Staff editorial: Let Kavanaugh be a wake up call

This past weekend, many voters again felt the all-too-familiar emotions that come with the continual degradation and failure of democratic processes. Regardless of political affiliation, the facts of the situation remain: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, someone accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple people, who lied under oath and who exposed blatantly partisan views while testifying, was voted through by a slim partisan majority to serve on the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court is supposed to be the highest court in the land, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation shows just how low our standards are.

The indifference displayed toward the concerns of many—specifically women and minority groups—does not bode well for the next 20 or 30 years during Kavanaugh’s time on the court. While it is impossible to predict what exactly will happen during Kavanaugh’s term, glimpses of his views were exposed through his testimonies and court opinions written during his time as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Kavanaugh’s record leans strongly toward a traditional conservative viewpoint, with few exceptions. Notable issues likely to cross the Supreme Court case docket are presidential power (Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote on whether President Trump can be indicted or compelled to testify), abortion (many fear that he might attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade) and gun rights (he believes it is unconstitutional to ban semiautomatic weapons), among others (religious liberty, agency regulatory power, voting rights and terrorist detainment).

It hurts to feel ignored, and it hurts even more to feel ignored and not have the ability to do anything about it. Even though as voters, we may not have the ability to directly influence Supreme Court decisions, there are other ways to fight for what we believe in.

To combat the potential consequences stemming from Kavanaugh’s voice in Supreme Court decisions, donating is a quick and time commitment-free way to show support. Giving to political campaigns supporting candidates whose views align with yours (like those who voted against Kavanaugh, for example) or organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union or any number of local organizations serves a dual purpose: It concretely supports their efforts and demonstrates solidarity with their goals.

If you’re looking to get in the middle of the action, protests opposing Kavanaugh’s appointment are still going strong across the country, including in our own backyard. A simple Facebook search for “Kavanaugh protest” returns hundreds of results for events coming up this week and beyond. Just because the vote feels final doesn’t mean the fight has to stop.

In the long term, it’s important to remember that there are still things we can do to continue pushing for our own rights, even if our own politicians won’t stand up for us. The simplest of these, the right held by all citizens, is the ability to vote. As noted by the New York Times, four out of five justices nominated by Republican presidents were proposed by a leader who lost the popular vote. This reality, and the many other similar disappointments stemming from the most recent election, are preventable. If you are fed up, vote. If you feel silenced, vote. As noted by the Editorial Board last week, the deadline to register to vote in Missouri (and many other states) is quickly approaching. Even if you’re pretty sure you’re registered, check anyway (especially if you’re a student, as we change addresses pretty frequently).

On a more personal level, as members of the Washington University community, we can all help to establish an environment where survivors don’t feel silenced, but heard and respected. As demonstrated by the Title Mine rally last semester, Washington University students have the capacity to care and organize to demonstrate their support for survivors. It is paramount that students—as well as professors and administrators—continue to show this support and fight for a future in which we are all safe, with everyone’s rights protected.

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