Nearly simultaneous to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Friday, a group of about 25 protesters stood outside the Salt Lake City office of Sen. Orrin Hatch to protest the judge who has been accused of sexual misconduct.
Many in the crowd didn’t even know yet that the committee had voted 11-10 to move the nomination forward to the full Senate vote — but they came anyway, many of them angry with what they had seen the day before when both Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the committee.
They held signs that read, “We Believe Her!” and “Believe Women." Several called for an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims before Kavanaugh gets final approval from the Senate.
The FBI will do just that after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, threatened to oppose Kavanaugh during the final vote without a one-week investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations.
One woman yelled from the crowd about Kavanaugh’s angry denials of the allegations, saying, “That is not judicial temperament. He failed his job interview.”
For these protesters — a group that included women who had experienced sexual violence themselves — it was important for them to voice their displeasure in the way Ford’s accusation has been handled.
“It’s important because I know women and victims of sexual assault have not been heard, have not been listened to, and have not been given justice,” said Christine Carr.
Another protester, Scott Richens, said he decided two years ago when he retired to become more vocal about things he cared about. He recalled having friends when he was younger who were sexually assaulted, and said not much has changed since then in how victims are treated. This was his second protest — he also has spoken out against gun violence in the past year.
Another 13 women gathered at the Utah Capitol at noon to participate in a nationwide group of “rapid response” protests. They dressed in black — a suggestion of mourning — and held signs that said, “No liars on the Supreme Court" and “This sign is trash but so is Kavanaugh.”
Kellyanne Soucie, 55, said that she is a survivor of assault, as are two of her daughters. She called Kavanaugh’s nomination “a slap in the face” to her family.
“It’s a very personal thing for me,” she said.
Soucie stood next to her youngest daughter, Audrey, 15, a student at West High School. She wanted her to see other women who felt the same and to join them in raising their voice.
As a teenager, Audrey Soucie said, Kavanaugh’s appointment scares her. It seems to her to suggest that if a high school boy assaults a girl her age that it doesn’t matter, that there are no consequences.
“It makes me worry,” she said. “You should know that’s wrong.”
Kim Frauenberg, 43, came from Park City for the “small but mighty” protest. She held a sign that read, “Bias and belligerence do not belong on SCOTUS.” And she wore one of the pink hats that hundreds of thousands of women wore when they marched in protest after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“I’m here because I believe Christine Blasey Ford,” Frauenberg said.
She believes Kavanaugh is “not fit” for the Supreme Court. “We can’t move on with this guy.”
The small group stood on the steps of the Capitol, looking out over the Salt Lake Valley and talking about the future of the nation.