In what increasingly looks like a very challenging prospect, if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is ever confirmed to the Supreme Court, he may not be welcomed with open arms by some of his colleagues.
Addressing an audience of first-year law students at Georgetown University on the eve of Kavanaugh’s appearance before an ultra-partisan Senate Judiciary Committee to address allegations of attempted rape, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted that she is “really turned on by the #MeToo” movement.
In awkward company
Students who were present at the Georgetown University Law Center event posted Ginsburg’s lecture to Facebook after the justice spoke at length about the national movement to expose sexual harassment and sexual assault offenders that began in 2017 and has unseated dozens of men from places of power and influence.
“I am really turned on by this ‘Me Too,’” Ginsburg said. “Because these ‘Me Too’ complaints, every woman of my vintage has not just one story but many stories, but we thought there was nothing you could do about it because boys will be boys. So just find a way to get out of it.”
The jurist added that she also has “not just one story but many stories” of her own experiences with inappropriate sexual behavior from men.
According to Ginsburg, a moment that stuck out in light of #MeToo occurred months before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to resign, and long before Judge Brett Kavanaugh was even considered as a nominee to the highest court in the land.
Before the media firestorm surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault accusations, and before the subsequent kangaroo court that met to hear her allegations, Justice Ginsburg talked about her own MeToo moment while answering questions from National Constitution Center CEO Jeffrey Rosen.
She shared her story:
I was in a chemistry class at Cornell. I was not very adept in the laboratory, so a teaching assistant decided to help me out so much that he offered to give me a practice exam the day before the actual exam. When I went into the room and looked at the exam paper, I found that it was the practice exam. Then I knew immediately what this instructor expected as a payoff. So, instead of being shy, I confronted him and said, “How dare you do this?” That is one of many, many stories that every woman of my vintage knows.
Ginsburg told Georgetown Law students that women will no longer endure sexual wrongdoing.
“‘Me Too’ was also an example of women coming together in numbers and so it was one complaint and then one after another the complaints mounted,” she said. “Women nowadays are not silent about bad behavior.”
Citing one of her female Supreme Court forebears, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ginsburg added that women should need to make waves and stick together.
“What Justice O’Connor said, she said women have to get out there and do things that make an impressive show,” she said. “The more women that are out there doing things, the more women will be encouraged to do things, and we will all be better off for it, men, women and children.”
But with allegations that have nearly ruined a qualified Supreme Court nominee’s chances of ascending to the high court but that have so far not been corroborated by witnesses, it is hard to believe that Americans will be “better off for it” following the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
Only time will tell if Kavanaugh’s nomination survives.