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Bloomington activists protest Supreme Court nomination



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Abby Ang speaks at the protest Sept. 20 against Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination at the Monroe County Courthouse. Ang is the spokesperson for Indivisible Bloomington and 9th District. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

Activists hung a banner on the walls of the Monroe County Courthouse encouraging people to call their senators and urge them to vote no for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

The protest was organized by students and local activist groups, and featured speakers discussing Kavanaugh’s views on health care and women’s rights. Later, protesters passed out buttons, flyers and signs with sayings like “Why we say KavaNOPE” and “Protect Health Care” on Kirkwood Avenue. 

The protest comes after the Senate postponed their vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination following Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a house party when he was 17. Kavanaugh denied the allegation.

The Senate’s meeting to vote on Kavanaugh was scheduled for Thursday but was postponed amid the allegation. The Senate Judiciary Committee said it will hold a public hearing with Kavanaugh about the allegations next week. Blasey Ford is currently in negotiations to speak before the committee. 

Students on campus are concerned about the allegation and what it could mean in the future, College Democrats at IU President Raegan Davis said.

“We are trying to draw the connection between how he treats women outside the courtroom and how he would treat them in the courtroom,” Davis said. 

In addition to women’s rights, protesters said they are concerned with Kavanaugh’s views on health care. Protester Bryce Greene spoke to the crowd of around 30 people on how Kavanaugh’s appointment could affect health care.

In the past, Kavanaugh has received criticism from abortion-rights activists for calling contraceptives abortion-inducing drugs. In 2017, Kavanaugh was a judge on a case to determine whether or not an immigrant teen could receive an abortion and dissented. 

“Kavanaugh seems to be all right with people going bankrupt over medical bills,” Greene said. “He is not on anyone’s side.”

Green said Kavanaugh does not have an open mind toward progressive views, something he said he does not want in the Supreme Court.

“I don’t think we need any more conservatives in the Court,” Greene said. “We have a Supreme Court now that is hostile towards progressive views, and that hurts progressive people everywhere.”

Goals of the protest were to discuss broader issues and concerns of protesters, and using Kavanaugh’s nomination as a way to get people involved in them, Davis said.

“The Kavanaugh question represents a lot of bigger issues,” Davis said. “We are advocating through his lense because he is the most immediate threat.”

Organizers said they felt that a gathering of protesters would be the most effective strategy to create change because officials are more likely to listen to a collective voice.

“Protest is a form of political communication that is likely to get the attention of elected officials,” Davis said. “If you call, that is just one person.”

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton attended, and he said he was happy to see citizens standing up for their beliefs.

“I am always proud to see that Bloomington is full of activists,” Hamilton said. “That is how change happens. If you don’t fight, you’re not going to win.”

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