Last week, Americans were more focused on the Senate hearings regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination than U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the 73rd U.N. Summit. Upon a member wanting to retire, Trump had nominated Kavanaugh, who is known for his "conservative Catholic" identity, for the Supreme Court. Yet, Kavanaugh became part of the war between the Republicans and Democrats.
Kavanaugh's Senate approval process was expected to be finalized last week. However, claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl in his high school years ruined plans. The victim was Psychology Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who currently works at Palo Alto University. The Republicans were following a strategy aimed at postponing Kavanaugh's approval to after the November elections. And both the Democrats and Ford's attorneys wanted an FBI investigation on Kavanaguh. Yet, Trump wanted Kavanaugh to be approved at once in the Senate. It was a Republican that ruined Trump's plan.
Jeff Flake, an anti-Trump member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican, by stipulating that Prof. Ford be heard in the committee interrupted the approval process. A few Republican senators supporting Flake endangered the voting in the Senate General Assembly as well. Meanwhile, let us note that two other assault claims have been made against Kavanaugh. As a result, Ford answered the senators' questions at the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, while Kavanaugh denied the claims. The voting in the Judiciary Committee took place on Friday. Upon Flake's "yes" vote, the Republicans won in the Kavanaugh vote.
Kavanaugh was expected to be voted into the Senate General Assembly on Monday. Flake, who faced the fierce protests of women supporting Ford, changed his approach and made a call to postpone the voting and requested an FBI investigation for Kavanaugh. When two undecided Republican senators also supported Flake, Judiciary Committee Head Chuck Grassley, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and Trump threw in the towel. Trump gave permission to the FBI to carry out the investigation on the condition that it be limited and does not exceed a week. Hence, the voting has been postponed for another week.
Trump, who refused to withdraw Kavanaugh's nomination despite severe reactions, finally took a step back in the face of the increasingly growing women's movement against sexual assaults and accepted the FBI investigation. Let it be reminded that in the 2016 presidential elections, 60 percent of white American Catholics voted for Trump while two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics voted for Hillary Clinton. Trump may have paid attention to this balance when authorizing the FBI to investigate, because it is obvious that the Democrats are going to use this incident in the November congress elections.
On a different note, we need to point to an interesting development. The America/The Jesuit Review magazine, an effective Jesuit-Catholic publication in the U.S., stopped supporting Kavanaugh. The magazine had started a support campaign for the Jesuit-educated Kavanaugh. It was asking for votes for Kavanaugh, an advocate of the abortion ban. Following Ford's hearing at the Senate, the magazine’s editors called on Kavanaugh to withdraw his nominations in an open letter they published. The editors warned that in the event that Kavanaugh is approved, the decisions of the Supreme Court will be debated for decades, hence dividing the public. The editors, saying that sexual assault is a social issue for Catholics as much as abortion, stated that another conservative nominee can easily be found to replace Kavanaugh.
The magazine's changed attitude is of course related to the growing reaction to the sexual exploitations taking place in Catholic churches in the U.S. Meanwhile, its attitude must also been seen as a sign that Catholic establishments cannot ignore the "women’s movement against sexual assaults.