Kavanaugh's Confirmation Did Set A Dangerous Precedent- But It's Not What You Think

Kavanaugh's Confirmation Did Set A Dangerous Precedent- But It's Not What You Think

The question of innocence or guilt was not the biggest issue.

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A few years ago, two-thirds of Americans couldn't name a single Supreme Court justice. Names like "Ruth Bader Ginsburg" and "John Roberts" were not as immediately identifiable to the public eye as "Hillary Clinton" or "Paul Ryan". This is partially due to the fact that SCOTUS enjoys less media attention than the legislative and executive branches (in order to assure impartiality). And this can also be attributed to the misconception that Supreme Court rulings do not as directly affect Americans as much as legislation pumping through Congress or presidential executive orders. The title of Supreme Court justice does not bring that flair of glamour like the title of "President" or "senator" immediately does. At least, this has been the case for American culture as a whole until recently.

There was an abrupt change in how Americans viewed the prestige of the SCOTUS position. While Gorsuch's hearing went by relatively quietly, Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings became so tumultuous and deeply partisan that they set a dangerous new precedent for the new Supreme Court. And surprisingly, it is not the lurid question of his innocence or guilt that still hangs uncomfortably in the air.

The Supreme Court of the United States was established as a branch intentionally aloof of the other two; where the partisanship divide was no longer relevant. The ultimate purpose of SCOTUS was to determine the constitutionality of government actions, along with further protecting the American citizens from tyranny. The primary issue with Kavanaugh is that blind partisanship drove his hearing. His allegations, his questionable judiciary record, and continuous rejections from both the BAR association and his Alma Mater should have been enough for both parties to block his entrance into the Supreme Court. Surely, both Republicans and Democrats alike want a justice whose integrity and character are not constantly under fire. Therein lies the issue: Kavanaugh's confirmation, despite all of the contrary evidence, set the precedent that it's okay to nominate someone of questionable character so long as they align with your party's values. The nomination for the next justice should not have been so deeply partisan that all 49 Republican senators (with one abstaining) voted to give him a seat on the most prestigious court of the country, regardless of the mounting scandals pressed against him.

Of course, one must take into consideration that the common "innocent until proven guilty" argument was not relevant in these hearings. The misconception that Kavanaugh was on trial further fueled the fervor to allow him to serve. Many howled about the injustice of blocking a man from his rightful spot on the Court because of unproven allegations. Perhaps this would have been a captivating viewpoint if it were not for the fact that it was not necessary to think Kavanaugh a sexual abuser to not want him on SCOTUS. His far-right politics should have sufficed. As it is, the Supreme Court becomes as much a machine of political propaganda if it veers too far into either direction. Sure, you may agree with the beliefs of a far-left or far-right Supreme Court, but this violates its purpose. If that is not cause a for suspicion on its own, what about the White House's collusion with Kavanaugh to hide over 100,000 of his documents? So much for a transparent democracy!

The left, of course, is not innocent in this matter of partisanship either. And for the sake of this article, it is necessary that I mention that as well to avoid misinterpretation of its message. However, by virtue of Kavanaugh's confirmation ultimately being the work of the Republican party, I am naturally going to focus on the erroneous judgment of the right (at least in this case).

Even more dangerously, more and more members of the GOP are beginning to see this as a "win" against Democrats. This idea was especially popularized by Trump's bold statements where he describes his campaign as putting the United States and conservatives on the path to "winning" again. This further affects political discourse by degrading it to essentially a partisan game of football - where each side blindly cheers for their team regardless of the consequences. The difference is that a congressman or woman wholeheartedly supporting, let's say, the Patriots is much less damaging to America's social fabric than to carry the same mentality into politics. The smug attitude from the GOP at pushing Kavanaugh into the Court comes from a primitive desire to just "win the argument", not from genuinely wanting the best person for the job. Otherwise, as put in the aforementioned reasons, not every single Republican would have wanted him as a justice. When one allows the breakdown of one's mentality from the allowance of impartial educated discourse to simply rooting for their team to win, it is easy to overlook all of the glaring flaws of their team, to begin with. Tom Brady may have mediocre sportsmanship and continuous allegations of corruption, but damn can he throw a ball.

Alas, the precedent is clear: Kavanaugh's nomination was a blatant acceptance of the US government infecting the Supreme Court with pure partisanship - defiling the inherent justification of the Court. This begs the questions to all Republicans who staunchly defended Kavanaugh in the proceedings: wanting a conservative justice is understandable, but did it have to be Kavanaugh?

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.

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My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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