Op-ed

Ask Ali: What’s going on with Kavanaugh?

If you’ve paid any attention to any major news sources in the last few weeks, you might know that our country and, more specifically, the branches of our government, have some serious decisions to make regarding Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. As someone who has tried to untangle the aggressively convoluted web of breaking news that is constantly surrounding this case, I want to share the information that I feel is vital for people to know and understand.

Brett Kavanaugh served as the deputy White House counsel, or lawyer, for George W. Bush. During Bush’s presidency, he appointed Kavanaugh to the position of district court judge.

Federal court positions do not require any direct vote from the people, however they do require a nomination from the current president and the conformation of the senate in order to be appointed.

This September, an article from The Washington Post identified Christine Blasey Ford as the woman who anonymously wrote a letter this summer to the Senate, accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Stating that he violently pinned her down and groped her, Ford’s letter details what is a clear case of assault committed by Kavanaugh when the two were in high school.

Since then, two more women—Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick— have also come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh with similar situations. Ramirez’s account occured while she and Kavanaugh were undergraduate students at Yale, while Swetnick’s is unknown.

This brings us to an even larger issue at hand; that President Trump has nominated Kavanaugh for the position of Supreme Court Justice. This position would be lifelong for Kavanaugh, and the idea of a man with that kind of history holding any kind of power, especially to that degree, has caused a massive amount of backlash.

Although we have no real hand in who gets appointed by the president to fill such positions, Kavanaugh’s nomination can serve as a message to those of us about to go out and vote in the future elections.

Background matters.

Bre Teska, a third-year Women’s and Gender Studies major as well as the Vice President of the Association for Women’s Empowerment, spoke on the importance of keeping a candidate’s history in mind when considering who to vote for:

“Don’t ignore [this issue]. Although doing research can be boring, investigating is good because even if it’s not something as big as Kavanaugh, it can be something like for a long period of time [the candidate] was homophobic. And maybe it’s not in the news right now because it happened a long time ago, but you have to consider, are they doing anything now to make up for that? Or maybe at one point, they were pro-life and now they are saying they’re pro-choice—but are they actually pro-choice? It’s actually looking into who they were and who they’ve become and what they’ve done to make sure who they’ve become is who [they say] they are.”

Whether it was something a candidate did last summer or while they were in high school—their history counts. Actions make up character, and someone whose past holds numerous accounts of sexual assault and misconduct does not have the type of character that warrants holding any sort of power. It is even more troubling when they proceed to lie and deceive  others instead of owning up to their mistakes and attempting to aid the victims of their actions.

There is a strong possibility that the Senate Judiciary Committee could choose to overlook all of Kavanaugh’s wrongdoings and grant him the title anyway.

As women, we have to take it upon ourselves to outlaw the apparent disregard for our elected officials’ passes.

Let me make this clear:

We do not want rapists in office.

We do not want abusers in office.

We do not want criminals in office.

The easiest way to avoid this is to do our research and vote accordingly. These things cannot be written off as minor bloopers in someone’s life. They matter, and we all need to treat them like they do.

So before voting in the November midterm elections, research policies and initiatives of candidates—but don’t stop there. Look into their pasts and their personal lives as well.

“I definitely recommend looking through old tweets and old Facebook posts because there’s a lot there,” Teska said. “And watching old interviews–although they’re probably boring-watch old interviews and just see; how are they responding?”

It is undeniably our job to stay informed. We cannot let the precedent be set that we do not care about the things that make up a candidate’s past. We need to care and we need to make those already in office care as well.

Residents of PA can call state senators to vote NO to Kavanaugh at (202)-224-3121

Ali Kochik is a first-year student English major. AK908461@wcupa.edu

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