Human Rights Watch Says Kavanaugh Is A Threat To “Fundamental Human Rights”

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Human Rights Watch cited numerous reasons it believes senators should vote no on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Human Rights Watch has taken the unprecedented step of urging senators to vote no on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing numerous instances of the nominee’s dishonesty while under oath and concerns over the unsettled matter of alleged sexual assaults from decades past.

The organization also reiterated its “previously raised serious concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, noting that his judicial record suggests his presence could tip the court’s balance in a way that could erode protections for a range of fundamental human rights.”

> This is the first time Human Rights Watch has opposed the appointment of a US Supreme Court justice. We have taken this unprecedented step for the following reasons. Credible concerns, based in part on the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been raised about whether Judge Kavanaugh committed at least one sexual assault in 1982, and allegations continue to circulate that he may have committed other sexual misconduct.[2]

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> Rather than engage meaningfully with Senators’ questions on those matters, Judge Kavanaugh sought to dismiss the concerns out of hand, which signaled a lack of understanding of the importance of a fair airing of the alleged harm suffered and of respect for the human dignity of alleged victims. Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated little understanding that inquiries into whether a US Supreme Court nominee engaged in sexual assault is a matter to which senators and witnesses must give their serious attention—both for the future of the court and for the message the process sends about the basic rights of millions of survivors of sexual assault and to future victims.

The letter goes on to discuss instances during his testimony where Kavanaugh made false statements:

> During his testimony Judge Kavanaugh also made several apparently false statements about material matters—including asserting that he was of legal drinking age when the sexual assault is alleged to have occurred;[3] apparently mischaracterizing his drinking behavior throughout his youth, including during the years when Dr. Blasey Ford’s and other alleged incidents are said to have occurred;[4] and asserting that several individuals Dr. Blasey Ford said were present at the party where her assault occurred denied that the assault happened.[5] These apparently false statements give rise to larger concerns about his veracity under oath.

The FBI investigation, called for by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and committee Democrats, was not sufficient, the organization wrote.

The letter cited concern that “investigators did not speak with either the alleged perpetrator or victim, and reportedly did not speak to multiple individuals who have reported publicly that they had knowledge relevant to the allegations against and veracity of the testimony provided by Judge Kavanaugh.”

In the end, Human Rights Watch maintains that a seat on the nation’s highest court “is not an entitlement”:

> There remain serious reasons to believe the nominee committed a sexual assault, failed to evidence an understanding of the importance of a full airing of the alleged harm suffered, and was untruthful under oath. Human Rights Watch urges senators to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US Supreme Court.

After President Trump's July announcement of Kavanaugh as his nominee, Human Rights Watch issued the following statement:

> “This nomination is crucial because the next justice could determine whether the Supreme Court will uphold critical human rights for many Americans, including a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, equality for LGBT people, and the right to live free of racial discrimination. Senators should thoroughly scrutinize Judge Kavanaugh’s record and press him on the many human rights guarantees that hinge on the Court's decisions.” 

Read the full letter here.

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