Equal Justice Under the Law? Prove it. Investigate Kavanaugh.


Our society is littered with glaring examples of the rich and powerful facing minimal consequences for their actions – often until their secrets are unearthed and public outcry ensues. In some cases, the rich and powerful not only escape accountability altogether, but are handed even more power despite what they have done. It should come as no surprise then that many Americans have lost faith in our democracy and in our system of justice. No person, no matter how rich or powerful, should be above the law or escape accountability. But, that is not the example we see.

This contrast in attaining power at the cost of truth and accountability is nowhere more stark than at the heart of our justice system itself: the Supreme Court of the United States. Inside the legendary marble building permanently etched with the words “Equal Justice Under Law,” two sitting Associate Justices—a full one-third of the men on the Court—were confirmed despite serious, credible allegations of sexual misconduct or assault. And, in both cases, brave women came forward to testify before the U.S. Senate, only to have their accounts dismissed by the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

If we want to live in a country where women are believed and given access to the justice they deserve, we must roll up our sleeves and get to work holding our leaders accountable.

After allegations of sexual assault surfaced during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, I saw up close that the hearings and FBI investigation were not a serious pursuit of truth or justice. What we saw instead was a process that failed to properly acknowledge and believe the survivors of sexual assault and misconduct. That process ultimately failed people across the country, especially women.

If we want to live in a country where women are believed and given access to the justice they deserve, we must roll up our sleeves and get to work holding our leaders accountable—especially those who serve on the highest court in our land.

We need to get to the truth about Kavanaugh. And I believe the best path to truth and accountability is through a formal impeachment process.


Senator Harris presses Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kamala Harris

That’s why I called on the House Judiciary Committee to open an impeachment inquiry and take a serious look at whether Kavanaugh lied under oath during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As a co-equal branch of government, the United States Congress has a responsibility to do its part to protect the public trust, safeguard the legitimacy of our institutions, and follow the facts wherever they may lead.

While the House Judiciary Committee is rightfully busy with its oversight of the president and his administration, we shouldn’t let a crowded schedule stand in the way of justice. There is precedent for the committee to dedicate resources and establish structures to help lead impeachment inquiries, such as creating a task force or retaining outside counsel.

We have a responsibility not just as public servants, but as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and fellow humans to hold people accountable for wrongdoing. Failure to do so sends a message to little girls and boys – and women and men – about the value of truth and honesty, and about their right to safety and autonomy. If we stand idly by, we are telling them that our country values the easy way out over doing the right thing.

There are some who will say that articles of impeachment against Kavanaugh will go nowhere in the United States Senate, which is controlled by Republicans who have repeatedly coddled the misbehavior of the president and his allies. And, yes, that may be the end result for political purposes.


Senator Harris speaks out after walking out of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Kamala Harris

But, restoring faith in our justice system requires meaningful accountability and transparency. This should have been given to the American people before Kavanaugh was confirmed to a lifetime seat on our highest court. It didn’t, and it was a national travesty. But, it is within the power of the United States Congress to do it now.

We still have a chance to get it right. We have a chance to send a message that we should not just believe survivors, but also offer help through their trauma and treat them with respect.

I often say it is up to each of us to speak truth. That truth requires that we never give up on the fight for justice and our effort to hold government accountable to the people. Let’s fight for our ideals and values. Let’s fight for women and accountability. Let’s do better this time.

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