Cover Stories

Susan Collins and SCOTUS: Let’s Get Involved

By Matt Flaherty

You may not think you have a voice when it comes to government and politics at a national level. You may think your vote doesn’t make much of a difference. 136 million out of the 323 million people in the U.S. voted during the 2016 presidential election. Fifty-eight percent of eligible voters went to the polls during this election, but 42 percent still did not think it would be worth it!

Brett_Kavanaugh_2018Imagine if we all felt this way, though. Imagine if nobody did anything to hold the government accountable. The more the citizens of our country lie back and become exasperated, the less power we actually have in our country. When everyone stands together in the act of public service, regardless of party, race or heritage, the power of the people becomes greater.

The citizens of Maine have an opportunity to change the course of history with the upcoming Senate vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. You may have seen the flyers with the hashtag “#SaveSCOTUS” on the telephone pole on your street, or on the community board in your neighborhood. The people who created these flyers are taking a stand and urging our senator, Susan Collins, to vote against confirming Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court this week.

You can get involved, too! If you would like to make a call to Susan Collins and urge her to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, call her office and ask to make a statement or call 202-224-2523 to state your concerns. All of these comments are logged for her to read. They do make a difference. The Senate Republicans want to have this confirmation vote this week, before the start of a new session on Oct. 1, so make sure to call her office before then.

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a time when the citizens of Maine can come together to make a difference on a national level. Before making the phone call, though, make sure you know what you want to say.

Collins is a key vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation. She has already expressed concerns about Kavanaugh’s stance on the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. Roe v. Wade was a case from 1973 in which the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for states to create laws banning abortion. However, since meeting with Kavanaugh to discuss the issue and listening to his confirmation hearings, Collins has since backed off.

During his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh was asked about the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade. His response was underwhelming and concerning. His answer was not focused on the healthcare and human rights of women, but on the “precedent” that the court set in upholding this decision. Supreme Court Justices should be defenders of the law and human rights.

His stance on the “precedence” of the court’s ruling becomes even more concerning after his emails from 2003 relating to Roe v. Wade were released. The relevant section reads: “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”

Kavanaugh was also asked about the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the “contraceptive mandate” that required all employers to cover certain contraceptives to their female employees with their employer-provided insurance. In the discourse, Kavanaugh referred to these contraceptives as “abortion-inducing drugs.” This was a concerning statement, to say the least. Contraception is not abortion.

If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh would now be the fifth justice who would overrule Roe v. Wade. In confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Senator Collins is condemning abortion rights for women.

Kavanaugh’s comments and the documents released during his confirmation relating to the historic case are concerning to women’s rights advocates. In addition to his issues with and misunderstanding of abortion and women’s rights, there are other things that have come up about Kavanaugh’s past that should concern the citizens of Maine and the country.

A former classmate of Kavanaugh in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, wrote a letter to Dianne Feinstein detailing a night during which Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. The incident occurred at a house party with a handful of people. As the night went on, Kavanaugh, his friend and Ms. Ford were in an upstairs bedroom together.

In her words, Kavanaugh “physically pushed me into a bedroom . . . was on top of me while laughing . . . tried to disrobe me . . . With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.”

Finally, “At one point when (the friend) jumped onto the bed . . . The pile toppled . . . I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom.” She locked herself in this bathroom until she found a time to escape and run out of the house.

Everyone makes mistakes in high school — President Obama detailed his drug use during high school in his memoir, “Dreams from My Father” — and not all of those mistakes should tarnish a person’s reputation for the rest of their life. But attempted rape is not something that can be marked up to adolescence. This is a serious crime and deserves to be investigated.

In order for this incident to be investigated thoroughly, the people of Maine need to speak up and demand that Collins does not vote to confirm Kavanaugh this week. In confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court without investigation of this incident, Collins is silencing an alleged victim of sexual assault.

This is the chance for the young people of the state of Maine to have a huge impact. Since only two Republican senators are needed to deny the confirmation of Kavanaugh, Collins has a key vote. With such an important vote for our senator comes such an important time for the people of Maine. In standing up against the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, Collins and the people of Maine would be standing up for women’s rights everywhere.

 

Categories: Cover Stories

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