UI students react to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation

UI students discuss how Kavanaugh’s nomination will frame the midterm elections.



Retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in the Justices’ Conference Room at the Supreme Court Building on Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible. (Fred Schilling/Sipa USA/TNS)

Alexandra Skores, News Reorter

After the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the 114th justice of the Supreme Court after questions about Kavanaugh’s past and sexual-assault allegations, many University of Iowa students said his appointment will frame midterm elections for them.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in the spring, President Trump picked Kavanaugh to be his Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy.

Last week, the FBI was tasked with investigating Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual-assault allegation against Kavanaugh.

“As a young student and as a young woman, this confirmation makes me feel disrespected and afraid,” third-year UI student Sarah Henry said. “In many conversations I’ve had throughout this process, I’ve been surprised by how little consideration people have given to Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience and bravery.”

Ford reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school as the Senate Judiciary Committee considered his nomination. On Sept. 27, she and Kavanaugh testified before the Judiciary Committee about the allegations. Ford said she was certain Kavanaugh assaulted her. He denied any misconduct.

RELATED: Iowa law professors voice opposition to Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation

“It’s hard to say what this decision makes me want to do,” Henry said. “Part of me wants to run through the streets of my neighborhood and knock on all of my residents’ doors, registering them to vote and getting them involved in the conversation, but part of me wants to sit forever and force myself to accept that the people representing me in D.C. truly don’t care about me.”

UI senior Gabriela Wagoner, the secretary of the UI College Republicans, said the case exemplified how pivotal upcoming midterm elections were and how everyone should get out to vote.

“Sexual assault is a very serious crime, and if Kavanaugh was guilty, he of course should not sit on the Supreme Court,” Wagoner said. “But the Democratic Party seems to have become one solely focused on feelings instead of facts.”

Wagoner said the country has become divided to a point that even basic things are not agreeable.

Nick Rohlman
Community members gather on the steps of the Old Capitol in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 to protest the nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Protestors spoke in support of victims of sexual violence and shared personal stories about coming forward as victims of sexual violence.

“As a survivor, this confirmation has been one of the worst experiences of my life,” said UI student Elena Greene, the vice president of UI Student Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “As a student who is studying social work and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, I know the scope of sexual violence in not only this country but across the world is much greater than we even currently comprehend. I feel completely failed by my country.”

Greene traveled to D.C. this past weekend alongside many UI survivors to tell their story with anyone who would listen on Capitol Hill. What Greene saw was a sight she will never forget.

“I have had PTSD-induced night terrors of being assaulted and that I have woke up numerous times with blood running down my legs,” Greene said. “As I said those words, a woman in the office wearing a I Stand With Kavanaugh T-shirt rolled her eyes at me.”