Justice doesn’t have a political party
Since Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on the Supreme Court 50-48, the narrowest vote in 130 years, the responsibility and purpose of the judicial branch has sparked a national debate. Given the circumstances of his confirmation and the polarizing political environment, it is our civic responsibility to evaluate if the Supreme Court is fulfilling its duty to unify and ensure adherence to the Constitution. While nothing has been exempt from the controversy of the situation, one thing is certain: the Supreme Court should not become a partisan issue.
Following the retirement of Anthony Kennedy, President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh on July 9, 2018. Two months later, accusations of his sexual assault of Christine Blasey Ford and two other women were revealed. In contrast to Ford’s firm, tearful testimony, Kavanaugh made sarcastic comments, blamed the accusations on a democrat conspiracy and was visibly agitated and defensive. Personally, Ford’s genuine testimony and submission of polygraph test, old therapy records and other witnesses are convincing. The harsh backlash she has received not only perpetuates a victim-blaming rape culture, but also the prioritization of party politics over morality. Even if we were to give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt, his mocking demeanor and impartiality disqualifies his credibility to a position hinged on even-handed justice.
Was his ultimate nomination so surprising in the end? From the beginning, Trump assured Republican voters that he would appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. But the case was also reminiscent of Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual misbehavior against current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. When those allegations were also ignored for political reasons, the role of a Justice had already begun to change. President Barack Obama understood this need for unity and moderation and nominated Judge Merrick Garland, who was accepted by both sides, but still denied by the Republican-dominated senate. The majority of nominations in the past 50 years have been influenced by partisan conflicts, and Kavanaugh’s nomination has revived it. As The Atlantic puts it, “the debate [concerning Kavanaugh] and the vote was not about the law, or about the court, but about the Republican Party.”
I believe Christine Blasey Ford. And I believe that it was a blatant display of raw power and disrespect when her story was pushed aside for the benefit of the Republican party. The Supreme Court’s decisions in history have, for the most part, fulfilled the vision of the Constitution in working toward improvement. Its progressive policies about race, women’s and LGBT rights have demonstrated the importance of its independent, partisan-free rulings — that is the justice America needs.
By Angela Cao, Online editor-in-chief
Editorial cartoon by Amy Lo