The Sagamore

Kavanaugh hearings divide parties further

Surprised? Sexual Assault is prevalent in the United States. Heated partisan squabbles have undermined accusations of two incumbent Supreme Court Justices.

JORDAN WATTS

Surprised? Sexual Assault is prevalent in the United States. Heated partisan squabbles have undermined accusations of two incumbent Supreme Court Justices.

Jordan Watts, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The latest political discord in a long line of disputes divided along partisan lines has been over Trump’s nomination for an associate justice position on the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, which subsequently brought on a long and emotionally-charged Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, before Kavanaugh was finally confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 6 with a 50-48 vote.

I believe Ford, but the scenario is more complicated than picking a side and either throwing out or confirming Kavanaugh’s nomination. It is also not as simple as either the Democrats or Republicans being in the right; the actions taken by both parties are extremely troubling and clearly guided by partisan agendas that are symptomatic of a more serious issue of political polarization in America.

Ford and Kavanaugh both testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27; Ford claimed that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, while Kavanaugh refuted all claims. Despite the credible allegation made by Ford, Republicans still pushed forward Kavanaugh’s nomination.

There may be no definitive proof demonstrating his guilt, but this is not a trial—it is a job interview. Therefore, the greatest problem lies in the fact that partisan goals took precedence over a proper investigation and maintaining the respect of the position on the court itself.

Republicans pushed for the swift approval of Kavanaugh, dismissing all allegations against him. Republican senator Lindsey Graham even referred to the extensive hearings as “the most unethical sham since been in politics.”

The Supreme Court should be revered and held in the highest esteem. There should be no doubts about personal character, and a proper FBI investigation to address these allegations should have been the minimum before Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court for the rest of his life; however, to many Republicans, even an insufficient one week investigation seemed out of the question.

That being said, it was in the best interest for Democrats that Kavanaugh’s nomination be delayed or denied. While serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh had some of the most conservative voting records in every policy area. The confirmation process for him on that court lasted for years due to allegations of partisanship.

While the insistence by many Democrats on an FBI investigation is completely warranted, the question arises of whether they were doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. There is no way to tell if they were more concerned that Kavanaugh is a Republican or that he was accused of sexual assault, but either way their own political interests would be served if he was kept off of the Supreme Court.

The questionability of their motivation has also drawn excessive attention to the timing of the accusation and therefore its credibility. The fear and psychological trauma involved with coming forward and reliving such a painful experience on the national stage justifies her hesitation, and it was reasonable for Senator Feinstein to hold off on revealing Ford’s letter alleging the assault in the hopes that it could have been avoided; however, the aforementioned questionable motivations of the Democrats cast a shadow of doubt over every one of their actions.

In George Washington’s “Farewell Address,” he warned against the formation of political parties, believing that they would soon become a tool for overly ambitious politicians to grab power for themselves through their party.

“However may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion,” Washington said.

While a more stringent FBI investigation would have been warranted, throwing out Kavanaugh’s nomination based on unproven accusations would have been a dangerous precedent to set, akin to that of impeaching and removing political opponents purely on the basis of differing opinions. Regardless of the truth in this particular instance, completely removing Kavanaugh’s nomination would have allowed for accusations to be used as a political weapon in the future, providing not only an opportunity for politicians to seize power, but also a clear incentive for political parties to actually fabricate these types of allegations.

While Kavanaugh himself is in many ways morally dubious enough not to have been confirmed based on the Ford’s allegations, there is no way to know what unintended side effects the removal of his nomination could have caused for future Supreme Court nominations and general political discourse.

It was a step in the right direction for Republican senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to demand an FBI investigation before they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, but the investigation severely limited in both time and scope was doomed to uncover very little.

An FBI investigation into someone set to be appointed to the Supreme Court should go above and beyond in an effort to find the truth, even when it is inconvenient to do so. An immediate confirmation would been ignoring a credible allegation, while a removal of his nomination would have set a dangerous precedent; that is why a more thorough investigation should have been ordered. The blatant willingness of politicians to operate with limited information purely for the purpose of progressing their own political agendas is appalling.

When women who have been assaulted make the difficult decision to bring forward an accusation and their allegations are ignored or denied, it becomes more and more difficult for future women to make that same decision to let their voices be heard. Unfortunately, real attention and support for alleged victims only seems to come when they can be exploited for someone else’s political ambitions and goals.

Women’s lives and the moral integrity of institutions like the Supreme Court should be prioritized over partisan bickering, but the unfortunate truth is that they are not. As Republicans and Democrats blatantly tried to further their political agendas, and Kavanaugh claimed that the sexual assault allegations were concocted by the Democrats as “revenge on behalf of the Clintons,” it was clear that severe damage had been to the unity of our political system that would take a conscious and focused bipartisan effort to remedy.

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Kavanaugh hearings divide parties further