America’s new civil war over Kavanaugh vote
Can the US ever be united again? Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn onto the Supreme Court, despite serious sexual assault allegations. Some say the row has pushed America to breaking point.
“The battle is over, the political war is just beginning.”
So claimed the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher after a tumultuous weekend in American politics, in which Brett Kavanaugh was voted onto the nation’s Supreme Court.
Before the vote on Saturday, protesters massed in Washington, DC. “Kavanaugh has got to go!” they chanted, fists raised. Hundreds were arrested and removed by police.
Their wish was not granted, with Kavanaugh’s nomination confirmed by 50 votes to 48. As a result, he is now appointed to the highest court in America. Comprised of nine judges, the Supreme Court has the final say on the most divisive issues, from gun control to abortion.
In recent weeks, his nomination has hung in the balance after several women accused him of sexual assault. Among them was Christine Blasey Ford who claimed that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party in 1982. He angrily denied all allegations.
His appointment in spite of these allegations only deepens a rift that is cutting through the heart of US society. Kavanaugh is deeply conservative and is backed by President Donald Trump — 84% of Republicans believed him over Ford.
“This is the second most divided time in our history,” claims political pundit William J. Bennett — surpassed only by the Civil War, he says.
Can the US ever be united again?
The damage cannot be undone, some argue. With Kavanaugh on board, the very legitimacy of the Supreme Court is now in danger. Furthermore, Trump used the scandal to fan hatred between Democrats and Republicans which will soon erupt beyond his control.
Do not be pessimistic, others respond. Political opposition is the sign of a democracy in action. The Kavanaugh debate has been bitter, and many will be furious with the outcome. But talk of “civil war” is overblown.
- Should Kavanaugh have been given his post on the Supreme Court?
- In one minute, list all the things that you associate with America. Share your list with the class. Are most of the things good or bad? Do you think the US is a good example for other countries to follow? Why/why not?
Some People Say...
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”Abraham Lincoln
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Appointments to justice of the Supreme Court are for life. Following Kavanaugh’s appointment, conservative lawmakers outnumber the left-leaning justices five to four.
- What do we not know?
- While Ford delivered her testimony to the Senate, no criminal charges have been brought. Kavanaugh denies everything, and we do not know exactly what happened on the night in question.
- 50 votes to 48
- Appointments to the Supreme Court are decided by votes cast in the Senate. Decided by just two votes, this was the closest nomination vote since 1881.
- According to pollsters from Quinnipiac University. Support for Ford also followed partisan lines, with 86% of Democrats believing her testimony.
- Civil War
- Conflict in the United States lasting from 1861 to 1865. It was fought between Confederate and Union forces, and was principally sparked by the issue of slavery. Approximately 750,000 people died.