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Thursday, June 08, 2023
On Monday, people and companies across the United States wore black and walked out to support survivors of sexual assault.

On Monday, people and companies across the United States wore black and walked out to support survivors of sexual assault.

A chance to change the course of history

The year is 1991.

Judge Clarence Thomas has been nominated to fill the seat vacated by recent retiree Justice Thurgood Marshall. The nomination of Judge Thomas is welcomed by many conservatives, yet strongly opposed by feminist and civil rights groups citing his criticisms toward Affirmative Action and stance on Roe v. Wade. Toward the end of the nomination process accusations of sexual harassment arise.

Law professor Anita Hill testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 11. Accounts of crude behavior and language are revealed for the first time in history within the walls of the orthodox Senate hearing room. Her testimony is dismissed by the all-white an all-male committee.

The day is Oct. 15. Judge Thomas has been confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 52-48. Despite widespread allegations, numerous news stories and hard evidence, justice has not served Anita Hill.

The year is now 2018. Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated to fill the seat left empty by recent retiree Justice Anthony Kennedy. The nomination of Judge Thomas is again supported by conservatives, yet strongly opposed by feminist and civil rights groups citing his threat to women’s right to choose, voting rights, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights and much more. In the midst of the nomination process, again, accusations of sexual assault arise.

Statistics professor Christine Blasey Ford, activist Deborah Ramirez and Ms. Julie Swetnick have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault during high school and college, respectively. Ford will testify to the Senate on Sept. 27.

And now, only one question remains: Will justice serve Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick, or will Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed Justice to the highest court of the land?

Recent events make it difficult to distinguish between the past and the present; it calls into question the progress that is thought to have been made. Racial tensions spark thoughts of the 1950s and ‘60s. Looming threats to women’s rights, particularly regarding reproduction, take us into the era of Roe v. Wade and the women’s suffrage movements. And now the nomination and accusations against Brett Kavanaugh have taken us back into the early ‘90s.

Nearly three decades later, history is quite literally repeating itself, especially when comparing some of the details of each nomination. Will things be different this time around?

It is possible, for we are being given the opportunity to provide Dr. Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick the dignity that was not given to Anita Hill not so long ago. Conversely, will privileged men, yet again, be given the power to make decisions affecting millions of Americans across the country despite popular disapproval? Potentially, yes.

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has provoked many questions that continue to go unanswered. In a time when it is possible — even necessary — to change the course of history, what can be done by us, the people? It is vital for constituents to call into the offices of their senators. Voices and views have a greater chance of being heard when it is in the form of the masses. The future may lie in the hands of one hundred senators, but they are still liable to us, the people who gave them their position.

The time is (possibly) mid-to-late-October of 2018. The Senate has (possibly) voted against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, 51-49. (Possibly) Justice has been served, not only to the women who were treated wrongfully by Kavanaugh and to the lives Kavanaugh’s nomination threatened, but also to Anita Hill, 27 years later.

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Only time will tell what the future of America’s system of law and government will look like and represent. Until then: We wait, and we participate in this national conversation. And maybe, just maybe, things will turn out to be different.

Kavitha is a sophomore studying sociology and political science. Do you think history will be repeated with Kavanaugh’s nomination? Send comments to

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