Pace Students’ Passionate Reaction to Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court


Lorie Shaull

A protester against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh outside the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kwadar Ray , Managing Editor

Before he even gets a chance to take part in a ruling, judge Brett Kavanaugh is already one of the most polarizing justices in Supreme Court history. Despite his political positions on executive power that initially garnered controversy, Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by the senate this past Friday by a slim 50-48 vote, is such a controversial figure due to the three sexual assault allegations against him.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school over 30 years ago, was the only accuser who had an opportunity to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, delivered an emotional testimony detailing what she recalls happened to her that night, where she alleges she was afraid Kavanaugh would accidentally kill her.

Her testimony and allegations led many to show their support for her right outside of Capitol Hill. Others, like Pace senior Ally Fennik, were not able to make it to Washington, so they showed their support over social media.

“I posted on social media because it’s something I felt really strongly about,” Fennik said. “I posted right after both hearings and wanted my followers to know I support survivors.”

Though she could not show her support in person, Fennik, like many in America, have strong feelings on Kavanaugh being confirmed.

“It’s definitely a sad time for women in America,” Fennik said. “Seeing history repeat itself [Anita Hill] and watching this country go backwards feels like a huge loss. I find myself feeling angry and confused as to why this was accepted. This highly credible woman risked everything in order to tell her truth, do her civic duty, and stand up for every survivor of sexual assault.”

Sophomore David Mulcahy said though he was not entirely sure, he knew it was likely that Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed.

“At this point it doesn’t surprise me that a guy like that can get in,” Mulcahy, a political science major, said. “Because Donald Trump, a man who bragged about sexually assaulting married women, got into office. He set a precedent that people like him can be in power.” 

Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Ariana Pietaro, a graduate student, said as much as she wanted the senate to vote against Kavanaugh, she had a feeling he would be confirmed.

“Since Trump and his administration is fond of Kavanaugh, and they seemed to want to confirm him from the beginning, I wasn’t 100% surprised,” Pietaro said. 

Before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the allegations against him were subject to a 5-day FBI investigation that ended this past Wednesday, which did not find much outside of what has already been reported on the allegations.

Pietaro believed the investigation was too limited in scope.

“I do believe that the investigation should have went on a little longer,” she said. “Dr. Ford was accusing him of some pretty serious things & it seemed as if they didn’t take enough time to investigate, possibly because she reported the assault after many years.”

However, Pietaro does not subscribe to the notion that since Ford’s testimony came decades later, that it makes it invalid. She believes the 51-year-old wholeheartedly.

“It takes a lot of courage to report an abuser, especially knowing that this case would be watched all over the country,” she said. “She also even said that there’s scientific proof that the brain stores certain details and memories for life. Although it took her many years to comfortably report the assault, she should still be believed.”

Pietaro believes the confirmation sends a negative message to women in the U.S., and she believes it can install fear and discouragement in the hearts of sexual assault victims.

“Although many survivors have come forward & stood in solidarity with Dr. Ford, I think that it still makes many women fearful,” she said. “Many survivors are probably thinking that if, or when, they report their cases, they may not receive justice, especially since an abuser is appointed into the Supreme Court.”

From the political policy standpoint, Mulcahy said Kavanaugh being on the court, making it a 5-4 conservative majority, will have a significant impact.

“Definite shift towards conservatism, especially in the realm of criminal justice like stop and frisk type stuff,” he said. “I don’t think abortion itself will be outlawed, but maybe laws in regards to healthcare coverage will go conservative. Overall not a good direction for America to go in my opinion.”

Charles Edward Miller
Supporters of abortion rights fear the conservative majority in the Supreme Court can spell the end for a woman’s right to choose.

Fennik was beyond disappointed with the confirmation and the past month itself. However, she said she is attempting to focus on the positives that come out of these dark moments.

“I’m becoming more aware, I’m getting involved, meeting more people with similar views, I’m registered to vote,” she stated. “I’m even going as far as to thinking how I’m going to raise my future children. All things I never used to do.  Moments like this we cannot and must not feel defeated. We have to go to polls and do our civic duties, no matter what political party you associate with. This midterm election is so important and I’m excited to see what comes out of it. I believe Dr. Ford and I stand wholeheartedly with every survivor.”