Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made it through to the next stage of the confirmation process on Friday after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., cast the deciding vote. Flake’s only condition was a one-week delay so that the FBI can investigate the sexual assault allegations against the nominee.
“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation, limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there,” said Flake during the hearing.
On Monday, Flake arrived in Boston to speak at the Forbes Under 30 Summit where he was greeted by hundreds of protesters urging him to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination. Protestors gathered for the rally at Boston City Hall at 10 a.m.
In attendance at the rally were congressional candidates Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York who both spoke directly to the crowd.
Pressley, who currently serves on the Boston City Council, and is a sexual assault survivor herself, said that she is angry and outraged that men in positions of power often get away with sexual assault because of their privilege and prestige.
Ocasio-Cortez expressed her disbelief at how compliant the mostly male Senate panel has been with Kavanaugh.
“Can you imagine if Brett Kavanaugh had to sit before a panel of 11 women of color deciding his fate?” said Ocasio-Cortez.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Kavanaugh with all 11 Republicans voting yes, and all 10 Democrats voting no. Flake had stated prior to the hearing that he was planning to vote in favor of Kavanaugh.
As a result, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, two victims of sexual assault, approached Kavanaugh in an elevator about his vote.
“I only think that he did that because he was like cornered in the elevator. I feel like if that didn’t happen then he wouldn’t have called for the investigation,” said Suffolk University junior and government major Paul DeAngelis.
The judiciary committee cast their votes just a day after the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who was one of three women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
“All Supreme Court nominations, like with all federal court nominees [at all levels] go through an FBI background investigation which is a different process than an FBI criminal investigation,“ said Sheila B. Scheuerman in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. Scheuerman has a juris doctor degree from Washington University School of Law and is an instructor in Suffolk’s Government Department.
“He had his FBI background investigation completed over the summer, and the president has ordered that the background investigation be reopened [to do] a supplemental background investigation based on the allegations that have come forth,” said Scheuerman.
The Senate Republicans and the White House gave the FBI a list of five people to further interview during the week delay, including Ford, who gave her testimony on Thursday. The list also included two of Kavanaugh’s high school friends Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth and Deborah Ramirez according to The Boston Globe.
Three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault or misconduct, the first being Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged Kavanaugh pinned her down and groped her at a high school party while drunk.
The second accusations came from Deborah Ramirez, who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in a dorm room party during the 1983-1984 school year.
The third comes from Julie Swetnick, who signed a sworn document declaring Kavanaugh and Judge attended parties as teenagers where girls were targeted for unwanted sex through drugs and alcohol.
“I am not saying anyone is lying or that someone is not telling the truth, I just think that it is kind of unfair to brand someone as what is such a terrible thing as a rapist if you aren’t one-hundred percent sure,” said DeAngelis.
Following his testimony, critics of Kavanaugh questioned whether his temperment during the trial was befitting of a Supreme Court justice.
“After watching his hearing, I noticed Kavanaugh was almost too passionate, and for someone on the Supreme Court, you need someone who is levelheaded,” said Alyssa DelVecchio, junior Politics, Philosophy and Economics Major.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations and accused Democrats of using them to derail his nomination.
“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election,” said Kavanaugh during his trial.
“Fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. This is a circus.”
Scheuerman spoke about Kavanaugh’s quote, reflecting on previous judicial nominees.
“In the past, when you have seen nominees for the Supreme Court, they try very hard to maintain at least an appearance of neutrality.
Whether or not that is true we can put aside because they are political appointments at the end of the day, but at least until now, I’m not aware of any nominee who has made such partisan statements like that publicly” said Scheuerman.
Despite the eyes and ears of the country now being turned toward the FBI investigation, it is unlikely the results will be made public to anyone other than the Senate voters themselves.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” said Kavanaugh in a statement.
“The people who knew me then know this did not happen and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple,” said Kavanaugh.