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What you need to know about the Kavanaugh hearings

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What you need to know about the Kavanaugh hearings

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Over the last generation, Supreme Court candidate nominations have become increasingly partisan. Hence, many people predicted a contentious replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy (often considered the “swing vote” between the four conservative and four liberal justices). The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh has surpassed all of these expectations, arousing argument and division nationwide.


Judge Kavanaugh established his professional reputation as a lawyer of former President George W. Bush, and as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court (often called the “second highest court” in the U.S.). His confirmation hearings were predictable, with Republicans praising his judicial philosophy and Democrats criticizing it. Still, with a Republican majority of 51-49 in the Senate, his ultimate approval seemed assured.   


In the eleventh hour, a shocking story leaked to the media, detailing accusations that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. The accuser’s identity soon became public—Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor and researcher living in California.

 

Dr. Ford’s initial statements indicated no recollection of where or precisely when this assault occurred; Judge Kavanaugh supposedly consumed a lot of alcohol prior to the assault, and she’d had a beer herself. She named three other witnesses who could verify her accusation—Mark Judge, Patrick Smyth and Leland Keyser. Public statements from these three individuals, however, failed to corroborate her claims.  Nevertheless, Senate Democrats insisted Dr. Ford be provided a private or public forum to discuss her allegations.

 

The Senate thus postponed Judge Kavanaugh’s final confirmation vote, allowing Dr. Ford to travel to Washington, D.C. and explain herself publicly. Judge Kavanaugh was also permitted to defend himself against these charges.

 

Over ten days passed before the two central figures were given a chance to testify. In the meantime, on a seemingly daily basis, media reports described numerous additional accusations. Anxious to break fresh accounts of the evolving stories, many news outlets ran poorly-sourced and uncorroborated claims.

 

Chief among these were the insinuations of Yale graduate Deborah Ramirez, whose eight named eyewitnesses all failed to corroborate her story. Even still, Ramirez’s unfounded allegations continue to threaten Judge Kavanaugh’s chance at a Supreme Court seat.


Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh gave their emotionally-charged testimonies on Sept. 27. Though the alleged crime took place over 35 years ago, Dr. Ford maintained with 100% certainty that Judge Kavanaugh was guilty of this crime against her. Kavanaugh insisted with equal certainty that he’d never treated Dr. Ford, or anyone else, in this manner.


The following day, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to advance Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate on Friday, Oct. 5. The Republicans were set to vote for the nomination on Tuesday, but Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) brokered a last-minute deal with the Democrats. He promised to vote in favor of advancing Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate, provided the vote be pushed back to the following Friday. This would allow the FBI to investigate Dr. Ford’s claims further, assuaging the Democrat senators.


As of now, reporters and onlookers are still combing through the testimony of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, as well as any other evidence that could prove/disprove the allegations. The entire ordeal has prompted heated discussion of myriad sensitive topics. The devastating effects of sexual assault, the burgeoning epidemic of “party culture” and underage drinking among teens have received national attention in recent weeks. One question remains to be answered in the full Senate on Oct. 5: Are unsubstantiated accusations enough, or will lack of proof clear his name?

 

For more information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJORwf3izUU ←-Ford’s Opening Statement

Source: PBSNewsHour. “Christine Blasey Ford’s Opening Remarks at Kavanaugh Hearing: ‘I Believed He Was Going to Rape Me’.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Sept. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJORwf3izUU.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVJdy3FmlCo ←-Kavanaugh’s Opening Statement

Source: ABCNews. “Brett Kavanaugh Delivers Opening Statement at Hearing.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Sept. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVJdy3FmlCo.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJeBSsYL_E0 ←-The Reopened FBI Investigation

Source: CBSEveningNews. “FBI Reopens Brett Kavanaugh Background Check.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Sept. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJeBSsYL_E0.

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