The Daily Illini

Kavanaugh’s response proves he’s undeserving

Photo courtesy of The White House

Photo courtesy of The White House

By Kyra Sadovi, Columnist

The Brett Kavanaugh hearings were a turning point for the worse in this new era of extreme partisanship. The entire world seemed to be watching as Christine Blasey Ford was sworn in and questioned. This University campus was not immune. I am among many guilty others who sat in the last row of a lecture hall, not-so-stealthily listening to the testimony through earbuds.

Ford’s words struck a nerve regardless of party affiliation, as such a sensitive topic is wont to do. While most of the subsequent discussions were of Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s respective credibility, the foggy truth of what happened a summer night in the 1980s is not the most important deduction from the 10-hour hearing. What we should take away from the ordeal is how Kavanaugh reacted: unhealthily and in a manner that makes him unfit to be a Supreme Court justice.

The worst defense Kavanaugh launched regarded his many female friends and colleagues who could be questioned about his treatment of women. This defense is based on a toxic, dangerous understanding of male-female relationships and sexual assault as a whole. By relying on this line of thought, Kavanaugh claims he couldn’t have sexually assaulted Ford because he respects women too much. The argument is scarily reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s assurance that, “No one has more respect for women than I do;” so said a notorious misogynist and alleged assailant of multiple women.

The similarity to Trump’s previous statements is beside the point. Kavanaugh is ignoring reality when he claims his friendships with women are exculpatory evidence. According to the Center for Disease Control, the vast majority of rape survivors knew their assailant. Of female survivors, over 40 percent said they had been raped by an acquaintance, which the CDC defined as a position along the lines of a friend, neighbor or first date. So the idea that Kavanaugh, who made sure we know he has many female friends, could never assault someone because of his respect for women is laughable. Further, the claim sets a toxic precedent: Sex with a friend is always consensual.

Kavanaugh went on to criticize the Judiciary Committee for bringing this allegation forward publicly after his first hearing. He raged it was inappropriate to be heard as he was thoroughly vetted in the past, and it was unprofessional to bring him back to the stand to speak to “unsubstantiated” allegations. It is absolutely true he and his family have suffered as a result of Ford’s story. Needless to say, Ford suffered the same, if not worse, fate.

But it is concerning, to say the least, to hear a highly decorated jurist in line for a Supreme Court seat dismiss the fact-finding process after an allegation as serious as this one. His flippant declaration that another FBI investigation would be frivolous was irresponsible and wrong. While it is true he has been the subject of many such investigations in the past, Ford testified that, before this ordeal, she never told her story to anyone other than her husband, therapist and intimate friends later in life. Any previous investigations would have been insufficient.

Even if all relevant facts were suddenly conveniently available, Kavanaugh’s true self is exposed. We saw during his testimony how he responds when pressured: defensive, quick to attack and reactionary. He did not display traits necessary for a responsible justice, from his dismissive tone when speaking about the necessity of fact-finding to his attitude toward sexual assault. He has demonstrated he is undeserving of a seat at the highest court in the land.

Kyra is a sophomore in LAS.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment