Protesters, supporters speak out on Kavanaugh, Blasey Ford hearings
WASHINGTON - People waited for hours, some overnight, hoping to get a seat inside of the hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who faces accusations of sexual misconduct.
The hearing was held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, which is a much smaller space than the previous confirmation hearings.
Several people ran toward the building's doors but were not allowed. Many staffers and press, who are usually allowed in this type of hearing were not allowed in.
People came from around the country to show their support on both sides. The hearing has been compared to that of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who faced sexual assault accusations by Anita Hill in 1991. Thomas was later confirmed for the seat, despite the accusations.
"Access to equal justice for all is what was at stake in 1991, and it's what's at stake now," said Hill to the Associated Press, now 62 and a professor at Brandeis University.
She criticized the decision to set a hearing for the Kavanaugh allegations without a thorough, neutral investigation and input from experts who can include context about things like delayed reporting of sexual assault, she said.
A large group of protestors and sexual assault survivors marched from the reflecting pool to the Supreme Court on Thursday. Many of Kavanaugh's supporters gathered earlier Thursday as well.
"I have a husband, I have a son and 35 years from now, someone can say something with nothing to back it up and ruin his life and his family's life? What about Kavanaugh's family? Nobody cares about them," said Kavanaugh supporter Wanda Lohr.
"I think that it's really important for men to step up right now and be a part of a movement to make sure that rights are equal, to make sure that women are protected and supported and put on a level playing field," said Kavanaugh protester Ryan Krench.
The hearing, a reflection of polarization in politics. Many of the protesters, bringing up the larger issues of sexual assault in America. And the "Me Too" movement.
Meanwhile, supporters and Kavanaugh himself argued that his reputation has been severely damaged based on accusations alone.