Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh must resign. Despite being a member of this nation's highest court for less than a week, he must step down from the bench to save the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and heal our bitter partisan divide.
I find it tragic that Brett Kavaunagh spent fifty-three years on this earth before he learned that life is unfair. It is lamentable that he will be condemned by history as not only a man credibly accused of sexual assault but also as the avatar of white male fragility. It is painful that his confirmation will mark the delegitimization of the Supreme Court. But much of this could be avoided if he were able to adopt the humility that black women are steeped in from birth.
As the most controversial Supreme Court nominee of the modern era, Judge Kavanaugh had the extraordinary responsibility of restoring a measure of faith in our institutions. As evidenced by his actions over the course of the confirmation battle, the underwhelming and self-serving op-ed he boofed onto the Wall Street Journal's opinion page last week, and finally his absurd televised confirmation party, he is wholly incapable of shouldering this burden.
Even if I take Mr. Kavanaugh at his word, that he never behaved aggressively towards women, that he never lost control while drinking, that he has been truthful, and that he is an impartial judge– he must resign. Thanks to the execrable process engineered by Senate Republicans, his presence on the bench will be a daily insult to millions of victims of sexual assault. Brett isn't any more responsible for their geriatric chest-thumping than he is for his on-the-nose 80's movie villain name. But he arrives at the threshold of the Supreme Court under a cloud of his own past of frat boy antics and partisan skullduggery.
The weight of this sacrifice for a man who spent his life clambering up a gilded career ladder the cost must seem staggering. He may never resurrect his reputation and he will destroy the forty-year dream of a durable conservative majority on the court. To him, this would be an impossible position.
Yet, black women sacrifice our rage, ambition, and integrity at the altar of the public good every day. We accept that we will not be at the center of the forces that change our lives and face the difficult choices ahead of us. These are the realities of an unfair world, by the time we are barely out of childhood, we know to swallow the pain and forge ahead. Anita Hill didn't even have the luxury of tears when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. She did what she believed to be right, regardless of what it cost her. We perform unglamorous, unheralded and unrewarded labor with the mere hope that somewhere down the line it will be better for the people who come after us.
Because of his privilege, he is constitutionally unable to step outside of himself and act for the greater good. Instead, whether seated on the bench or cast back out to the hinterlands of Bethesda, he will harden into a vengeful bitter man, braying over the indignity of having one of his daughters "pray for the woman." I understand we were supposed to have been moved by that sour admission, but all it revealed to me was how unequipped he was to measure up to this moment in history.
Brett's privilege does confer one powerful advantage to him. If he steps aside now, he will be regarded as a hero. Unlike women and minorities, who are expected to perform self-effacing acts of labor, it will be implicitly understood that withdrawing this nomination is a "sacrifice" as opposed to a moral obligation. Let us pray his vaunted upbringing leads him to a state of grace.