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'A thousand reasons to vote no': Brett Kavanaugh hearings debated at PACE event


Raegan Davis, president of College Democrats at IU, speaks to students about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings proceeding his nomination to U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 28 in the Fine Arts Building.  Ty Vinson

For Raegan Davis, president of College Democrats at IU, the implications of U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh being approved are personal.

“If we can’t rely on him to respect women outside the courtroom, we can’t rely on him to respect women in the courtroom,” Davis said.

As a part of the LGBTQ+ community and a survivor of sexual assault, Davis said she feels Kavanaugh’s views and past actions make him unfit for being appointed.

Davis spoke during the Political and Civic Engagement program’s first Free Speech Friday event where attendees discussed the Kavanaugh nomination. 

At the same time, senators in Washington, D.C. were deciding how to proceed with the nomination after Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Kavanaugh and California professor Christine Blasey Ford were questioned about Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school. The Judiciary Committee approved the candidate after tense debate Friday for a full Senate vote, but that vote will be delayed up to one week to allow for an FBI investigation. 

At the PACE event, students from political groups on campus were invited to speak first, including leaders from IU College Democrats, Young Americans for Liberty and the Young Democratic Socialists of America.

Davis said she is concerned about Kavanaugh’s views on immigration, same sex marriage, gerrymandering, voter ID laws, the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade. She said his views threaten the human rights of many, especially immigrants, the LGBT community and women.

“Even if you don’t believe women, you still have a thousand reasons to vote no,” Davis said.

Rishi Raman, leader of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, said he was worried the deregulation Kavanaugh supports, such as being against the conservation of wildlife, could harm the environment. He said he also doesn’t like Kavanaugh’s past support of large corporations over workers’ rights.

Davis also talked about how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh made it even more clear that Kavanaugh is not fit to serve as a Supreme Court justice.

“It has to be relevant to his appointment because it affects the ability of him to do his job,” Davis said.

In the eyes of senior Parker Zent, Thursday’s hearings on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were alarmingly politicized and reactions were extreme.

“I can’t get over how we talk about this,” Zent said. “So many people have called Kavanaugh a terrible man and Ford very bad names as well. I’m scared that there are people that don’t care about the stories of these two people. They just want their side to win.”

Carl Weinberg, senior lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences and moderator of the discussion, said watching Kavanaugh being questioned on things written in his high school yearbook made him think about the implications down the road for other officials who may be put under the microscope.

“It made me a little sick to my stomach,” Weinberg said. “The spectacle of someone’s private life being investigated sets a precedent.”

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