he was confirmed. The rise of the #MeToo movement only fuels the debate, with some theorizing the movement will act as a political weapon in the future.

“They did release the allegations after he was going to be confirmed,” David Deng ’21 said. “I think they’re using [Christine Ford] as a political tool. There’s certainly a basis for the allegations, it’s just whether he did it or he didn’t do it. People are going to use sexual assault allegations more often, because it’s just such a bad thing you can say about someone, and it makes everything take longer, since you need a process [to investigate.]”

As details for the FBI investigation are revealed, senators, mainly Democratic, are shocked at the narrow scope, which only includes interviewing a handful of people and which was ordered by the White House, not the Senate. By asking Kavanaugh’s classmates in high school and at Yale, investigators hope to determine the truth behind these accusations, whatever they may be. However, his professionalism is also under question, with his behavior at the hearings seeming unprofessional to some senators, including Amy Klobuchar, who had a tense questioning with Kavanaugh about his alcohol use when he was young. While the hearing only delayed what occurred a week ago with his nomination, the results of the accusations will possibly have effects in the future, which will follow him through his life, whether he is selected or not.