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It’s been just over a year since Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court, but activists aren’t letting Washington, D.C., forget about the decisions made to give him that seat.
On Thursday (November 14), the activist group Demand Justice erected a screen in front of a gala held at Union Station in the nation’s capital, HuffPost reported. On it played a recording of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony about Kavanaugh assaulting her when they were both in high school. Per reports, the phrase “We still believe Christine Blasey Ford” was clearly visible at the top of the screen. Other protestors onsite paid tribute with chants to Anita Hill, who in 1991 testified to the Senate that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. More protestors arrived wearing red robes mirroring costumes from The Handmaid’s Tale. Twenty hours after she first posted it, HuffPost reporter Jennifer Bendery’s video of the installation had been viewed over one and a half million times.
Per reports, protestors shouted “Shame!” and “Hey, ho, Kavanaugh has got to go!” at those attending the gala for the Federalist Society, which the New York Times calls an “influential conservative legal group.” Though the group’s website says it “[does] not lobby for legislation, take policy positions, or sponsor or endorse nominees and candidates for public service,” the Times notes that the group’s president has advised President Donald Trump on judicial nominations. The Trump era has seen the confirmation of over 150 conservative judges, many of whom are in lifetime positions, PBS NewsHour reports.
Plenty of Trump’s judicial appointees raise red flags, and Kavanaugh is a prime example: In September 2018, Dr. Blasey Ford, a professor and research psychologist from California, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in 1982, when she was 15 years old. The two had known each other and had been at the same party when Blasey Ford said Kavanaugh attacked her.
The professor added that she was “terrified” to speak out but that she was coming forward ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court because she considered it her “civic duty” to explain “what happened to me and the impact it has had on my life and on my family.”
She wasn’t alone, either: Prior to his confirmation, several other women came forward, both publicly and anonymously, with allegations against the judge. (He has denied all claims.) The Senate ultimately voted 50-48 in favor of appointing Kavanaugh, who has a consistent conservative leaning and whom many activists fear would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment; the only way Kavanaugh could lose his seat is if he is impeached.
According to Demand Justice Senior Counsel Katie O’Connor, the group targeted Thursday night’s Federalist Society gala, called the Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner, specifically because Kavanaugh was giving a speech that night. “Kavanaugh is not the hero of this story. We still believe Christine Blasey Ford, and we won’t let him forget that,” she said in a statement provided to MTV News. “Putting on a new robe can’t be allowed to erase credible accusations of sexual assault.”
The group also called out Facebook, which the newsletter Popular Information reports was a “gold circle” sponsor of the Gala; the company’s head of global public policy, Joel Kaplan, had also been present at the Senate hearings in 2018. “You can claim to respect survivors of sexual assault or you can pay for a celebration of Brett Kavanaugh, but you can’t do both,” O’Connor said in her statement. “Any organization that doesn’t want to be complicit in normalizing Kavanaugh should withdraw its support from The Federalist Society and pledge not to give in the future.”