Reflections on the Kavanaugh Controversy: What Students Do In High School Matters

Swearing-in Ceremony for Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Oval. Rose Garden.

Eric Draper

Swearing-in Ceremony for Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Oval. Rose Garden.

Lulu Gebbie, Contributor

On Saturday October 5th, in one of the narrowest Supreme Court confirmation votes ever, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an Associate Supreme Court Justice. His confirmation was first thought to be quick and simple, because the executive and legislative branches were both Republican. President Trump’s nominee should have had a shoe-in. Everything changed when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shared her story with the Washington Post. The Stanford professor told the publication Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.

Dr. Ford claimed this event happened when Judge Kavanaugh was seventeen years old: the same age as most of the senior class at San Rafael High School. The question has been asked: should it even matter if he was just a kid? And the simple answer is yes.

The Republican Party was appalled by the accusation and refuted it claiming it was a last resort effort from the Democrats to prohibit Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The climate of the country and past Supreme Court hearings forced senators to take Dr. Ford’s claims seriously. The #metoo movement that started in the entertainment industry showed the country and more importantly the senators that they couldn’t sweep this under the rug.

In the last two years, the saying “Boys will be boys” transformed from a common phrase to a piece of propaganda for multiple movements around the country. Everyone is accountable for their actions. It should never be allowed for a young man, of any age, to physical assault another human being. Although he was not yet an adult at the time, the crime in question calls for the defendant to be tried as an adult.

A privileged, well educated teenage boy does not make the silly mistake of sexual assault. Judge Kavanaugh’s actions stayed with Dr. Ford and continues to affect her daily life. On September 16, 2018, The Washington Post reported that Ford recalled this incident in couples therapy in 2012 and was torn between speaking out about her experience and protecting herself and her family’s lives.

This confirmation hearing brings the racism of the country to the surface. Brett Kavanaugh was let off the hook for his actions because he was just a kid, yet countless teenagers in the African American community have been killed or sent to jail because of an accusation far less serious than Kavanaugh’s.

In an article from the Associated Press on October 2nd, 2018, Jesse Holland highlights the “racial double standard” exposed in the confirmation hearing. “Black boys as young as 10 are more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to an American Psychological Association report in 2014.”

People are aware of these statistics. Kavanaugh’s confirmation impacted the entire nation including the San Rafael High School community. Zach Hatch was disappointed when he was appointed but knows he won’t be affected because he is “white and a male.” While this statement is blunt to say the least, it’s true. Most of the rulings in the Supreme Court will not affect Zach in any way. Colette Birkenfeld and Caitlin Chow-Ise, two senior girls, are extremely worried about Kavanaugh. Birkenfeld explained, “He could change laws that take away rights for women.” Chow-Ise mentioned Roe v. Wade as a ruling that the new supreme court justice could possibly help overturn and impact her and her rights.