“We’ve seen this before,” a female voice announces in a new television advertisement produced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Headshots of Matt Laurer, Charlie Rose and Harvey Weinstein appear on screen. Back-to-back videos play of Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby, who was recently sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault, blatantly denying allegations of sexual misconduct.
Then, a recording of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh begins. In the footage from his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, he denies the allegation by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, one of now five women to come forward with similar allegations in the last three weeks, that he attempted to rape her in high school.
The video, which will air in Nebraska, Colorado, West Virginia and Alaska throughout the week as the FBI investigates allegations against Kavanaugh, ends with a call to action for six undecided senators to oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.
“America is watching, and as we choose a lifetime seat on our highest court, integrity matters,” the narrator declares as images of women looking on flash on screen. “And we cannot have any doubt.”
This action comes after the ACLU passed a resolution over the weekend which, in a bold and uncharacteristic move, officially opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination. “There are credible allegations that Judge Kavanaugh has engaged in serious misconduct that have not been adequately investigated by the Senate,” the organization wrote. “Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s credible testimony, subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct, the inadequate investigation and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony at the hearing lead us to doubt Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.”
The ACLU, as a practice, does not support or oppose political or judicial candidates. Susan Herman, president of the ACLU, clarified in a statement to Ms. that the organization is diverting from its standard policy due not to policies or Kavanaugh’s record, but the allegations mounting against him. “The ACLU’s board of directors, deeply concerned by the allegations raised in recent weeks,” Herman explained, “has made a rare exception to its longstanding policy and voted to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
This marks only the fourth departure from that policy in the organization’s history—a dishonor Kavanaugh shares now with William Rehnquist, Robert Bork and Samuel Alito.
“This is not a decision taken lightly,” the ACLU stated in the resolution. “We cannot remain silent under these extraordinary circumstances about a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. The standard for such an appointment should be high, and the burden is on the nominee. That burden is not met as long as there are unresolved questions regarding the credible allegations of sexual assault.”
Victoria Sheber is an editorial intern at Ms., a debate instructor at Windward School and a member of the JusticeCorps at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Victoria is currently a senior at UCLA studying American Literature & Culture and History; she is also the President of the American Association of University Women chapter on campus and Assistant Section Editor for Fem Newsmagazine. She loves to read and write about feminist literature.
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