Our View: Character is as important as credentials

Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, is being investigated by the FBI after the Senate hearing that took place this past week.

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who recently accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982, has faced immense criticism since the hearings began. In front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford began her testimony by saying, “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch called the hearing a “national disgrace,” stating that the claims used against Kavanaugh were based off un-credible and insubstantial accounts from his teenage years. In other words, he suggests that sexual assault in one’s teenage years is not substantial enough to be used as a judge of character as an adult. In broader terms, Orrin’s argument ultimately states that sexual assault shouldn’t be taken seriously if it didn’t occur in the recent past.

But there is no expiration date on the severity of sexual assault, no matter the suspect’s position. The fact that Ford did not want to relive her trauma by coming forward sooner should not be held against her. In fact, Kavanaugh’s recent nomination makes Ford’s allegation even more pertinent. Supreme Court justices should be held to extraordinarily high standards in their public and personal lives. To have a nominee even be accused of something as horrendous as sexual assault should warrant serious reconsideration.

Many have asked why Ford is only now speaking up after remaining silent for over 20 years. She didn’t come forward when the assault took place. She didn’t come forward when Kavanaugh first became an attorney, she still didn’t come forward when he was appointed as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals. But to Ford, Kavanaugh’s nomination was the turning point. The weight of the position Kavanaugh would occupy as one of nine supreme court judges was too great to keep silent. If elected, Kavanaugh would be interpreting the constitution on a daily basis. In fact, he would most likely be overseeing some cases much like his own. If he were to still be found capable after these hearings, what kind of precedent would that set to victims of sexual assault, and sexual assaulter themselves?

This is not a judgment of Kavanaugh’s knowledge or ability to practice law. He has no doubt gotten to this place in his career through some amount of hard work and intelligence. However, Kavanaugh’s character should be a determining factor in deciding if he should be appointed to Supreme Court justice. The American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct states that “A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” Through telling white lies about the sexual jokes he made as a teenager, blaming his accusations on supposed conspiracies against him and denying any connection to Ford’s story, Kavanaugh has not exhibited comforting character qualities. Many Americans are not convinced that, were he to be appointed, he would be able to make impartial judgements on high-stakes cases, especially those involving sexual assault.

This trial is deserving of the national and international attention it has received. Choosing who will be appointed as the next Supreme Court justice is an incredibly tedious and important process, and every facet of a nominated candidate’s qualifications and character should be scrutinized. Kavanaugh’s nomination should be held to the same bar of excellence as has been protocol with every other. A sexual assault accusation is more than enough reason to warrant the kind of investigation which Kavanaugh supporters are calling “over-dramatic” and “unfair.”

The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.

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