28 Sep 2018
#KavanaughHearings: A pivotal moment for the #MeToo movement in USA?
Written byShiladitya Ray
US President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
On Thursday, his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and Kavanaugh himself gave emotional public testimonies about their sides of the story.
With Kavanaugh's Supreme Court appointment hanging in the balance, this could be a pivotal moment for the #MeToo movement in America.
When Christine Blasey Ford broke her silence
A couple of weeks back, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of clinical psychology at the Palo Alto University in California, came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
She alleged that an inebriated Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and had tried undressing her when they were both in high school.
Kavanaugh, however, had denied the allegations flatly.
Do you know?
Other people have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct
Since Dr. Ford broke her silence, Kavanaugh's Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez, alleged sexual misconduct by the judge. Another woman, Julie Swetnick, alleged that Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of women at house parties in the 1980s.
Dr. Ford testified with searing emotion
On Thursday, Dr. Ford testified first with searing emotion as she spoke about her traumatic experience, decades of shame, her civic duty to break her silence, and the consequent hounding by media she experienced, and death threats she received in the past couple of weeks.
In her 20 minute testimony, Dr. Ford confirmed that she was 100% certain that Kavanaugh had been her assaulter.
Kavanaugh's testimony was marked by rage and humiliation
When his turn came, Kavanaugh, who wasn't only fighting for his professional life, but also his personal reputation, gave an impassioned speech marked by rage, aggression, and humiliation.
Kavanaugh choked back tears and his voice cracked as he talked about his family, and lashed out at Democrats, calling the sexual misconduct allegations a "grotesque and coordinated character assassination".
He warned Democrats of consequences too.
Trump, Kavanaugh supporters pleased, critics skeptical
While Kavanaugh's supporters might see the embattled judge as bent man, but not broken, Kavanaugh's critics have pointed out that his performance reeks of a wealthy, privileged man having to face consequences for his reckless and improper actions.
Trump, however, has said that he is pleased with Kavanaugh's testimony.
Meanwhile, the US Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday.
Republicans have a single-vote majority in the Senate Judiciary Committee
Currently, the Republicans have a single-vote majority in the committee - 11 to Democrats' 10.
While Democrats hold that pushing Kavanaugh's nomination through would be an "insult" to American women, Republican senators Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski had earlier expressed their reservations about pushing Kavanaugh's nomination without hearing Ford's story.
Whether they've been swayed by it remains to be seen.
A couple of defectors could derail Trump's nomination
While none of the aforementioned Republican Senators, except for Flake, sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee that holds the power to push through or reject Kavanaugh's nomination, they could play a key role in the Senate vote, should Kavanaugh's nomination be approved.
Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and a couple of defectors, possibly Collins and Murkowski, could derail Trump's nomination.
Kavanaugh's appointment could see abortion getting banned
Apart from the fact that Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court would tilt America's apex court's balance to the right, the embattled judge's nomination could also have disastrous consequences for women in America.
Known for his anti-abortion views, Kavanaugh, if nominated, could overturn the landmark Roe v Wade legislation, thereby triggering abortion bans in several US states.
Kavanaugh's appointment or rejection is a pivotal moment for America
The #MeToo movement has already toppled media behemoths like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Ben Affleck and the like.
Now, the approval of Kavanaugh's nomination, or its rejection, seems to be poised to shape the movement.
On one hand, rejection could cause many others to come forward against powerful politicians.
On the other hand, approval could instil fear in women about breaking silence.