Character Assassination on Judge Brett Kavanaugh in his 2018 Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing

William L Benoit, Kevin A Stein

Abstract

On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Republicans were naturally excited at the possibility of a conservative majority on the court; not surprisingly Democrats were opposed. Kavanaugh’s nomination provoked a storm of controversy largely focused on accusations of sexual assault from Christine Blasey Ford. The hearing, held on September 27th, featured testimony by Ford and pointed comments by Senate Democrats. The Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh 50-48 as the 114th Supreme Court justice on October 6, 2018. This essay applies the Theory of Persuasive Attack to criticisms leveled against Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearing. These criticisms argued that Kavanaugh was responsible for the act, enhanced perceptions of the offensiveness of the act, and indicated that Kavanaugh possessed an unfavorable character.

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ISSN: ISSN 2398-5836

Copyright (c) 2021 Kevin A Stein, William L Benoit