Professor Weighs In on Me Too Movement Colliding with Supreme Court Nomination

September 27, 2018 06:55 PM

The country looked on Thursday as Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were teens.

And it listened as Kavanaugh responded to her allegations.

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5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with Leondra Hanson, an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Legal Education at Hamline University about the Me Too Movement and the nomination of a Supreme Court justice colliding.

Hanson would not say that Kavanaugh's confirmation would de-legitimize the high court. But in the cultural climate we're in, she doesn't think the allegations will be forgotten.

RELATED: St. Thomas Professor Withdraws Support for Law School Classmate Kavanaugh

"It certainly will from the perspective of people watching," she said. "I think some people who are watching will be moved by the credibility of her testimony and will recognize that this is the high court.

"I do think, at this point, that there is no chance for it not to linger in terms of our understanding of the court with him on it."

Hanson said it doesn't help the public when people asking the questions don't appear like they're objectively trying to get information.

And she said found blame with both parties in that regard Thursday.

RELATED: Angry Kavanaugh Denies Ford Accusation, Sees 'Disgrace'

The Republicans brought in Rachel Mitchell, a veteran sex-crimes prosecutor to lead their questioning of Ford.

"I don't know that the five minutes of her and then five minutes of Democrats and then five minutes of her was particularly effective," Hanson said.

"I also think it ended up coming across more like they had someone prosecuting her, as opposed to asking questions to get information.

"At the same time," she added. "Democrats spent a lot of time saying: 'You're so courageous and thank you,' as opposed to also trying to get information, which doesn't help make it look less political."

Hanson said the issue is much bigger than just Ford and Kavanaugh.

"Any time that we talk about sexual assault openly and honestly it is a teachable moment," she said. 

"Aside from this allegation and these two people, that conversation is important and it needs to be had."

She said it remains to be seen whether Thursday's hearing, tied to conversations about sexual misconduct, will cause changes now or in the future.

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Brandi Powell

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