Katherine Pecora, Staff Writer
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6 by one of the slimmest margins in our nation’s history. After a high profile confirmation process, and an FBI investigation that found no corroboration of alleged sexual assault claims, Kavanaugh was confirmed. For a Supreme Court confirmation to be this close is unprecedented and can be attributed to the recent partisan nature of American politics. At 53, Kavanaugh will likely serve his nation for decades and could shape America for a generation or longer.
Though the alleged sexual assault claim was the primary reason for some to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, other issues were brought up by those who opposed Kavanaugh. A Supreme Court Justice must be non-partisan, and some raised the issue that he might not be able to represent both sides of the aisle, given his somewhat partisan opening statement. Others have noted that Kavanaugh was under extreme stress, dealing with a potentially false claim, and acted accordingly during the hearing. They note that partisan comments during the hearing may not be reflective of his demeanor as a Supreme Court Justice.
The testimony of Christine Blasé Ford, Ph.D, against Justice Kavanaugh brought to light the changing times that we are witnessing. During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, women associated with the “Me Too” movement protested, sometimes in a disorderly fashion, through the halls of the capital building and on the steps of the Supreme Court. Over 100 people were arrested in these protests.
Some of Kavanaugh’s current colleagues expressed concern over his impending confirmation. “Part of the court’s strength and part of the court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country now,” Justice Kagan said in an appearance at Princeton University. “In other words, people thinking of the court as not politically divided in the same way, as not an extension of politics, but instead somehow above the fray, even if not always in every case.”
For Kavanaugh’s supporters, the fight over his confirmation represented a dangerous direction in which the country is heading. The idea that someone could be accused of a crime with limited evidence and be presumed guilty, and have their career stunted and their family humiliated, is a scary thought. On the other hand, it is just as frightening for assault victims to think that their stories and experiences could be cheapened or made irrelevant. The confirmation fight also highlights the partisan nature of American politics, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying he would “oppose Kavanaugh with everything [he’s] got,” even before any alleged claims were made. Many of Kavanaugh’s supporters also bring up the convenient timing of the accusations as further evidence of partisanship. This was highlighted in the confirmation vote, which was almost completely along party lines.
After the FBI probe was released, the several Republican senators who expressed their concerns (most notably Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Susan Collins, and Senator Bob Corker) were convinced to support Kavanaugh by the lack of corroboration in the probe. Additionally, one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin, voted in favor of confirming Kavanaugh.
Justice Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, with his wife and two daughters by his side. Kavanaugh is the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court.