Politics & Government

‘I believe survivors.’ Protesters gather in downtown Raleigh to oppose Kavanaugh.

Rally to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court

A rally at Halifax Mall in Raleigh, NC Thursday, October 4, 2018, was held to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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A rally at Halifax Mall in Raleigh, NC Thursday, October 4, 2018, was held to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A rally to protest Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court started with advice to the crowd not to be discouraged, but in truth, some who gathered behind the Legislative Building were disheartened.

The rally Thursday was called to send a message to the Republican U.S. Senators from North Carolina, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but both senators appear ready to vote for him.

Molly Rivera, ACLU North Carolina’s communications associate, urged the crowd of more than 100 people to keep calling Burr and Tillis and to sign a petition opposing Kavanaugh.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, or Saturday,” she said.

Most of the other speakers focused on supporting sexual assault survivors, women’s rights, abortion rights, and immigrants.

The crowd was prompted to shout, “I believe survivors!” Many held anti-Kavanaugh signs.

“Whatever happens in the coming days, this is a beginning not an end,” said Tara Romano, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC.

NARAL Pro-Choice NC, ACLU of North Carolina, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic were among the rally sponsors.

The rally came a week after gripping testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, and Kavanaugh’s fiery denials.

Senators on Thursday received a report on an FBI background investigation into the allegations. Tillis’ office sent a prepared statement Thursday morning that he received “an extensive and detailed committee staff briefing on the FBI background investigation,” and that there is “still no contemporaneous evidence that corroborates these allegations.” Tillis is a member of the Judiciary Committee and voted last week to forward Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Burr said in a statement last week that he intended to support Kavanaugh.

Charles “Chad” Ludington, an associate history professor at N.C. State University, came forward about his experiences drinking with Kavanaugh when both attended Yale University, The News & Observer reported.

“When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive,” Ludington said in a statement he sent to The N&O earlier this week.

Ludington told CNN earlier this week that he had sent a statement to the FBI.

Ludington said in an email Thursday that the FBI did not interview him. He and two other Yale classmates and “drinking buddies” of Kavanaugh’s wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece published Thursday that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed because he was not honest at the Senate hearing about the extent of his drinking.

CNN interviewed Ludington about a 1985 bar fight involving Kavanaugh. In a report on the fight, the New York Times wrote that New Haven police questioned Kavanaugh and four other men.

Kavanaugh told the Senate committee he liked beer but does not have a drinking problem.

Democrats criticized the FBI report, saying the agency should have conducted more interviews, McClatchy reported.

At the rally, Rep. Yvonne Holley, a Raleigh Democrat, urged the crowd to make the legislature more representative of the state’s population by voting to elect more women and minorities.

“We have to become the moral compass of our society,” she said. “We need to go the long haul. This is a war, it is not just a battle.”

Sarah Corbitt, a Durham resident, said a lot of people were sad about the Kavanaugh developments, but it helped for like-minded people to gather to figure out what to do.

“It helps to find people who are partners in the same fight with us, and get some anger out, and some energy out,” she said.

Bonner: 919-829-4821; @Lynn_Bonner