November 15, 2018

Students contemplate future of Supreme Court after Kavanaugh confirmation

Brett Kavanaugh became the 114th justice of the United States’ Supreme Court Oct. 6.

Michael Langston, treasurer of the Webster University College Democrats, disapproved of the confirmation due to how Kavanaugh’s approval changes the makeup of the court.

“Now the court is going to have a political bias for generations to come because Kavanaugh’s one of the youngest guys on the court now,” Langston said. “He’s going to be serving for a while.”

Langston believes the nine spots on the Supreme Court should be filled by three conservative judges, three liberal judges and three swing voters. He believes Kavanaugh’s confirmation takes one of the swing votes away and gives it to conservatives.

The Republican party controls the legislative, executive and now–with the confirmation of Kavanaugh– judicial branches of government. Langston said he fears the future impacts of this Republican reign.

“As a normal American citizen, I’m looking at that and going, ‘Okay, so now one side has all the control,’” Langston said. “But what happens then if our policies start to change and the Supreme Court, since it’s lifetime appointment, get to dictate what’s going on for future generations?’”

Alexander Stephan is the president of the St. Louis Young Republicans club. Stephan said he supported the nomination due to Kavanaugh’s time served on the appellate court and his recommendation from the Bar Association.

Stephan said he expects the same thing from Kavanaugh that he expects from the other justices. He wants them to judge impartially based on the United States’ Constitution.

Looking back, Stephan said he believes a woman nominee would have been a better choice despite his support of Kavanaugh.

Following a sexual assault allegation from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, over 20 million people watched the senate hearing of testimonies from Ford and Kavanaugh Sept. 27.

“A woman is much less likely to be accused or responsible for sexual assault for one. So in hindsight, that would have probably been a good pick,” Stephan said. “Also, just from a political standpoint, it never hurts to have a female nominee especially in the era of ‘Me too’.”

Langston listened to the hearing on his way to school. He said his teacher delayed class by 20 minutes to listen to Ford’s testimony. He later watched Kavanaugh’s opening statement at home.

Langston said he initially took the allegation with a grain of salt. After listening to the hearing, he believed Ford’s testimony.

“I have no reason to believe this person was not sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh,” Langston said. “There’s no doubt about it in her mind, and there’s no doubt about it in my mind.”

Although Stephan said he believes the evidence on both sides were too insufficient for a verdict, he feels for Ford. He said she seemed very honest in her testimony.

“It’s definitely something that is extremely unfortunate because sexual impropriety is very rampant, and it’s often not taken seriously or not reported and investigated and brought to justice the way it should be,” Stephan said.

Tena Hart, a legal studies professor at Webster, said she thought Kavanaugh did not handle his testimony like a Supreme Court justice. She said his temperament and character did not reflect how a justice should act in pressure situations.

“The yelling and the crying and the screaming and the insulting behavior, particularly to the women senators, was not that of a supreme court judge in my opinion,” Hart said.

Before any allegations surfaced to the public, Hart said she held a negative view of Kavanaugh. She believes he posed as the most conservative nominee, and said she fears he will leave the president’s power unchecked.

Stephan said he is happy with Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the Supreme Court. However, if Kavanaugh is proven guilty, Stephan said he should be brought to justice.

“A crime is a crime no matter when it happens,” Stephan said. “It doesn’t matter if a sexual assault took place yesterday or 30 years ago. It’s sexual assault.”

Hart also said she accepts the Senate’s approval of Kavanaugh but she wants a thorough investigation of the allegations brought against Kavanaugh.

“If the [allegations] by the three women that everybody knows about are true, I think he should be impeached and eventually removed,” Hart said. “But if they’re not, I think he deserves to stay there. That’s what our system is based on is supposedly trying to find the truth, and he should be treated accordingly.”

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