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Dozens in Kavanaugh protest

October 9, 2018

About three dozen people gathered Monday at the Allen County Courthouse to protest the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

With many wearing red paint across their mouths to symbolize what organizers said was “their rights and voices silenced,” protesters said they worry Kavanaugh will vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

“The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh tells every American woman she has no autonomy over her own body and life,” organizer Pluto Brand said in a statement. “The confirmation was a slap in the face for all Americans who truly value justice and will set back civil rights for decades to come.”

Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday as the high court’s 114th justice following a contentious confirmation process that included allegations of sexual assault decades ago and questions about his temperament.

Those concerns were raised again Monday by local protesters, but Republicans counter that the allegations were not corroborated. They argue Kavanaugh, formerly a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., circuit, is a well-qualified jurist who clerked for retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 by the U.S. Senate on Saturday in one of the closest votes in history for a new justice. Only the 1881 vote for Justice Stanley Matthews (24-23) was closer.

Local protesters marched with signs and chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Kavanaugh has got to go” from the courthouse to the headquarters of the Allen County Republican Party about a block away. There, they wrote messages in chalk outside the office and delivered a card signed by participants.

“Kavanope,” one read.

Alison Case, who helped organize the March to Express Outrage, is frustrated with the confirmation process and an FBI investigation into the allegations she felt were rushed and unfair. She and Brand said they support a move from lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court to term limits.

“I think it’s a good idea, and I think there’s growing support for something like that,” Case said.

An article published in the Harvard Business Review in July acknowledges proposals : including one to put in place 18-year terms : to limit the tenures of justices but suggests such a plan could backfire. Models of the term-limit proposal show the move would nearly double the number of new appointees over the next century from 25 to 49.

That also means a president serving two terms has a better chance to appoint a majority of the judges, according to the article.

Ron Chandler, a protester who wore a blue T-shirt reading “Power to the Polls,” said he’s not sure what the solution is. But he’s sure Kavanaugh is not the right person for the Supreme Court.

“The sexual assault allegations are terrible in and of themselves,” he said, “but his temperament was not what you want to see from a Supreme Court justice.”

Messages included on protesters’ signs included, “Protect Health Care,” “The Supreme Sham,” “Sexual assault is not political” and “Vote them out.”

Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine said he respects the rights of marchers to protest. He said the attacks on Kavanaugh were backed by Democrats “to destroy the chances of the nomination through character assassination.”

“Judge Kavanaugh is eminently qualified to be on the bench,” he said.

mleblanc@jg.net

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