How the mighty don't fall - Soham Joshi
“The motto of my Jesuit high school was ‘Men for others.’ I have tried to live that creed.” These are the words of Brett Kavanaugh who got nominated as a judge in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The above-mentioned quote is hypocritical as Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault during their teenage years by Dr Christine Blasey Ford. This nomination is a big blow to the #MeToo movement that has been going on around the world. In Ford’s public statement she feared that testifying against Kavanaugh would be like jumping in front of a moving train and getting destroyed in the process, and the subsequent abuse and ridicule she has faced since testifying against Kavanaugh has proved her words to be true.
Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy , a crucial swing vote on the Supreme Court, who retired in July 2018. Kavanaugh’s views on the second amendment and abortion portray him as a right leaning conservative Judge, with his appointment the SCOTUS comprises of 5-4 majority of right leaning conservative judges. This gives the Republican Party a significant amount of influence in all the three branches of government: the judiciary, executive and the legislature. The fast track (and restricted) investigation by the FBI, nomination by a slim majority and the President himself defending Kavanaugh shows how much of a clout the Republican Party has over the process.
Incidents like these highlight the constant power struggle in the American Political system. It is preposterous that a person who holds one of the highest offices and decides the fate of the common citizens of his country may be a sexual offender. It also bring to the light the painstaking process of public litigation and public testimony that a survivor of sexual assault must go through when the perpetrator is a high-profile individual, fighting for justice she may not even receive in the end, as was Dr Ford’s case.. The entire cataclysm led to the victim being subjected to even further harassment. She faced tough questions in her public testimony, was labelled as a person with an ulterior motive and was also mocked by President Trump and jeered at in a rally. Although Dr Ford did receive tremendous support from many people across the country, it was not enough for her to get the justice she deserves.
Unfortunately, Dr Ford is not the first one to see a foreordained process of justice. In 1991, Anita Hill accused the soon to be judge of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, of sexual misconduct. Thomas went on to become a Supreme Court judge as the US Senate confirmed him by a vote of 52-48. Even today Thomas, 70, still sits on the bench of the SCOTUS. In September 2018, Hill wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times saying that today the public expects better accountability from the government than what she got in 1991. The question is has that ‘today’ really arrived?
Soham Joshi is a first year student of M.A. In international Studies at the Symbiosis School of International Studies(SSIS), Pune