Concerns from the Kavanaugh trial go further than sexual misconduct

Ysabela Golden

So what would disqualify a supreme court justice?

As the F.B.I. runs what’s shaping up to be a relatively brief inquiry into the accusations leveled against Brett Kavanaugh, both democrats and republicans all over the country are debating what these deliberations will actually mean for the still-vacant position on the Supreme Court. Though party affiliation may have pre-determined what any given American watching the hearing wanted as a result, the actual conclusions drawn from the hearing have surprisingly varied. While many on the left believe Kavanaugh is a rapist who should be kept off the supreme court due to his past immorality, others are less concerned with his actions in high school and more concerned with his temperament and tactics during the hearing itself. 

Though many on the right still see Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford as a fraud, others were moved by her testimony, believing that she believes she is telling the truth but is mislead or even being taken advantage of by democrats. For others, Kavanaugh vs. Ford is just circumstantial window dressing to the actual debate at hand: Roe v. Wade. Regardless, between discussions of secret democrat conspiracies or just the idea that a respected judge would consider a personal calendar exonerating evidence, it’s become clear that the debate has moved past the question Americans asked at the beginning of the accusations—should a person be prevented from becoming a Supreme Court Justice because of something that happened when they were a teenager?

Like most of my generation, I grew constantly hearing that I needed to be careful about potential records of compromising behavior or personal information, because we live in an age where anything can end up online. We were warned frequently by parents and teachers that decisions made when we were young could come back to bite us years later if an employer decided to run a cursory google search after glancing over our job applications. It wouldn’t matter, we were told, whether we had long since abandoned past behaviors—just the knowledge that we had behaved recklessly in the past could be enough for an employer to toss aside even the most impressive resume. From their perspective, what guarantee do they have that such behavior won’t continue in the future, or retroactively damage the reputation of our place of employment?

Previous generations did not grow up with this hanging over their heads, as can be surmised by the fact that a man who claims to have been as scholarly and dedicated a student as Kavanaugh has such a ridiculous senior yearbook entry. I would hope that today’s applicants at Yale Law would think twice before publicly bragging about having been the treasurer of “Keg City Club,” participator in “100 Kegs or Bust,” judge of “Have You Boofed Yet?,” and (perhaps most impressively) the “Biggest Contributor” at the “Beach Week Ralph Club.” And yes, all of that would have been just as illegal for Kavanaugh than as it would be for a high school student now—unlike he insinuated during the hearing, TIME reports that the legal drinking age in Maryland was increased from 18 to 21 at the end of his junior year of high school when he was still 17.

Even still, despite my annoyance that we are apparently holding a nomination for Supreme Court Justice to a lower standard than we hold people applying for internships, I would be willing to forgive Kavanaugh for issues with alcohol in his youth if he at his hearing had demonstrated any kind of growth or repentance for his drunken behavior. But instead he raged, deflected and misrepresented his past conduct in front of the entire country for several hours. As his future employers, maybe it’s time for the U.S. Senate to set down his resume and start thinking about how, if hired, Kavanaugh might damage his place of employment.