On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an open hearing concerning the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals judge on the DC circuit and President Trump's pick to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
The hearing will be crucial to Kavanaugh's fate, as it will feature testimony from his accuser, a California university professor named Christine Blasey Ford. Last Sunday, Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party while they were both in high school, as reported by The Washington Post. Although Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, newer accusations of sexual misconduct that occurred during his time at Yale have further stoked public mistrust of Kavanaugh.
In Thursday's hearing, a panel of 21 senators will listen to both sides' testimony and decide how this will impact Kavanaugh's nomination. Following the hearing, a confirmation vote scheduled for Friday will determine if Kavanaugh should become a Supreme Court justice.
Though Ford has requested that the committee subpoena the FBI agent who administered her polygraph test, as well as potential witnesses to the assault, Republicans on the committee have denied these requests. On the other side, Kavanaugh will be presenting a calendar from the summer of 1982 in hopes of proving to the committee that he could not have been present during the time of the assault. Any other evidence or testimony is yet to be reported.
Ford's treatment during her testimony, as well as the outcome of the confirmation hearing, will undoubtedly reflect the progression of the #MeToo movement, and determine just how far the nation has come since Anita F. Hill testified before the very same committee in 1991 regarding accusations of sexual misconduct against then-nominee Clarence Thomas, who sits on the Court today. The one-sidedness of Hill's hearing continues to be scrutinized to this day, and whether or not the present judiciary committee, comprised mostly of males, will learn from their predecessors' mistakes remains to be seen.
The outpouring of protest against Kavanaugh, which began almost immediately during the first round of confirmation hearings, underscores his unpopularity with the American people. But until now, his confirmation has been almost a sure bet given the Republican majority in the Senate. In any event, the future of the Supreme Court - one of the nation's most powerful institutions - hangs in the balance.