Kavanaugh Hearing Continues
Colonnade of the United States Supreme Court Building
Credit: Robert Shafer/ Stockbyte/Getty Images

Kavanaugh Hearing Continues

WARNING–This post contains details that may be disturbing to some individuals.

Last week provided many startling developments in Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. On Thursday, September 27, the Senate judiciary committee heard testimony both from Judge Kavanaugh and from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while the two were in high school in 1982. Here, Election Central takes a closer look at what happened.

She Said

The group of Republican senators on the committee decided to hire a female prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to ask Dr. Ford their questions for them. Dr. Ford was calm and clear and focused when presenting her testimony. She described the encounter with Kavanaugh that took place in high school and said that at one point, he put his hand over her mouth and she couldn’t breathe and was fearful that he would accidentally kill her. Dr. Ford also said that she was 100 percent certain that it was Kavanaugh who had assaulted her. Dr. Ford had a difficult time narrowing down the date of the assault. Nevertheless, she was honest about gaps in her memory, and most experts agree that her testimony was very credible.

 He Said

Kavanaugh’s testimony, on the other hand, was seem by many as punctuated by outbursts of temper and emotion. He asserted his innocence, and went on to insist that he was being attacked for political reasons. Kavanaugh also expressed outrage at having to answer such questions. Many of Kavanaugh’s critics point out that this complaint is ironic, because Kavanaugh once participated in the investigation into sexual allegations against then-president Bill Clinton.

Critics went on to say that regardless of whether or not Kavanaugh committed the acts he’s been accused of, his display of emotional and testimony and suggestion of partisan retribution in his opening statement was troubling. These critics question whether or not Kavanaugh is diplaying the expected temperament or legal objectivity necessary to serve as an impartial Supreme Court justice.

 What Was the Outcome?

Whether or not Kavanaugh will be confirmed will likely come down to a few key votes. Democrats are united against the judge. In fact, several Democratic senators, such as Senator Kamala Harris of California, walked out of the hearing, calling the entire process a sham. Other Republicans, led by Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, said that they would vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation but only if the situation is first investigated by the FBI. However, President Trump is the only one who can officially re-open the case.

Trump agreed to re-open it, but only in a limited way. The FBI is scheduled to report on its findings on Thursday, with the full Senate vote for Kavanaugh on Friday. Senator Flake has indicated that if the FBI’s findings contradict Kavanaugh’s testimony, he won’t vote for him after all. Republicans hold a 51-49 edge in the Senate, so unless two Repulicans vote against Kavanaugh, he will likely be confirmed.

Coming as it does just weeks before the critical midterm elections, many political experts are already wondering how this hearing will affect the ever-increasing gender gap. Women–particularly suburban women who tend to vote Democrat–are expected to be a critical force in the November congressional election. This may make them more motivated than ever to vote.

What Do You Think? Some of Kavanaugh’s supporters have suggested that he shouldn’t be held responsible for actions he may have performed many years ago, when he was in high school. Do you think people should be held accountable as adults for things they did wrong in high school? Why or why not?
Valerie Cumming

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