Many have been gearing up for what, up until now, has seemed like a certain appointment of circuit court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. My fellow College Reaction writer, Anshul Barnwal, recently wrote of the impact such a decision could have on the scope of national legislation, as Kavanaugh is a notorious conservative, tipping the scale of the court toward the right. However, recent allegations of past sexual assault by Kavanaugh has transformed the appointment into a dramatic, political showdown. The would-be appointment vote that was originally scheduled for Thursday, September 20th, has been postponed, and Kavanaugh is now set to face a hearing regarding the accusations made against him. Ahead of the trail, citizens and politicians alike are making their voices heard in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, expressing (further) consternation with his possible Court appointment.
The Stanford Daily: Stanford University claimed its spot as one of the first academic institutions to speak out in regards to the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, as Christine Blasey Ford holds a professorial post at Palo Alto University, teaching “in a consortium with Stanford.”
• In addition to providing anonymous tip to the Washington Post, Ford “contacted 18th Congressional District Representative Anna Eshoo, who represents both Palo Alto and Stanford.” It was from Eshoo’s office that the letter made its way to Senator Dianne Feinstein, soon thereafter igniting the national disrepute with which the country is currently faced.
• Indeed, a bulk of the debate centers plainly around those who believe Ford and those who don’t; still, authors Brian Contreras and Holden Foreman remain objective, informing readers that “Ford reportedly took a polygraph test — commonly used to detect lies — administered by a former F.B.I. agent. The results, sent to the Washington Post, “maintain that Ford told the truth when she affirmed the accuracy of her allegations against Kavanaugh.”
• Additionally, Ford’s husband gives an affirming account, explaining that “during couples therapy in 2012, Ford recounted having been assaulted by students of ‘an elitist boys’ school’ who later became ‘highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.’”
The Harvard Crimson: Not all university students hold a neutral view of the situation, however. In anticipation of Kavanaugh’s hearing on Monday, September 24th, “some harvard law students [are standing] with his accuser.”
• Aidan Ryan, a Crimson staff writer, notes on the familiarity of the circumstances. “Ford’s allegations, and Kavanaugh’s denial, pit her words against his — a common occurrence in situations of alleged sexual assault.”
• The #MeToo movement, among other advances in survivor solidarity, has aggravated a national conscience, moving “women and activists around the country [to line] up behind Ford, calling on the Senate and the public to consider her account.”
• Students on Harvard campus have found themselves in the middle of this fray. Over the weekend preceding the hearing, student activists “plan to distribute buttons reading ‘I Believe Christine Blasey Ford,’” as well as holding a public viewing of Monday’s trial.
• The buttons pay homage to an eerily similar case from the 90s, in which a one Anita Hill set forth allegations of sexual assault by Clarence Thomas, a then nominee for the supreme court. This time, however, students hope for a different outcome.
• Students worry for “the impact” Kavanaugh might have “on multiple areas of the law.” Sejal Singh, a second-year law student, said in an interview with the Crimson that he is “concerned about the impact Kavanaugh, based on his record and based on these credible allegations from Dr. Ford, would have on the law, around civil rights, sexual harassment, women’s place in public life, and a whole host of other things.”
• Singh is, of course, not alone in his concerns. Third-year Law student Yaacov “Jake” Meiseles tells Crimson “this is a lifetime appointment — this is something that will have an impact for probably our entire lives.”
The Yale Daily News: Still, the current allegations might not be enough to convince some of Ford’s allegations. As such, the Yale Daily News has taken to exposing a part of Kavanaugh's past, positing that his disrespect for women was noticeable long before his run in politics.
• Hailey Fuchs and Britton O’Daly, staff reports for the Yale Daily News, inform readers that in his “first year of college, Kavanaugh joined an organization notorious for disrespecting women: the campus chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.” As readers may recall, this is the same organization that faced a five year ban banned from Yale in 2011, as “videos circulated of fraternity recruits chanting ‘no means yes, yes means anal’ in front of the University’s Women’s Center.”
• The pair go on to reference a “photograph that appeared in the Yale Daily News on Jan. 18, 1985,” in which “a procession of DKE initiates marching across Yale’s campus waving a flag woven from women’s underwear,” under the “tongue-in-cheek headline ‘DKE AT PLAY.’”
• Whereas a then Yale student, Rachel Eisler ’86, “charged that DKE’s pledge antics ‘demean women,’” a member of DKE’s 1985 pledge class said that “the flag ‘was just somebody’s stupid idea’ and that the underwear was ‘obtained consensually.’” Contrarily, a female classmate of Kavanaugh “recalled that DKE brothers would ransack women’s rooms while they were in class to collect undergarments.” Another alumnus described DKE as an “animal house.”
• What’s more, this spring, “the University launched an investigation into the fraternity’s sexual climate after reports in the Yale Daily News and Business Insider documented sexual assault allegations against more than half a dozen members, including the fraternity’s former president.”
• Fuchs and O’Daly also report that “in addition to DKE, Kavanaugh also belonged to Truth and Courage, one of Yale’s secret societies for seniors. Among some students, the all-male club, which was popular with athletes, was known by the nickname “Tit and Clit.”
The Bottom Line:
Sexual assault allegations are not to be taken lightly, particularly in today's sociopolitical climate. Political representatives, especially, must hold themselves to an even higher degree of accountability, as their behaviors and beliefs act as formative forces in the crafting of our constitutional state. Accordingly, party leaders must engage in serious consideration, as more and more Republicans seemed to be defined by a systemic issue of supporting the placement of sexual predators into political office.