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Protesters Oppose Kavanaugh Outside Hamilton County Courthouse

kavanaugh protest
Austin Fast
Ashley Theissen (left, holding microphone) addresses the crowd of around a hundred gathered at the Hamilton County Courthouse Thursday to protest Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republican Senate leaders are closing in on a final vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but local opponents spent Thursday night protesting his candidacy at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

At least a hundred people ignored driving rain to demand lawmakers take seriously sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Last month, Professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school more than 35 years ago.

kavanaugh protest
Credit Austin Fast / WVXU
Protestors withstood pouring rain Thursday night outside the Hamilton County Courthouse in downtown Cincinnati.

Ashley Theissen is a member of Cincinnati’s branch of the International Socialist Organization. She sees this rally as a direct outgrowth of the #MeToo movement.

"The only way we can actually fight the sort of systemic issues of sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual assault in every place is for survivors to be strong and come forward and then actually be heard and for us to make changes," she says. 

Rose Curtin of Cincinnati’s Democratic Socialists of America chapter was among those leading chants from the courthouse steps. She says elevating Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would be a slap in the face to sexual assault survivors.

"This isn't a situation where we're talking about proof, this is a job interview," she says. "He's not on trial here. He's being judged on character, and that's legitimately part of the job of the Senate, and this speaks to his character or problems with his character." 

Curtin adds that "being realistic about how sexual assault works" and voting against Kavanaugh would "right some of the wrongs of the past."

Peter McLinden agrees. He is executive secretary-treasurer of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council and says he wanted to represent the Council at the rally to say that the nation has to own up to its history and past grievances against women.

He also says the angry temperament Kavanaugh displayed during his confirmation hearings proves he's not fit for the Supreme Court. "He doesn't have the impartiality. He doesn't have the political neutralness or the integrity to be on the highest court of the land." 

Local Republican leaders have brushed off allegations against Kavanaugh. The Hamilton County GOP on Thursday tweeted that the Senate should confirm the candidate and thanked Democrats for motivating more GOP voters to head to polls this November.