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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

What does “Justice” mean?


How Justice Kavanaugh continues to maintain his undeserved power

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh represents white male privilege in its most extreme form, and yet he sits on the Supreme Court. His appointment process in 2018 showed just how deeply divided our country is and the ways in which a woman’s accusation can be quickly disregarded. But again, he still sits on the Supreme Court.

If you’ve been following the news about Kavanaugh recently, you probably heard about the allegation from Yale University alumna Deborah Ramirez and how Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a Yale party during the 1983-84 school year.

This incident was brought up during his confirmation hearings in October of last year, but was quickly denied by Kavanaugh. He argued that if he had exposed himself, then it would have been “the talk of campus.” While this may seem like old news, two New York Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, have found that Kavanuagh’s exposition was in fact the talk of campus. Seven people can corroborate the details of the party as detailed in a New York Times article published on Sept. 14, 2019.

Since this new information shows that Kavanaugh might have lied during his confirmation hearing, multiple democratic Presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and Kamala Harris have called for his impeachment.

Impeachment seems unlikely: if the sitting U.S. president can withstand provable accusations of sexual assault, then a Supreme Court Justice can withstand accusations based solely on personal accounts.

This news might not seem shocking to many people, as Christine Blasey Ford’s, Ph.D. testimony against Kavanaugh was the main story of his confirmation hearing. Although her story was not corroborated to the same extent as Ramirez’s, it was just as viable. Regardless, these new allegations show a clear pattern of behavior.

In the era of #MeToo and the renouncing of rape culture (a “norm” that has prevailed in our country for far too long), I thought Blasey Ford’s testimony would have gone farther and done more damage to Kavanaugh’s judicial career, but it has not. While some may argue that this recent New York Times article and book that will follow does show that we are not forgetting his accusers, Kavanaugh remains untouchable.

I am under no misconception that politicians are perfect. I do think they should strive to be, but I know they are not. However, I do think Supreme Court justices should be held to an even higher standard than that to which we claim to hold our politicians. They must be eloquent, respectful, and nonpartisan—all things that Kavanaugh is not.

If you think back to his confirmation hearings, he was loud, upset and outright rude. These are not qualities that are at all deemed appropriate in a Supreme Court justice, yet his nomination was confirmed. When looking at the most recent allegation against him from Ramirez, he exemplifies qualities that again deem him inappropriate to be a justice, yet he remains in one of the greatest positions of power.

This seems unfair, and it absolutely is. We should be better than this. I hate to feed into the cliche “times are changing,” but there’s no denying that they are. We are seeing the end of the cycle of sexual manipulation by men in power, and just when we think we are getting somewhere, progress stops abruptly.

Women are told that we are being heard, that abusers will be stopped, but that is never the case. Not with Kavanaugh, not with Trump. The way society forgive those who have made “mistakes” happens much faster than it does to the survivors of those “mistakes.”

I hope everyone who hears of Ramirez’s allegations are appalled, which I think too few people are. In our partisan way of discussing news, we’ve lost the ability to have real human reactions.

What Ramirez says happened to her is truly awful, and supporters of Kavanaugh don’t even consider it to be true, therefore not worthy of empathy. When looking at Blasey Ford’s case and what she says happened to her, we recognize that it is appalling, and yet she doesn’t and hasn’t received empathy.

In fact, she’s suffered more than Kavanaugh has following her testimony. What Kavanaugh could do to earn a little bit of my respect, and only a little, would be to apologize to these women for the pain that they have endured.

While this most recent reporting has dug up a new allegation for Kavanaugh, it unfortunately will most likely blow over.

While this may anger some people, myself included, we must hold onto that cliche of “times are changing” and hope that when our generation of Supreme Court nominees are up for confirmation hearings, we will hold them to the highest scrutiny, and they will meet the proper standards of what a justice should be.

Until then, I will continue in my abhorrence for Kavanaugh, and hope that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg remains a strong oppositional force to Kavanaugh on the bench until at least January 2023.

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