Kavanaugh’s Plight by Astrid Newton
Women’s History Month
When one considers the complete history of the United States, women’s voices have only been heard for a fraction of the time that men’s have. We have only had the right to vote for less than a century. The women’s rights movement is making more progress all the time. However, many of the current government officials are attempting to prevent women having basic control over their bodies and feel safe in this country knowing responsible, moral people are running it. It has been this way for a long time, and many individuals contribute to it, but Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the a Supreme Court certainly isn’t helping. According to a poll, 63% of women oppose his confirmation to the Supreme Court. The political decisions he will make is undoubtedly going to cause an even further decrease in women’s rights for this country.
Firstly, the rollback of women’s rights that will almost certainly result from Kavanaugh’s confirmation is a major problem. One of the main issues that concerns the general population is the endangerment of abortion rights. Kavanagh is plainly pro-life and is poised to be the deciding vote in an eventual case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. This will deny many women control over their own bodies, and he has denied a woman that in the past. A 17 year old immigrant requested an abortion in front of a panel of judges (including Kavanaugh) as she was abused in her home country, and was ultimately turned down. Additionally, Kavanaugh has been accused of multiple accounts of sexual misconduct, which is obviously a problem in itself, but will additionally lead to women in this country feeling more unsafe and victimized than they already do. Kavanaugh’s accusers have all detailed incidents of inappropriate and predatory actions occurring during his days at the elite Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland, as well as the prestigious Yale University. American women and girls will live with the knowledge that an accused criminal holds an extremely coveted and influential position in government, without being held even the slightest bit accountable for his actions.
This detail leads into my next issue, which is that allowing Brett Kavanaugh to hold his position before a further investigation is carried out, is quite plainly perpetuating white male privilege. That is the last thing we need more of in the United States at the moment. However, society has been long perpetuating the notion that white men who are expected to act professionally can, in fact, do just about anything they want and face little to no consequence for it. Further examples are the countless white police officers who have needlessly shot and killed young people of color, and are simply granted a paid leave from work with no further backlash. These societal beliefs should not only be considered outdated and disrespectful, but it should also be more widely recognized that these beliefs and incidences of injustice even occur in the first place. However, an alarming amount of the population still deny privilege of any sort, and we’re certainly not going to progress until people decide to start accepting and discussing it.
When it comes to building a more progressive society within this nation, things may seem a bit bleak at the moment. However, there are a handful of short and long term solutions that may seem trivial, but could end up having monumental impacts. Local activism and civil service, such as attending rallies and marches in your town, is an excellent way to make your voice heard, as well as meet some like-minded community members. When it comes to more legitimate and permanent solutions, there are a handful of political scenarios that are, admittedly, somewhat unlikely, although they could still occur. If Kavanaugh continues to face backlash and general public disapproval, he could be effectively demoted to a position on a lower branch of the judicial system, thus removing a large quantity of his negative presence in the government. For this to be put into action, however, the president would have to nominate it and the senate confirm it. The other potential scenario is when a “good behavior” standard could be legitimately enforced, rather than just it being a political preference. Congress could hypothetically pass a statute of five randomly drawn judges to see if another particular judge (in this case, Kavanaugh) had violated the good behavior standard. This bench could hold a hearing that could lead to the removal of the Justice from the bench. While this wouldn’t require a congressional supermajority, it would need a presidential signature.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Brett Kavanaugh is going anywhere anytime soon. His beliefs, and mine, remain the same, and I still am of the firm opinion that he will do nothing but detract from making life equitable for the women and girls of this country. However, the future isn’t completely dismal. Movements such as Me Too and Time’s Up continue to make monumental progress. Examining past events such as the suffragette movement of the early 20th century just goes to show, persistence pays off. So, to conclude, I sincerely hope we keep these positive aspects in the back of our minds, as we continue to function in this society where we oftentimes don’t feel supported by our own government.