An open letter to those protesting Judge Kavanaugh


By Andreas Lolis ’21


Dear protestors at the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh,


While most Supreme Court nominations are contentious to a degree, Kavanaugh’s has been opposed by more protestors than any in recent memory. During the hearings, questions from senators were often interrupted by your yells and cries opposing the jurist’s nomination.


USA Today stated that over 70 of you were arrested at Kavanaugh’s first day of hearings alone. I am sure there is a better use of your time and energy.


I understand there are many reasons why you protest his nomination. Among the more common arguments against Kavanaugh are his conservative jurisprudence, his perceived bias against women and minorities and that his confirmation will shift the balance of power in the Supreme Court heavily towards conservatives.


However, I oppose all of these arguments.


The judicial ideology of nominees to the Supreme Court should be irrelevant regarding a senator’s support for their appointment, with the exception of extreme circumstances. To those who claim that Kavanaugh’s ideology is extreme, I would refer you to the four incumbent Justices of the Court who, according to the New York Times, share Kavanaugh’s conservative ideology.


To those of you who say Kavanaugh is anti-women, or anti-minority, this idea is simply ridiculous. An article by states that, during his 12 years on the District of Columbia Appeals Court, the majority of his clerk hirings have been women. In addition, around one quarter of his clerk hirings have been minorities. If that isn’t enough, he also promotes organizations who support up-and-coming minority lawyers, such as Yale’s Black Law Students association, according to the Washington Post.


In the past, potential Justices who are fit for the office have rarely faced such scrutiny from the Senate. In fact, according to the Minnesota Post, until the nomination of Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1967, nominees were often confirmed on voice votes (in which senators voted by saying “Aye” or “Nay”). That era is over. Marshall was the last nominee to be confirmed with a voice vote, with votes to the Supreme Court becoming increasingly narrow.


My purpose in including this fact is to demonstrate that, for the majority of American history, Supreme Court nominees were often confirmed based on their qualifications and ability to execute the duties of their office, not their judicial views.


Opposing a potential Justice because of their views strengthens the Supreme Court’s connection to the politics and partisanship of Washington. If senators evaluate nominees based on ideology, justices may feel obligated to gain their support by changing their judicial philosophy, rather than interpret the Constitution the way they feel is correct. A Supreme Court more tied to the corrupt underbelly of our political system would undermine its integrity, which could be catastrophic for our democracy. It is for this reason that the framers of our republic made the judiciary so independent from the other branches of government.


The highest court in the land should function above party politics and operate beholden to nothing and no one.


I must also address the sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. I fully acknowledge and confess that any nominee to the Supreme Court who have been proven to have sexually assaulted an individual at any point in their life is not qualified, and should thus be opposed.


However, at this point in time, I do not believe Kavanaugh did sexually assault his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Ford claims that, at a party that took place in 1982 when Kavanaugh was 17 and she was 15, a drunken Kavanaugh attempted to grope her and remove her clothes while a friend of Kavanaugh watched. This information was sent to Ford’s Congresswoman.


There are several facts that call into question Ford’s allegations. First is the timing of her accusations. Ford went public with her allegations on Sept. 16. However, she had submitted a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein immediately following Kavanaugh’s nomination, in July. Why, then, did Ford not come forward with these allegations to the public when Kavanaugh was nominated in July? And why did she not present these allegations to the public while Kavanaugh was serving on a Federal Court of Appeals during the 12 years prior to his nomination?


To me, the answer is simple: releasing the allegations now gives Senate Democrats the best chance to block Kavanaugh’s appointment until after the midterm elections, when they could win a majority in the Senate.


What’s worse, disparities between Ford’s allegations and the notes of the therapist makes the accusation questionable. The most disturbing of these disparities is that Ford’s therapist wrote that there were three witnesses in the room when the incident took place, while Ford now claims that there was only one.


Finally, Ford will only testify before the committee about her allegations if an FBI investigation has taken place. I believe the purpose of this is simply to delay the vote on Judge Kavanaugh until after the investigation has taken place, which could be after the midterm elections. If Ford was telling the truth, she would be willing to testify before the committee about her allegations.


Thus, with the information currently known to the public, I believe all of Ford’s allegations are false.


In conclusion, I am a vehement supporter of free speech and the right to protest, but these protests will have no impact on our government. The protests against Kavanaugh will be ineffective in preventing confirmation.


The Senate alone can confirm Supreme Court nominees with their “Advice and Consent,” according to Article II of the Constitution. Because of the Republican majority in both the Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee, I expect Kavanaugh to be confirmed. To put it bluntly, Republican senators aren’t fazed by your protests.


The most effective way to actually influence the judicial branch of the United States in the future is the same way you can influence any aspect of American government: through elections. I urge you to make your voice heard by campaigning for politicians who support your causes, and most importantly, to vote in November.


If all of you unite to support potential public officials who agree with you on critical issues like the Supreme Court, your efforts will be much more effective than yelling at confirmation hearings.