The ACLU of Northern California joins the National ACLU in opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a matter of organizational policy, the ACLU does not support or oppose candidates for political or judicial office, but credible allegations of sexual assault have been lodged against Judge Kavanaugh. The standard for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be high, and the burden is on the nominee. That burden is not met if there are unresolved questions regarding allegations of sexual assault.
The credible testimony by Christine Blasey Ford, additional allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh, and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony at the hearing lead us to believe he is unfit to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and to take the extraordinary step of opposing his nomination.
In 1991, Professor Anita Hill also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her experience of sexual harassment by then-nominee Clarence Thomas. However, her credibility was challenged at every turn — by the Senate and in the public sphere — despite corroborating witnesses, many of whom were not called by the Committee. In the end, Clarence Thomas was narrowly confirmed and has been on the court for the past 27 years.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, the country has undergone a period of reckoning regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault — behaviors that not only harm individual survivors, but also reflect how power and privilege are used to reinforce gender inequity. But these behaviors persist. To confirm Judge Kavanaugh would be to reverse the progress our nation is making and convey — once again — that serious abuse against women is not disqualifying for a seat on the nation’s highest court.