Country split on Kavanaugh, NU is no different

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Country split on Kavanaugh, NU is no different

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By Kate Win, news correspondent

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation was met by a vast array of reactions in the Northeastern community. After a controversial process filled with sexual assault allegations and a FBI investigation, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday. Many Northeastern students and faculty have thoughts on Kavanaugh’s approval.

“It wasn’t a comprehensive investigation,” said Yael Sheinfeld, a second-year English and Communications combined major and communications director for the NU College Democrats. “They didn’t interview everyone that was involved who could have provided more information about what happened.”

Kavanaugh, who was President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, was confirmed by a narrow 50-48 vote in the Senate following the completion of the FBI investigation.

One subject of the investigation was Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. The second subject, Deborah Ramirez alleged that he had exposed himself at a Yale party.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona pushed for a week-long FBI investigation before a final confirmation vote, which was completed within that time frame. The FBI probe was criticized by many to be too limited in scope.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was met with mixed responses in the Northeastern community.

“I am personally very happy that Brett Kavanaugh was nominated and confirmed as the current Supreme Court justice.” said Noah Tagliaferri, a third-year information science and philosophy double major and president of NU College Republicans. “Based on his past experiences, temperament and jurisprudence, I think he’s proven himself to be a more than capable candidate and now Supreme Court justice.”

Law and Public Policy Professor Daniel Urman said Kavanaugh’s confirmation escalated tensions between the Democratic and Republican parties.

“Overall this has been a reinforcement of the new politics under President Trump,” Urman said. “It’s a hyperpartisan world and ultimately political and partisan associations matter more than other characteristics. It’s been a demoralizing process.”

First-year law student Jose Fernando Pacheco defended Kavanaugh’s right to the presumption of innocence, but believed that the bruising confirmation process could have consequences for the high court.  

“I think that if there weren’t any means to which Dr. Ford can prove that he was the one who sexually assaulted her, he has the right to continue with his life and to be sworn as the new Supreme Court Justice,” Pacheco said.“People will see it as a very politicized court, rather than an impartial court.”

Kavanaugh’s confirmation amid several assault and misconduct allegations has left many women questioning the state of society and lack of progress for women.

“Even though I am not an American, as a woman I feel diminished, because for every woman’s accusation against a man, there’s always going to a different excuse for them to justify why they’re not taking it seriously,” said Thais Glezer, a second-year business administration student. “In this case they used political motivations to justify why they wouldn’t give Ford the attention she deserves in this whole scandal.”

Glezer said that she does not believe Kavanaugh is fit to be confirmed.

“Even though they couldn’t prove it was right, anyone who is suspected of committing harassment shouldn’t be in such a high level position,” Glezer said.

Some women think Kavanaugh’s appointment will hinder the progress that women have made over the years.

“It makes me feel a little stuck as a woman,” Michelle, a fourth year communication studies major added.  “We’ve been fighting the same battles for years and years and it’s always on a precipice – like a change is about to come but it never does. It’s just one beating after another, sort of. It’s terrifying and frustrating.”

Sheinfeld believes the confirmation process has been an emotional and contentious one, shedding light on the division between the Democrats and Republicans.

“Just simply on how the hearings went down is enough to show that he’s unfit to serve in any sort of lifetime position in a court. He made this a whole partisan issue and his character isn’t what we would want for someone who’s going to be appointed,” Sheinfeld said.

To Tagliaferri, Kavanaugh has made an impression that he is qualified for the role.

“I think through 31 hours of testimony for the allegations and another few hours after that, he’s proven himself to be a certainly qualified judge and I support him for that,” Tagliaferri said.

“I hope that this reveals to Americans how deeply political the Supreme Court has become,” Urman said.