BANGOR, Maine ― Donald Galleck and Eileen McLaughlin disagree about Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in just about every way.
But there is one thing the two appear to agree upon: Kavanaugh’s appointment, and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ vote to support it, has done nothing to settle the controversy created by the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
“I think Susan Collins’ decision was a betrayal to all victims or survivors of sexual assault,” Eileen McLaughlin of Houlton said. “Her decision was a very poor one that will have a long-lasting impact on many people.”
With McLaughlin among a handful of protesters standing across the street from him at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building on Harlow Street on Saturday, Galleck praised Collins for braving a political whirlwind created by accusations that he felt had little substance.
Supporters of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party 35 years ago, “aired [the allegation] out as if it was public fact. It’s not a fact that this happened or that it was him that did this,” said Galleck, a 29-year-old carpenter from Bangor who was out walking with his family and two dogs when the protest started.
“It’s a tactic to blow smoke. There’s something else going on that these people don’t want you to pay attention to,” he added.
McLaughlin was among protesters holding signs in front of the federal court building despite the Maine Common Good Coalition’s canceling a demonstration scheduled there.
The protesters said that Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was riddled with lies and the FBI investigation of the accusations was a sham. They accused Collins of ignoring statements from many sources that Kavanaugh’s conduct was unbecoming of a Supreme Court justice so that she could keep her standing in a Republican Party that tilts far to the right.
“I believe that she kowtowed to big money and big power,” McLaughlin said.
Galleck said that he has nothing against Ford, but a lack of evidence or corroborating testimony made her difficult to believe. That the Senate allowed her accusations to be aired left Kavanaugh with no due process or presumption of innocence — an affront to the confirmation process, he said.
“There was nothing set in stone,” Galleck said. “No government agency has ever taken him into a courtroom to stand against allegations of any wrongdoing.”
Anyone who knows or is a sexual assault survivor saw much to believe in Ford’s testimony, Orrington resident Hannah Rulin said.
The hearing exposed how rampant sex crimes against women are and how difficult it is for victims to come forward, said MaryBeth Hewett of Frankfort, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served from 1975 to 1978.
“It is about the abuse of power. It is about one group of people having power over another group of people. I am 67 years old and I have been fighting this battle my whole life,” Hewett said. “Kavanaugh represents a solid backlash against women, and women need to stand up. We all do.”
Ruhlin called Kavanaugh’s confirmation a victory for the far right that might lead to a rollback of abortion and indigenous people’s, gay and transgender rights, Ruhlin said.
“I think it will mean that people will have to go back to getting illegal abortions and the death rates [of mothers] will go back up or unwanted children will be born into a system that is already overcrowded and can’t support their needs,” Ruhlin said.
“Making abortion illegal doesn’t stop it from happening. It stops it from happening safely,” Ruhlin added.
Galleck said that Kavanaugh’s confirmation showed how much the media and the left oppose him. It also shows how ugly the political combat within America has become.
“These things [accusations of sexual assault] need to be handled in a timely manner. This is the first time I have ever seen a nomination for the Supreme Court stoop to the level of a violation of privacy,” said Galleck, who was 2 years old when Clarence Thomas faced allegations of sexual harassment as a Supreme Court nominee.
“A lot of people in the media were blowing it out of proportion,” Galleck added.
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