Protests and rallies are being planned in the nation’s capital and across the country today and this week, as large numbers of women push back against President Donald Trump’s controversial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The resistance comes as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is reportedly set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. A Capitol Hill source confirmed to ESSENCE she will appear with her lawyers and have security, speaking either before or after Kavanaugh
but not while he is in the room. Ford has alleged that during a high school party in the 1980s, he pushed her on a bed, covered her mouth and tried to sexually assault her.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker newly reported that a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, a college classmate of Kavanaugh at Yale University
, also shared claims of sexual misconduct against the nominee. Ramirez alleged he thrust his penis in her face during a party. The nominee has denied any wrongdoing; the article quotes people who voice support for him, as well as the accuser.
Leaders from various women’s organizations and their allies have announced various acts designed to resist the nomination.
Time’s Up is asking women to wear black on Monday and walk out of the workplace, etc., at 10 a.m. EST. Women’s March and other groups plan a Monday processional at noon EST from the Senate office building to the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where survivors will speak. Other events are planned for Thursday and beyond.
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement released a statement of support for Dr. Ford. “So often, survivors struggle to disclose their assault or abuse and when they do, the response is similar to what we’re seeing now.” She referenced lawyer Anita Hill
, who was both celebrated by supporters and pilloried by critics after testifying back in 1991 that now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her on the job.
“It’s been almost 30 years since Anita Hill’s testimony and we want to ensure that the Senate Judiciary Committee does the right thing this time,” said Burke.
“Together with many brave survivors, we plan to show up in numbers the Senate cannot ignore to say: women across America have had enough — it’s time to cancel Kavanaugh,” said Tamika Mallory, co-president of Women’s March in a statement. “We’re channeling our anger, our experiences, our concern into sharp, focused action. … We will be present and we will be watching, offering our unwavering support and solidarity to Dr. Blasey Ford. We’re more determined than before; that makes us more powerful than before.”
The following statement came from TIME’S UP, an advocacy group for women with ties to Hollywood.
“If confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh would have tremendous influence over the lives of working women for generations to come. A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land should not be rushed through without thorough vetting of all critical issues.”
Trump announced his latest pick for the highest court in the land in July. Since that time, controversy has roiled about everything from judge Kavanaugh’s views on Roe v. Wade and the contentious issue of abortion, to whether he believes sitting presidents should be able to avoid criminal prosecution. His finances and purported misstatements during the confirmation process on Capitol Hill earlier this month have also been questioned.
Trump and the White House continue to stand by the nominee, who has strongly denied all allegations. On Sunday, the White House released a statement to the press pool from Kavanaugh:
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name–and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building–against these last-minute allegations.”
A White House spokesperson, Kerri Kupec, added in a statement that Democrats are trying to “tear down a good man. … The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”
The call to action comes as critics charge that Republicans appear poised to proceed with a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation without a full, independent investigation of the accusations.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Ranking Judiciary Committee member, Senator Dianne Feinstein recently sent a letter to president Trump. It urges him to direct the FBI to immediately and thoroughly investigate Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations and provide a report to the Senate as soon as possible.
In the letter, the top Democrats challenge Trump’s previous assertions that this isn’t something the FBI does or that it would take a “tremendous amount of time.”
They explain that conducting background investigations on nominees has long been the FBI’s standard practice, and it is common for such background investigations to be reopened when new information about a nominee becomes known.
The letter also notes decades ago when Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee requested an FBI investigation of Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment. On the same day that President George W. Bush received this request, the White House Counsel directed the FBI to investigate. The Democrats said the agency produced a report three days later to the Senate, prior to the committee’s second round of hearings on the nomination.
Schumer and Feinstein note that since the Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing on Thursday, September 27th, the FBI has several full days to do its work. They noted the scrutiny was even more important given theories reportedly circulating online that suggest a sexual assault may have happened, but Kavanaugh was mistakenly identified.
Sen. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, the only African Americans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sharply questioned Kavanaugh during the confirmation process and oppose his nomination. So does the Congressional Black Caucus.
Others who oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination include celebs such as Shonda Rhimes and John Legend
, and multiple organizations, many of them led by African American women and people of color.
They include the National Women’s Law Center, NAACP, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Ms. Foundation for Women.
While recent public opinion polls show support for Kavanaugh’s nomination has waned, he’s still getting partisan and other backing. Some of his female colleagues in the legal profession have praised his treatment of women.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who worked with the nominee as the highest ranking Black woman during the Bush presidency, called Kavanaugh “a joy and a blessing” to know. Rice testified on Kavanaugh’s behalf earlier this month. She told the Judiciary Committee that the judge “seeks truth in fact.”
Below is a list of Kavanaugh protests taking place this week:
Monday, September 24, 2018 at 12 noon ET:
Who: Women’s March, Center for Popular Democracy, Be A Hero, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Housing Works, Alliance for Justice, #MeToo Movement, End Rape on Campus, Girls for Gender Equity, Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Know Your IX, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Women’s Law Center, YWCA USA, influencers, advocates and celebrities.
Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 8:30AM ET:
Outside of Washington:
- The Women’s March is putting out a Call to Action for National Solidarity Speakouts across the country at Senate offices. At 12 pm across time zones on Thursday, 9/27, survivors will hold speakouts where they share their own stories. Survivors and allies will hold a moment of silence together at 12:30 pm and deliver letters to their elected officials.
Who: Survivors, Women’s March co-chairs Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, and more.