On merit and record alone, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process to the Supreme Court should have been a relatively easy one. And as long as the allegations against him continue to be unsubstantiated, he must be confirmed as the 114th justice of the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s record fits the mold of the conservative judge in the style of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, in that he tends to rely primarily on precedent for his decisions and has decided for both sides of the ideological aisle. 

He ruled in favor of Second Amendment protection — satisfying conservatives — and wrote the decision that was the very basis of Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion that allowed for the passage of former President Obama’s health care act, which should satisfy more liberal voters. 

Kavanaugh’s statement in his dissent of D.C. v. Heller that courts must “apply the Constitution and the precedents of the Supreme Court, regardless of whether the result is one we agree with as a matter of first principles or policy," should provide liberals with relief, given the common misconception that a conservative court would overturn landmark decisions such as Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. Furthermore, a conservative court could potentially work against the expanding powers of the executive branch that has been able to make policy at whim in the last three terms.

Unfortunately, Kavanaugh’s nomination goes beyond his record. The accusations of sexual assault against him are incredibly serious and need to be taken as such. However, there is a distinct difference between an investigation and a protracted character assassination in the court of public opinion. 

From a strategic perspective, the Democratic Party has pulled off a miracle. Kavanaugh’s initial hearing should have been enough for a confirmation on its own. Although it was well within her rights for Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, to break the anonymity she requested, the decision to do so only after the confirmation was expected to go through is incredibly convenient and deserves some consideration itself.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, sexual violence has deservedly been under the microscope and constantly in the public eye. One of the movement’s goals has been to bring sexual misconduct to light, preventing its perpetuation and sparing potential future victims. Yet the movement has become a highly effective political tool used by the left to remove opposition. 

There is a significant issue in that public discourse, when questioning the validity of a sexual assault claim, becomes the basis for accusations of sexism and misogyny. It is extraordinarily problematic that the left has embraced a movement that attempts to suppress opposing opinions by characterizing the search for truth as expression of bigotry. As such, “believing women” should not be the metric by which a person is judged in either a court of law or public opinion. To do so is an injustice to women whose lives have truly been destroyed by sexual violence. It is entirely unfair to equate Ford’s allegations to those of someone like Juanita Broaddrick, whose claims of being raped by former President Bill Clinton were systematically dismissed by the party that now wants to see “justice.”

That a Supreme Court nominee might be barred from confirmation because of claims of assault brought forward more than 30 years after the fact, and that cannot be corroborated, is cause for great concern for both parties. This is especially true considering their recent political gamesmanship. There is no doubt that difficulty confirming Kavanaugh stems in part from backlash for Republicans’ stalling of Merrick Garland’s nomination under Obama. The question is, where does it stop? Are we going to have to watch as nominee after nominee is asked to recount and account for their every waking hour in the vain hope that they have never been remotely controversial in their lives? If so, we will assuredly be most disappointed.

Emotive responses are not appropriate when considering a decision that could resonate for decades. Facts, not politics, should be the basis for this process. So far, the facts do not show that Kavanaugh is verifiably guilty and it is incredibly difficult to believe that after over 30 years — and five witnesses who cannot corroborate them — Ford’s allegations will be anything but such. 

At the conclusion of the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, the Senate must vote to confirm him or to not confirm him. If our officials believe in choosing the best candidates for the most prestigious court, then Brett Kavanaugh must be the next Supreme Court justice.

Contact contributor Rob Papandrea at rob.papandrea@richmond.edu.

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