The reputation of Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, lies in tatters.
His confirmation hearings for the post culminated last Thursday in a day of confrontation between Kavanaugh and his principal accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford.
Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh is also accused of other sexual assaults and of being involved in gang rapes.
He claimed the allegations were part of an orchestrated attack by “the left”.
Now a separate FBI investigation into the allegations has been set up.
But it will only last a week and is unlikely to “unearth much more than was already known,” according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
And it is unlikely to have an effect on Kavanaugh’s confirmation unless pressure is kept up.
The allegations against him reveal a world of patronage and privilege where women are treated as second class. Almost as shocking is the fact that they are not seen as a barrier to Kavanaugh taking office.
On top of recent allegations are the confirmed reports. For instance, Kavanaugh gave a clerkship—valuable work experience—to the underqualified son of Alex Kozinski.
Alex Kozinski resigned last year following revelations that he sexually harassed his clerks. Kavanaugh claims to not have known about Kozinski’s conduct—it has been alleged this is not credible.
Kavanaugh’s political record is another reason to oppose him. He has tried to divert public funds to private religious schools. He has opposed abortion rights and federal funding for environmental protections.
Once the confirmation hearings conclude, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to accept Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. The vote will then go to the full Senate.
Republican senator Dean Heller of Nevada said, “We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination. We’ll get through this and we’ll get off to the races.”
The Democratic establishment has been forced to acknowledge the strength of feeling that exists around Kavanaugh. But it sees the campaign against him as less about stopping his appointment.
Instead, it is more a part of a campaign to challenge Trump’s Republican Party in the midterm elections next month.
Senior Democrats have put themselves at the head of the resistance to Trump and tried to limit its scope.
There were dozens of protests in support of Christine Blasey Ford’s powerful testimony last Thursday.
Another day of protests was planned for Thursday of this week.
From the Women’s March to the #MeToo movement, people across the US have shown that they want action against sexism and to resist Trump’s attacks.
Those forces must be mobilised on the streets again.