When Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on July 9, the resulting tidal wave of attention on the role of sexual assault accusations in the context of confirmation hearings was not something anyone anticipated. When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford officially came forward on September 16, followed by two other accusations from Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, the fight over his conformation has devolved into mudslinging.
Arguments against the confirmation of Kavanaugh have already been made by numerous Democrats on a national level. The DePauw supports these arguments, but for Republican senators like Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, they haven’t been enough to sway their vote. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker still plans on supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying: “While both individuals provided compelling testimony, nothing that has been presented corroborates the allegation,” referring to Dr. Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27.
Jeff Flake, a senator for Arizona and a swing vote in the confirmation process, referenced due process in a statement, saying: “Our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence.” Though Flake later pushed for a delay of the confirmation vote in lieu of a more thorough investigation, this rationale remains should the investigation fail to sway Flake’s opinion. For those looking to justify their support of Kavanaugh, this argument has has the advantage of still voicing support for him without negating the severity of the accusation brought against Kavanaugh.
This argument holds little to no merit. It isn’t a criminal conviction that is at stake for Kavanaugh, it is a lifetime appointment to the highest court possible, the foremost judicial body in the country. This confirmation hearing is a glorified job interview. In any other work environment, a potential employer can cite any sort of evidence that shows even the possibility of a potential employee not having the highest qualifications, and can easily rationalize the decision not to hire that person. In that situation, the potential employee is not given the opportunity to defend or justify their actions. We are simply put in the rejection pile and they move on to the next candidate.
In the specific context of Brett Kavanaugh, can his appointment really be justified when, after his behavior as a teenager was placed front and center in the arguments of the future of the Supreme Court, he became visibly angry and emotional, as well as completely and obviously partisan during his confirmation. Can someone like that really be trusted on the highest court in the country? In his own words, Kavanaugh said “the American rule of law depends on neutral, impartial judges who say what the law is, not what the law should be.” Can Kavanaugh really be expected to be impartial in the courts after an outburst like his?
At the end of the day, the tradition of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ still exists, but does not apply to an instance like this. That idea does not excuse Brett Kavanaugh from the dangers that job-seekers face in every other context. Unless he is tried and found guilty, Kavanaugh should return to his seat on the D.C. Circuit Court, where he should stay.