Princeton Dems rally against Kavanaugh as the Senate prepares to vote

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Photo by Philip Sean Curran
Rally organizer Caroline Cleaves spoke out against Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday. (Photo by Philip Sean Curran)

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman joined other Democrats in Princeton on Oct. 4 to rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh and to fire up voters ahead of the midterm elections next month.

A crowd that event organizers put at approximately 120 people, comprised mostly of women, gathered in Tiger Park to hear Coleman and others rail against Kavanaugh, side with his accuser psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford and urge them to oust Republicans. Some carried signs with messages that read “I believe her” and “Unfit to Judge” during the roughly 50-minute rally organized by the Princeton Community Democratic Organization.

Watson Coleman urged support for Democrats running for Congress in New Jersey and for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez “because our very lives are on the line.”

She said Kavanaugh, in his remarks at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, “demonstrated that, even if we set aside all of the allegations of sexual abuse and assault … what he demonstrated in that hearing that day shows he’s unfit to serve.”

Mayor Liz Lempert, wearing a button that read “believe survivors,” earlier told the crowd that judges “are supposed to be neutral and impartial.”

“Brett Kavanaugh has shown he is neither,” she said. “His prepared statement was unhinged, conspiratorial and nakedly, shockingly, disqualifyingly partisan. How can any of us expect him to serve on that court and be fair?”

Later, she called Ford “brave and a hero” whose actions “have set forth a ripple of truth that has inspired women across the country to come forward with their painful stories.”

“We do believe her,” Lempert said, “and we stand in support of her and of all of the women who have come forward in their bravery.”

Later, PCDO President Jean Durbin led the crowd in chanting “hell no, Kava-no!”, and called on them to get involved politically. “Don’t stop,” she said. “We need to vote them out.”

In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, Kavanaugh said he never sexually assaulted Ford. He said that since he was nominated over the summer, “there’s been a frenzy, on the left, to come up with something, anything, to block my confirmation.”

Kavanaugh was nominated in July by President Donald J. Trump to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired earlier this year. At the moment, the court is down to eight members. The dispute over Kavanaugh, however, comes with the midterm elections fast approaching.

“If you agree with me that Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to be seated on the highest court of the land, vote,” Hopewell Township Committeewoman Kristin McLaughlin said. “If you agree with me that your voices are not represented in the United States Congress, vote.”

One issue that hung over the rally was abortion, something Watson Coleman touched on in her comments on Kavanaugh.

“We know that he is not truthful, we know that he is not impartial, we know, even from his cases, even from his work with the [George W.] Bush administration, even the things he’s uttered that he doesn’t respect a woman’s right to choose,” she said.

“Let us all agree that at the center of this nomination is the fate of Roe versus Wade,” said Caroline Cleaves, the rally organizer, in reference to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. She described herself as a survivor of sexual assault who also had had two abortions.

Toward the end of the rally, there was an open microphone time for the crowd to speak their minds. Francois Laforge, a member of the International Socialist Organization, thanked the #MeToo movement. He said if it were not that movement, “for brave woman,” that Kavanaugh would be confirmed by now.