Understanding The Ford and Kavanaugh Hearings
Twenty-seven years ago, Anita Hills stood up and came forward against Justice Clarence Thomas. Now, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford stood before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify against Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
To those who are currently lost in one of the biggest moments in history today, and don’t understandably grasp what is happening in our government, here is a quick guide:
Who is Brett Kavanaugh?
Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s nomination to fill the seat for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh is nominated as a Supreme Court Justice, the Supreme Court will be dominated by conservative and rightwing values based on Kavanaugh’s conservative stances.
The nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has risen concerns in key issues—specifically abortion rights and the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade.—Trump, during the 2016 presidential debates, has stated to put “pro-life justices on the court” when questioned about overturning Roe v. Wade. With Trump’s first nominated justice, Neil Gorsuch, joining the Supreme Court, the concerns continue to grow with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
Who is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford?
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a California professor at Palo Alto University who has come forward and testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Ford tells The Washington Post that “Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes…” while his friend, Mark Judge, watched. Ford was able to escape from Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, and flee the house. The incident allegedly took place in the summer of 1982, during a teenage gathering in Montgomery County.
Since coming forward publicly, two other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct: Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
Understanding the Kavanaugh Hearings
Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were brought before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, September 27th, in a debate over the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh to determine whether or not Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court would proceed.
Representing the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee was Rachel Mitchell, a sex crime prosecutor from Arizona, during the questioning of Christine Blasey Ford. Mitchell continued to question for Republicans in the beginning of Kavanaugh’s hearing until Senator Lindsey Graham spoke up, and thus all others followed.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh endured the grueling hours and questions in this heated and emotionally charged debate.
Senator Jeff Flake stated, “In the end, there is likely to be as much doubt as certainty going out of this room today.” The hearing came to an end, and the panel was set to vote on the day after to determine if Kavanaugh’s nomination will continue to proceed to the full Senate.
The American Bar Association had to step forward after the hearing in recommending a delay in the vote until the FBI could investigate the allegations completely.
Robert Carlson, president of the American Bar Association, wrote in a letter stating, “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.”
So, How Did the Committee Vote?
Friday, September 29th, the votes were along party lines: 11 Republicans voted “yes,” and 10 Democrats voted “no” to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.
However, Senator Jeff Flake, the swing vote on the committee, had voted yes to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate with the condition that the main vote is delayed for a proper FBI investigation.
President Donald Trump has now ordered the FBI to reopen the investigation on the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Trump further states that “this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
Once the investigation is over, Kavanaugh will stand before the full Senate for a confirmation of his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Twenty-seven years ago, Judge Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a narrow vote of 52-48. The confirming vote for Kavanaugh will most certainly be just as narrow, and once again, it will be another historical moment.