October 22, 2018

Webster students react to Kavanagh hearing, #WhyIDidn’t Report

Groups of Webster University students across campus Thursday watched the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Judicial nominee hearings.  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual improprieties when they were in high school together. These allegations are coming out in the midst of the #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport movement.

Sophomore Juliana Ness studies political science at Webster and watched the Kavanaugh hearing with other students in Sverdrup on Oct. 27. Ness said Kavanaugh did not seem logical and blamed people for his situation.

“Kavanaugh’s deposition was hostile and appeared desperate to obtain his seat,” Ness said. “His testimony showed he would not be an impartial judge if he was confirmed. Kavanaugh was too defensive and outrageous.”

When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was reviewed for his seat in the highest court 27 years ago, Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Thomas got appointed to the Supreme Court, where he still serves.

Supreme Court Justices are in office for life. The only way they can lose their seat is to retire or be impeached. The Supreme Court is the highest court and is the judiciary in all cases involving congressional laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Ness said Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony seemed sincere.  

“I felt she was being honest,”  Ness said. “Ford’s mannerisms are similar to someone who has been through assault. I believe her.”

Kavanaugh came off the wrong way according to Ness. She said he seemed very one-sided.

“Kavanaugh appeared to be biased and sexist,” Ness said. “He is not fit for the Supreme Court. His testimony showed he would not be an impartial judge if he was confirmed.”

As a young voter, Ness is worried about the current turbulence in the government.

“This entire situation frightens me,” Ness said. “It’s like saying if you just blame the other party you will get your way. There is no real debate, just arguing.”

John Wallis is a Webster sophomore. Wallis manages the Webster University College Democrats club and is the vice president of Webster’s forensic team. He watched the hearings through CBS online in his dorm. He said the Hill hearings were just as disastrous.

“This is an opportunity for the GOP to right the wrongs of the Thomas confirmation, but they are making all the wrong moves again.” Wallis said.

Julie Setele, Webster University Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, believes women are more empowered today and do not have to remain silent over their sexual abuse.

“I think we are seeing a cultural tidal wave of people saying, ‘No more, this is not okay,’” Setele said. “It wasn’t okay 20 years ago. It wasn’t okay 50 years ago either, but we now have enough women in power and women speaking out.

Wallis said the #MeToo and the #WhyIDidntReport movement has opened his eyes.

“This is the disgusting treatment women face everyday in America,” Wallis said. “I wished the [#MeToo Movement] had happened sooner. I wish our government wasn’t so quick to hush these voices because they are really making a change in our nation.”

Ness said she believed Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for reasons beyond the sexual misconduct allegations.

“Kavanaugh’s decision in the Tarlow vs. District of Columbia case is disturbing,” Ness said. “The end decision on the case sits even worse with me. I recommend people looking into his rulings. “

Kavanaugh, Ness said, could affect the most vulnerable members of society if confirmed.

In Setele’s view, Webster students tend to be very aware of structural problems facing their generation in terms of economic crisis and climate change.

“They see the big picture, problems of inequity and injustice,” Setele said. “Many of them, I think, are rightfully mad about prior generations putting them in this situation.”

The proceedings show just how corrupt the Republican party can be, Wallis said. Not one female Republican senator sat on the judiciary committee.

“The GOP has not shown the proper level of respect for these brave women,” Wallis said. “Kavanaugh is not only disqualified by the allegations but by his remarks during the hearing. He has proven he is unfit for the United States Supreme Court. He is dangerously partisan for our judicial system.”

The Supreme Court will continue with eight Justices until another one is voted in. An FBI investigation is ongoing.

Wallis said this nomination will not affect the #MeToo movement.

“This movement continues to bring down the most powerful in our country,” Wallis said. “I firmly believe that truth and justice will win out in the end.”

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