Brett Kavanaugh And The Republican War On Women

Yesterday I made it crystal clear that I favor an FBI investigation into the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh.  I do so because it seems to me that this is the only way to insure that she will receive due process under the law.  To date, all arguments for a full and complete probe of Dr. Ford's allegation of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh have fallen on deaf ears.  That leaves me with one question?  WHY?

There seems to be a God awful rush to cram Brett Kavanaugh down our throats and to force his way onto the Supreme Court, which is puzzling to me.  There are no specific guidelines that mandate that Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed by a date certain.  Even if the Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate, it would still be possible for them to confirm either Judge Kavanaugh or another reliably conservative judge to the Supreme Court before handing control over to the Democrats.  So there's no good reason for this stampede to confirmation.

Well, that's not entirely true.  While it is conceivable that Senate Republicans could push through a Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court during to so-called "lame duck" session, they may find it difficult to do so if they lose control of the Senate in the mid-term elections.  However, never underestimate Mitch McConnell's determination to make the Supreme Court the legal branch of the Republican Party.  More to the point, however, the Republicans are extremely determined to place this particular conservative on the Supreme Court because he is the one judge among many others who has expressed the idea that Roe v. Wade CAN be overturned.  One added advantage to having a conservative like Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is that it is possible that his legal reasoning may allow for a more far-ranging interpretation of the "right to life" philosophy.  There are many within the pro-life movement who would argue that birth control pills fall within the heading of a mechanism of abortion, thus laws banning birth control pills would also come under judicial review.

Apart from the area of reproductive rights, it can be assumed that Judge Kavanaugh would be a restrictive voice on the Court for a good many other issues affecting women in a negative way.  There is the matter of women in the workplace, for instance.  There are laws on the books covering sexual harassment and equal pay for equal work.  These too would be subject to judicial review and Judge Kavanaugh has been closely linked with Antonin Scalia's originalist legal philosophy.  Originalist legal thinking has tended to take a narrow view with respect to workplace discrimination.  A broad view of the subject would look at the issue from a practical perspective.  Employee X is a male and Employee Y is a female.  They both do the same job yet Employee Y doesn't get paid as much as Employee X.  The very fact that there is this kind of disparity based on gender would constitute discrimination under a broad interpretation of discrimination law.  Originalists, however, would insist that the employer would have had to INTEND to discriminate in order for anti-discrimination law to apply.

Brett Kavanaugh seems to blend in nicely with the "turn back the clock" spirit that seems to have taken root in Republican conservatism.  There seems to be a nostalgic wish to go back to the good old days when women were women and they knew their place, which for the most part meant staying home, having babies and taking care of the needs of their husbands.  This attitude seems to permeate through many segments of the Republican base.  Thus by gaining total control of the federal judicial system, Republicans can set the stage for a return to those good old days.  And there is one added benefit to such revisionism.  This cultural shift would tend to stimulate the Republican base and hopefully motivate Republicans to come out and vote in the mid-term elections.

Like it or not, Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court may very well wipe out many if not all of the gains made by women over the past fifty years.  How will this help Republicans?  It will create an atmosphere in which women are pushed back onto the sidelines of American political life.  Republicans are acutely aware of the wide and ever widening gender gap that exists in today's political world.  What better outcome for Republicans politically than to turn back the clock and create an atmosphere in which women are no longer encouraged to be all they can be?  Wouldn't it be a better world for Republican politicians if the workplace environment discouraged women from being engaged and involved in the world outside the home?  That being the case, rushing Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court makes total sense.


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  • On the other hand, the process that is due is in the Senate, not an FBI investigation. There's a reason for the statute of limitations, and the FBI is not going to find out if she was felt up at a high school party 35 years ago, and, the last I heard, assault was a state crime unless the high school was on a federal enclave.

    As for the other women's issues, they should come out to vote this November.With such as the poll Aquinas Wired cited today, they shouldn't have any problem putting the issues into legislation.

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