Budowsky: Kavanaugh and the rights of women

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On the transcendent matter of the rights of women, the fate of American women should not be determined by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who are all conservative men, Senate Republican leaders who are all conservative men, a Supreme Court majority of five conservative Republican men, and a Republican president whose attitudes about women are legendary. 

Engraved atop the United States Supreme Court are the timeless words “Equal Justice Under Law” which will someday be achieved in American life, law, politics and justice.

The vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be the most important vote ever cast and possibly the most important action ever taken by 100 members of the Senate — especially two women who hold decisive power over the legal rights of every woman and citizen in America.


Regarding Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), those like myself who strongly oppose the Kavanaugh nomination should address them with civility and respect. Yet they must fully understand that on this momentous matter they represent every woman and every citizen in every community and every state who hopes, dreams, deserves and demands equal justice under law and equal rights for all.

African-Americans are not widely represented in the Senate. Nor are Hispanic Americans. Or poor Americans. Or Americans suffering from pre-existing, life endangering medical conditions. Or wage-earning workers who want equal pay for equal work. Or men and women who seek to love and marry the person of their choice without the power of the state dictating who they are not allowed to join in love and matrimony.

Kavanaugh would have enormous impact on their lives but their voice is silent in the all-male corridor of Republican power in the Judiciary Committee, Senate Republican leadership, and the chambers of conservative Republican men who often render Supreme Court decisions by party-line votes on great constitutional questions. 

Soon, the majority of female voters appear poised to cast their votes in midterm elections for a check and balance against the abuses that corrupt Washington today. If these women vote in direct proportion to their opinions, ambitions, hopes and dreams, they will change America and fire a cannon shot for the rights of women and justice for all that will be heard across the Republic and around the world.

The rights of women and others across America were burglarized when Senate Republicans refused to even consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. This wanton abuse of Senate power left the court with only eight justices for more than a year, making a mockery of claims by Senate Republicans that the Kavanaugh vote cannot be postponed to enable the FBI to conduct a background check of allegations made against Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.  

Honorable senators of integrity should not prejudge the findings of this FBI background check but must demand it be conducted fairly and thoroughly before voting on confirmation. They will rue the day if they impose a show trial hearing for a few hours, followed by a fixed party-line vote of Republicans that would demean the rights of women and the search for justice by wielding their power without seeking the truth.

Senators should demand a decent interval before voting on the nomination to allow reasonable time for a fair FBI background check and a committee hearing involving a reasonable number of witnesses informing senators before they vote. 

If the woman, Dr. Ford, can take and pass a polygraph test, the man, Judge Kavanaugh, can fairly be asked to do the same. If Ford identifies Mark Judge as having been present at the alleged crime and he rises in defense of Kavanaugh, senators should insist he testify under oath to fairly evaluate his testimony before voting on the nomination.

It would be a tragedy for justice and disastrous for Republicans if not even two Republican senators stand up for equal justice and a fair confirmation process.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing Lisa Murkowski Merrick Garland Supreme Court Susan Collins Women's rights

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