Democratic senators, despite their best efforts, seemed unable to stop Brett Kavanaugh. Archila and Gallagher showed the world what real power looks like.
By Jill Abramson
The Guardian (9/28/18)
Truth spoke to power. And the US Senate finally listened.
In the end, after a full day of official Senate hearings, all it took was two gutsy women, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, to stop the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. The two women, who said they were survivors of sexual assault, stubbornly refused to let the elevator doors closeas Senator Jeff Flake, the critical swing vote on the Senate judiciary committee, was on his way to cast his vote to advance the supreme court nominee.
That was before he got in the elevator. Archila and Gallagher blocked him from scurrying away. Archila, who had never told her story of being raped as a small child, spoke first.
By the time Kavanaugh finished his angry, defiant testimony last night, it looked to many as if their cause was lost. But the women were not disheartened. They were determined.
“I told it because I recognized in Dr Ford’s story that she is telling the truth,” she told Flake, her voice breaking with emotion. “What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the supreme court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them.” She wanted him to feel her fury.
Then came Gallagher. “I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me,” she said. “I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter.” The women protesting with them gained strength as they spoke. The elevator doors began to close but the crowd made sure they didn’t.
The two women were part of a large contingent that had been in Washington all week to show support for Dr Christine Blasey Ford and to protest the Senate’s apparent determination to confirm someone credibly accused of sexual assault. By the time Kavanaugh finished his angry, defiant testimony last night, it looked to many as if their cause was lost. But the women were not disheartened. They were determined.
Flake struggled to remain impassive and kept murmuring “thank you”, in a strained attempt to show a modicum of respect. He looked frightened and awkward and must have been praying that the elevator had a trap door. But there was no escape as CNN captured the live encounter.
‘Don’t look away from me’
It was thrilling to watch, not because a senator was being put on the spot but because this is what it means for citizens to hold power to account. Anyone needing a lesson in how American democracy should work must watch the elevator video.
Flake’s eye darts around, nervously. “Don’t look away from me,” Gallagher demands of Flake. “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.”
- Ana Maria Archila On Confronting Jeff Flake — NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks with Ana Maria Archila of the Center for Popular Democracy about her widely-publicized confrontation with Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona in a Capitol Hill elevator. Link to 5-Minute Audio
- 55% Of GOP Say Sexual Assault Not Disqualifying For SCOTUS; What Is *Wrong* With Them? — What in the world is wrong with self-identified Republicans in the United States. I mean, look, I’m a historian and a world traveler. I get that different people have different ways of looking at the world, different norms and customs. It is to be expected. But the blatant amorality of GOP voters, at least as they represent themselves in the polling, baffles me. Morality ought to be equally distributed across parties, like immorality. People are people. But as Newsweek notes, an Economist/YouGov poll has found that 55% of Republicans hold that even if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when he was in high school, that would not disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court. Note well. They didn’t ask them if they disbelieved the charges and therefore didn’t think he was disqualified. The question was, if he were actually guilty, should he serve? … Read the Rest
(Commoner Call art by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to ewww.thecommonercall.org )
Kavanaugh’s Credibility Has Not Survived Devastating Hearing
By Richard Wolfe
The Guardian (9/27/18)
They say there are no heroes and no leaders left in Washington. Well one showed up in front of the Senate judiciary committee, and her name is Dr Christine Blasey Ford.
Victims are supposed to be many things: suffering creatures who struggle to withstand the klieg lights of a court, or a hearing. Ford was something else entirely.
Her pain was clear each time her voice cracked and her eyes welled with tears. But her courage, decency and honesty were even clearer as she walked carefully over ground she plainly never wanted to revisit from her teenage years.
When Democratic senators were trying to score political points, she stuck to the facts as she remembered them, and the science behind why those memories are so vivid. When the Republican prosecutor was trying to poke holes in her credibility and memory, she offered her honest help in patiently answering an endless line of small-bore questions.
The contrast with the US supreme court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, could not have been greater. He was hot and bothered from the outset, fiddling with his shirt cuffs, sniffing incessantly, anxiously unscrewing small bottles of water, spraying accusations across the political landscape.
He lapsed into his old role as a political hack, accusing a wide range of actors for his suffering …