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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 18, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: US justice system tainted by Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh was officially appointed as a Supreme Court justice Oct. 6, despite three women coming forward with accusations of him committing sexual assault in the past.

The journey that led to Kavanaugh’s appointment was a tumultuous one — hundreds of sexual assault survivors and their allies protested in Washington, D.C., in the days during and after his hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he denied all allegations made against him. At her own hearing, Christine Blasey Ford presented her case to the Senate Judiciary Committee in an act of unparalleled bravery — she recounted horrifying details from the night she said Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her to a bed, covered her mouth with his hand and attempted to sexually assault her. Despite the hearing, Ford’s credible account and the other accusations leveled against him, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh’s appointment in a 50–48 vote.

Members of the Ithaca College community have not been untouched by Kavanaugh’s appointment. Multiple students have voiced their outrage at the hearing’s outcome and the fact that Kavanaugh was even being considered for the Supreme Court position after the accusations were made. These efforts are admirable, and the college community should continue to remain outspoken about this issue as well as other political matters. The students of the college have a long history of political involvement, and they should keep this momentum as midterm elections come closer.

Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court — which was supported by 49 Republican senators and one Democrat — relays a message to women and their allies that cannot be ignored: Your opinions do not matter. Your stories of abuse do not matter, and we do not have the time to take them seriously.

Due to today’s divided political climate, what was supposed to be the search for someone to fill a nonpartisan position became an alarmingly partisan issue. In its desperation for a conservative Supreme Court justice, the Republican Party largely disregarded Ford’s claims, as well as those of the two other women who came forward. In doing this, the party — including President Donald Trump — made it clear it would rather appoint someone with credible sexual assault allegations against them than see a conservative Supreme Court justice lose his seat.

In light of this alarming issue, which appears to be ongoing, the best thing for the students at the college to do is continue to fight against it. We cannot allow this matter to be forgotten or fall into obscurity as sexual assault accusations have in the past. We must remain dedicated to the values of integrity, honesty and justice, even if our lawmakers do not.