Upon the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in July, the Trump Administration had the ability to appoint a new justice to the court, and they have chosen none other than Circuit Judge of Appeals for the District of Columbia Brett Kavanaugh. As of right now, the Senate is undergoing hearings as part of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Such hearings consist of questioning, interviewing, and doing a thorough investigation into Kavanaugh’s past. Eventually, the Senate with vote on whether to appoint Kavanaugh.
If you’ve forgotten the words to “I’m just a Bill,” here’s a civics crash course. The appointment of new Supreme Court justice is, you guessed it, supreme: upon his or her appointment he or she serves the highest court in the land for life, judging constitutionality and interpreting the constitution as they so choose. Take feminist icon and longtime justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who at the mature age of 85, isn’t planning on leaving any time soon.
So who is Brett Kavanaugh and what does he stand for? Kavanaugh is a DC native and alum of Georgetown Prep and Yale University. Most of his career has been spent in the public sector– he was a staff member in George W. Bush’s Administration, then was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006.
As far as his judicial precedent, Kavanaugh is a conservative Republican, unlike more liberal Kennedy. This means that Kavanaugh’s appointment has the potential to change some landmark decisions, such as abortion, affirmative action, religious beliefs and gay rights, and federal environmental protection, and effectively shift the court far to the right. In addition, Kavanaugh has previously expressed that he does not believe a sitting president should be indicted. Coincidence? I think not.
Ever since Kavanagh was appointed, he has faced opposition from some, opposition that has only heightened in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against him. Ford is a psychologist who attended a nearby High School to Kavanaugh’s in the early 1980s who claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party. After U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley gave Ford several arbitrary “deadlines” to decide whether or not she will testify, Ford has decided to testify in an open Senate hearing on Thursday, September 27. Considerations of an FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations are also being brought onto the table. Two other women have also come out alleging Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the late 1990s, making a total of three women who have brought their stories to the Senate.
The Presidency of Donald Trump has heavily altered some federal institutions, but this alteration is the most permanent because for Trump because it kills two birds with one stone. Not only does he want a conservative justice on the court, he wants one who will oppose his inevitable indictment. President Trump has made it clear that he wants nothing more than for Kavanaugh to be appointed promptly and without Ford’s claims seeing the light of day. “Those allegations are going to have to be examined thoroughly,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders remarked. Sanders continued, “I regarded an outrageous statement by the President of the United States dismissing those allegations. I hope that the Senate takes a very hard look at what she has to say.”