‘Survivors are not going to be quiet’Protesters flocked to the nation’s capitol this week for another series of dramatic and emotional demonstrations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is on track for a lifetime appointment to the US supreme court.
More than 300 people were arrested, including the celebrities Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski. Demonstrators marched and chanted, displayed large banners, and staged a sit-in at the Senate. Some actions involved in-person confrontations with Republican senators who displayed open disdain for the anti-Kavanaugh activists, many of whom were sharing personal stories of sexual violence.
Notably, the GOP senator Orrin Hatch told a group of women to “grow up” and waved them away after one asked him, “Why aren’t you brave enough to talk to us?”
Joe Manchin, the lone Democrat who said he would back Kavanaugh, was drowned out by protesters shouting “Shame!” and “Look at us!” after he released his statement supporting the judge.
“It’s time for women to be heard,” the protester Karen Bralove told the Guardian. She is an alumnus of Holton-Arms, the all-girls preparatory school Dr Christine Blasey Ford attended in the 1980s when, she says, Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. “Women and survivors are not going to be quiet any more.” (Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.)
Donald Trump dismissed the protesters with unsubstantiated claims, echoing rightwing conspiracy theories, that the activists were “paid professionals”.
Impeachment?Although the protests did not appear to have stopped Kavanaugh from securing his narrow victory, critics have begun discussing other steps they can take to speak out and keep the pressure on the embattled judge.
A crowdfunding campaign to support a future opponent of the Republican senator Susan Collins went viral on Friday, earning more than $2m, with donations pouring in as the Republican gave a lengthy speech announcing support for Kavanaugh. The website temporarily crashed due to the high volume of web traffic.
Within an hour of Collins’ speech, several high-profile Democrats, including the former UN ambassador Susan Rice, also expressed interest in running against her in the next election.
There are also ongoing discussions about the possibility of impeachment, with some Democrats accusing Kavanaugh of repeatedly lying under oath (the same allegation that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment). If the Democrats regain control of the House, it’s possible that the House judiciary committee would move to launch a Kavanaugh investigation and draft articles of impeachment, according to an analysis in the Washington Post.
The likely Democratic chair of the committee has said he would support those steps.
Ford’s supporters across the globe have also continued to share their messages of gratitude and praise, including Rebecca Solnit, who wrote in the Guardian about the “incalculable benefits” and legacy of her testimony. Our readers also shared their own stories and reflections in response to Ford’s words.
Immigrants protected, white supremacists jailedOutside of the supreme court circus, civil rights activists secured victories and launched new battles across the country this week.
A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from ending protections that allowed immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador to live and work in the US, ruling that the policy would cause “irreparable harm and great hardship”.
Roughly 300,000 people have received these protections to live in the US due to natural disasters and violence in their home countries.
While prosecutors have typically gone after anti-fascist activists after violent protests, four members of a white supremacist group were charged this week in connection with a far-right rally in Charlottesville last year. But in North Dakota, a Standing Rock activist who was shot in the face by police is now facing two years in prison for his involvement in protests.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the ACLU filed a lawsuit this week accusing the police department of racially profiling black residents with drug arrests, including undercover operations that exclusively targeted African Americans.