Dear Brett Kavanaugh,
My name is Sarah Engel. I am a 17-year-old girl from Atlanta, Georgia. And I’m scared. Terrified. I worry for the future of our country if the events of the past few days are any indication of what it will be.
When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused you, President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, of sexual assault, the United States was thrown back into the turmoil Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Almost three decades later. Ford’s powerful testimony on Thursday required bravery and sacrifice, and has since empowered women across the country to speak up. Including me, evidently. I believe Dr. Ford. I stand with her, and the other victims of your alleged sexual assault. The trauma she experienced was clear when she spoke of how you, former White House Staff Secretary Brett Kavanaugh, pinned her to a bed, suffocated her, and assaulted her.
In your confirmation hearing on Thursday, you displayed a complete lack of decorum. You were belligerent, overly dramatic and rude. You, Judge Kavanaugh, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, were unwilling to answer any question that called into question your character — as a government official, and potential Supreme Court Justice, you have an obligation to the American people to prove your worth and credibility. You are not above the law. But when Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar asked about the illegal drinking habits of your youth, you became defensive, firing the question back at her. Though you apologized later, this behavior can’t just be ignored. The double standard that exists in that senate chamber is appalling, in that, if a woman displayed the same kind of behavior, she would have been torn to shreds by the committee, the press, and the American people. While you screamed and pushed back at those searching to confirm you, Dr. Ford was calm and collected. In the words of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), “Dr. Ford passed a polygraph test and given the Committee the results. Judge Kavanaugh has not. She has called for outside witnesses to testify. Judge Kavanaugh has not. She called for an FBI investigation. Judge Kavanaugh has not.” Dr. Ford asked for these things and though she was denied, displayed exceptional courage by still testifying. But you opposed this legal process, which raises the question: why? If you claim to be innocent, what is the harm in cooperating with authorities to reveal the truth? Your evasion of innocent questions suggests to me that you have something to hide. What that is, the world will never know without an FBI investigation, which you and your party have so fervently resisted. (Editor’s Note: On Friday, after Senator Jeff Flake (R-Az) announced he would not vote to approve Judge Kavanaugh without a follow-up FBI investigation, President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to look into the sexual assault allegations).
Dr. Ford’s testimony, in contrast to yours, was calm and direct. Though she became emotional in recounting her assault, she answered any and all questions asked by senators of both parties. You, on the other hand, have no right to be as emotional and combative as you were. Yes, you and your family have likely been subjected to scrutiny, but the nerve to openly cry over the fact that you “may never be able to teach again” or that you might not get to coach your daughters’ basketball team again, is insensitive and offensive given that Dr. Ford has sacrificed her vulnerability and privacy, and has been forced to relieve the most traumatic moment of her life in front of the entire country, in order to exercise what she calls her “civic duty” to expose the disgusting person you are.
On Friday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would vote “yes” in the Senate committee to send your nomination to the full Senate floor for a vote. He explained he found Dr. Ford’s testimony “compelling,” but that he left the hearing with “as much doubt as certainty.” What bothers me most about his supporting your nomination is his statement that, “had he been nominated in another era, he would have likely received 90+ votes.” This “era” he is speaking of refers only to a time in which the corrupt boys club of white, heterosexual male politicians ruled a state oppressive against the women of the United States of America.
Let me make myself clear. Your “era” is over. The fact that history has already repeated itself, as established by the striking parallels between the testimonies of Hill and Ford, is disgusting. Right now, I am 17 years old. Soon, I will be old enough to vote. We, the young women of America, will vote. We will resist you and everyone in your party who voted to confirm you. Brace yourself.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said it best in his confirmation hearing statement: “Over time, I expect the facts to come out. They have a way of doing that. Cover-ups never last. The sand is running through Kavanaugh’s hourglass.”
Sarah Engel, 17, is a senior at Atlanta International School and can’t wait to vote in the next presidential election.