Kavanaugh confirmation stirs up emotions on campus
UB community voices strong opinions on the polarizing judge
The Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court with a vote of 50-48 on Saturday, and many students are upset.
Jeffrey Clinton, a junior English major, said the confirmation is “just a spit in the face to women across the nation.”
Kavanaugh’s confirmation comes after multiple women accused him publicly of sexual misconduct. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Shortly after, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick also made similar accusations against Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied all allegations of sexual assault.
An FBI investigation couldn’t confirm the allegations and angered political figures who felt the agency should have interviewed more than nine people. The list of interviewees did not include Kavanaugh, Ford or Swetnick, although Kavanaugh and Ford testified extensively before a Senate committee.
President Trump voiced his continued support for his second Supreme Court nominee in a tweet following the final vote.
Bethanny Branco-Langley, a junior psychology major, shared her disappointment with President Trump and U.S. politicians in general.
“It’s what we expected of him,” she said of Trump’s support of Kavanaugh.
Branco-Langley added that Trump himself is “a man who’s been in the same position as Brett Kavanaugh who had these women, more women come forward.”
“He’s been known to dismiss these things and victim blame,” Branco-Langley said of Trump. “He changed the narrative from ‘Look at all these things happening to women,’ to ‘Men are in danger.’ He’s victimizing [Kavanaugh] who committed sexual harassment and assault.”
Branco-Langley said that Kavanaugh’s confirmation sends a negative message to sexual assault victims.
“Our government does not care about women,” she said. “It proves that sexual assault does not ruin men’s careers.”
Travis Alexander, a senior environmental design major, wrote in an email that the vote will have lasting effects on our political system.
“[Kavanaugh’s] confirmation has tainted my faith in our highest political institutions,” Alexander wrote. “The Senate hearing and confirmation have delivered the message that having a history of sexual assault will not impact your ability to reach the top of society.”
“If someone is being investigated for sexual assault, then they're not qualified to hold a lifelong position in the United States’ highest office of justice. It would have been perfectly reasonable for Republicans to find a different nominee without a history of sexual assault that can represent conservative ideals in the Supreme Court with honor and integrity.”
Waleed Malik, a first-year medical student, had similar opinions but voiced apprehension about Kavanaugh for different reasons.
“I’m honestly more concerned about his legal views,” Malik said. “I mean, I’m obviously concerned about his sexual and drinking behavior too. But honestly, he is really for executive power and privilege and making the president even more untouchable than he already is. So that’s really concerning.”
“He’s super against Roe v. Wade, I think, so that’s also concerning,” he said. “So it’s his political and legal views that are more concerning to me and I feel like the Democrats should focus on that more. But instead they’re focusing on his college drinking habits which is like, who doesn’t black out in college?”
Jacob Neiheisel, an assistant political science professor, voiced his concerns with how the hearing was handled and noted that Kavanaugh, a Republican nominee, was criticized for remarks he made during the Senate hearing about Democrats.
“It’s not surprising but it is perhaps dismaying,” Neiheisel said.
“Kavanaugh in his remarks was a good bit more partisan than I think we’ve seen a nominee in front of the judiciary be,” he said. “I think that just marks an uptick in what we’re likely to see in the future. … I think we’re just in for a lot more contentious battles going along.”
Jacklyn Walters is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org