He is Still Standing

Shane Shuma ’22, Opinion Columnist

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Last year Brett Kavanaugh was appointed by President Trump to replace the vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Soon after allegations of misconduct came from several sources, most notably Christine Blasey Ford. After grueling hearings where both Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford were questioned by the Senate Judiciary committee and the failure by the accusing parties to substantiate their claims against Kavanaugh, he was confirmed to the Supreme Court in a 50-48 vote. As this controversy played out on the national stage Dickinson’s campus was engaged and following every new development of the story. Most students simply believed the media narrative and didn’t consider Kavanaugh’s side of the story. Even after the allegations of Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick had been cast into doubt or completely debunked and key witnesses for Ford denied any recollection of the event in question, no one could believe the man was innocent. In this country it is important that we both hold rapists and sexual predators to account and preserve the principle of innocent until proven guilty. 

Recently after one year of relative silence more controversy has emerged surrounding now Justice Kavanaugh. The New York Times reported new details regarding the story of Deborah Ramirez in their opinion section. The media blew up, and prominent Democrats such as Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Francis O’ Rourke, and others called for his impeachment. Just as it seemed public opinion could not get any worse for the man, the frenzy stopped. Why? Because the claims were just as unsubstantiated as before. In the article, titled “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh”, there contained an allegation by a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, Max Stier, that he witnessed the Justice pull his pants down at a party and force his p*nis into the hand of a woman, a claim both the woman, her friends, and Kavanaugh deny. Stier was not a non-biased respectable Yale classmate as he was portrayed by the media, but a person with a long history of being on the opposite side of Kavanaugh. Stier worked for the law firm that represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment scandal while Kavanaugh worked with Prosecutor Ken Starr. He also contributed to the Obama campaign and DNC. If you still believe the allegations against Kavanaugh ask yourself, is it more probable that every single witness to the alleged events are covering up for Kavanaugh, or that there is something to be gained for Democrats by his humiliation and removal?

If real corroborating evidence came out against Kavanaugh that he was a sexual abuser I would be for his removal and denounce him, but the current attempts to bring him down are unsubstantiated. The reason this story is so important is because false claims make it harder for people to believe real victims. Attention should not be given to debunked claims, but to the real victims that continue to suffer silently at universities, in workplaces, and the upper echelons of power in this country. We must also continue to preserve the principle of presumption of innocence. If we had presumed that Kavanaugh was guilty, we would have lost a qualified Supreme Court candidate over false allegations. We must also use this story as a cautionary tale. Kavanaugh’s career was almost successfully ruined, and the tactics employed against him may be used in the future. Even though Democrats benefited this time, there may be a time where these tactics are turned on them, which is why we cannot allow this to continue. The blame is also on the media, which should be more cautious when reporting on information and allegations that can ruin lives. Next time you find yourself in a fervor over something you see in the media ask yourself, is there something I am missing here and are the facts reliable?

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