Open thread Sept. 18, 2018 Dan Crawford | September 18, 2018 5:03 am Tags: open thread Comments (1) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Have a nice day, Susan Sarandon.
“If Kavanaugh is confirmed, two out of nine justices on the United States Supreme Court — a full third of the male justices — will have been credibly accused of doing serious harm to women and given lifetime appointments anyway.
Contrary to what some of Kavanaugh’s defenders have insinuated, Kavanaugh and Thomas’s alleged disregard for women isn’t just a “personal” problem. On the bench, they can — and will — translate it into law. In 2000, Clarence Thomas provided the fifth vote needed to strike down a key provision of the Violence Against Women Act, which would have granted victims of gender-based violence the right to sue their perpetrators in civil court. He provided a fifth vote in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allowed for-profit corporations to decide whether their employers had access to contraception, and voted to curtail equal-pay protections in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. As Jill Abramson noted, Thomas also cast the key fifth vote in Vance v. Ball State University, a decision dramatically limiting avenues for holding bosses who do the very things he allegedly did to Hill accountable.
Judge Kavanaugh has been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a young woman, attempting to take control of her body. He was nominated by a president who has been accused by at least 17 women of harassment, groping, and assault. If he is confirmed, he would be the crucial swing vote deciding whether to overturn or undermine Roe v. Wade, with the power to impose his will on the bodies of girls and women across America who don’t want to be pregnant. It’s very possible, even likely, that a man accused of respecting women’s bodies and autonomy so little that he put his hand over Christine Blasey Ford’s mouth to silence her screams will decide whether we are forced to give birth against our wills. He’d have control over whether transgender women can be ruthlessly denied medically necessary health care and over how much Title IX demands schools do to combat sexual harassment, over the growing ways that employers sweep workplace discrimination under the rug.
As justices, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh would have the final say over our rights to abortion, in the workplace, and in the public sphere for decades to come. Judge Kavanaugh is only 53 years old. He could have this power over all of our bodies for a lifetime.
For the GOP, this is a feature, not a bug. When Justice Kennedy retired, opening the door to the end of Roe, Rebecca Traister wrote that we were living under the “suffocating power of minority rule.” Kavanaugh’s nomination was always about entrenching the power of wealthy men over everyone else — women, disenfranchised black voters, immigrants torn apart from their children, working people without health care. Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to preserve the system of power that turns boys like Brett Kavanaugh into “highly respected and high-ranking members of society” in Washington, while making it untenable for women Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill to seek recourse when male aggression throws their lives off track. The same system of power prompts his defenders to say powerful men like Kavanaugh should be completely excused for their behavior at 17, while prosecuting poor black 17-year-olds as adults.
When asked whether the allegations against Kavanaugh should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court, Ed Rollins, the co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, told the Daily Beast, “If this is the new standard, no one will ever want to or be able to serve in government or on the judiciary.” That’s only true if you have a very particular idea of who counts as “everyone.” If this had been the standard all along, Anita Hill, Professor Ford, or the brilliant female lawyers who say they were abused by Kavanaugh’s judicial mentor might have gone on to be judges instead.”