On Oct. 1, Saturday Night Live (SNL), a show renowned for its harsh satirization of many political issues, uploaded a parody of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for a vacant position in the Supreme Court. Rather than the classic laughs given off from the comedic nature of the farce, deeper introspection reveals a rather unsettling and caustic reality of American politics. That is, the video uploaded by SNL appears to display more of what actually happened rather than a hyperbolized event. With a thin line between satire and truth, Kavanaugh’s hearing opened the doors for an opportunity to question his temperament and honesty, qualities perhaps more consequential than his alleged conduct in his more formative years.
Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump following the retirement of Judge Anthony Kennedy. However, as news of his nomination traveled, Professor Christine Ford contacted the Washington Post tip line saying that she was a victim of sexual abuse by Kavanaugh 35 years prior. Despite two other accusations of misconduct, Judge Kavanaugh successfully secured his position to the highest court in the land with a vote of 50-48 in the Senate.
In order to understand the full scope of the issue at hand, it is critical to not only understand what has occurred in the past three months, but also to specifically analyze the way Kavanaugh reacted to the testimonies of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct. One reason Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings caused controversy across the nation is due to his reaction to the statements given by the three women. It is important to note that admitting his faults may have not caused this big of a public outcry. However, by aggressively denying the allegations and being less than favorable to an investigation by the FBI, such a reaction left Kavanaugh at a rather suspicious position.
Yet, when facts and fiction share a blurred boundary, whether or not Kavanaugh committed such devastating acts is not of great significance. The crucial impact lies in what sort of precedent this controversy set on the political battlefield. If he did indeed commit these crimes, we must consider the implications of having nominated a perjurious justice to serve under the highest court in the land, determining the judicial righteousness of the American people. Even if he did not commit such an act, we must think about what it means to have a supposed “harbinger of justice” reflect key judicial values of rationality and understanding. The issue is not that Kavanaugh was flagrantly misogynistic—the bigger problem, as mentioned before, was his approach to the accusations and his rather unsuppressed emotional tirade, which had set a dangerous precedent that being loud and proud is a way to win desirable spots in the political game.
At the end of the day, what matters is not whether one is a Republican or Democrat. It is only natural for President Trump to have nominated a conservative-leaning judge, just as former President Barack Obama appointed Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a Democrat. Nonetheless, the significance we must derive from this political struggle is that the process is momentous. That is, Kavanaugh’s entire confirmation hearing highlights his irrational logic and emotional fluctuations, both traits that may not be so fit for a Supreme Court justice. With such consideration, we must ask ourselves, can we all be so sure that Kavanaugh was rightfully inducted into the Supreme Court based on his actions during the hearings?
This precedent may be difficult to reverse and reveals the rather unfortunate state of American politics. However, the social facet of the controversy uncovers a more positive outlook. With media attention centered around Kavanaugh, people have been organizing public marches to advocate for the voice of Professor Ford. We have seen that gradually, more and more people are engaging in politics and utilizing the essential freedom of speech that everyone is entitled to. Although the Senate hearings are over and Kavanaugh has been confirmed, the undying voice of the public proves that there is a brighter future for American politics.
What we need at this point is not a dispute of who is right or wrong in his or her claims. Rather, what we need to clearly establish are the standards of a proper justice, and the importance of advocating for more political involvement by the masses. Kavanaugh’s confirmation has potentially skewed the qualifications of what it takes to be a member of the Supreme Court. At the same time, it reveals how much more we can improve in the political realm, and thus gives hope for the better change we can bring in the future.