On Thursday, prospective Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh attended a hearing in Washington, D.C. after accusations of sexual assault from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor who alleged in September 2018 that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a high school party in 1982.
Opening statements from both Ford and Kavanaugh were released the night before the hearing, but beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Ford recounted in painstaking detail her experience of sexual assault at the hands of Kavanaugh in 1982, in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Ford relived her trauma in front of the news media, and as Kavanaugh was later questioned by the committee, a number of celebrities and public figures reacted to the hearing at Capitol Hill on social media, taking to task the Supreme Court nominee’s tearful reaction to a discussion of his allegedly meticulously kept calendars and high school yearbook quotes, plus the number of times he mentioned his lifelong preference for drinking beer in a presumed attempt to shirk accountability for his alleged actions toward his accuser.
With President Donald Trump's blessing, if Kavanaugh is appointed to the Supreme Court, he will have life tenure as an associate justice, joining incumbent Justices Clarence Thomas (who was accused of sexual assault by Anita Hill in 1991), Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch (who was also nominated by Donald Trump in 2017 to replace the late Antonin Scalia), and Sonia Sotomayor.
While direct quotes from the prospective Supreme Court judge’s statements during the hearing may become meme-able (the endless “I like beer” invocations and Kavanaugh's concern for his "reputation," for example), throughout the hearing, Kavanaugh maintained his innocence and continued to interrupt the senators who questioned him, as reporters, comedians, and celebrities offered up their analysis of Kavanaugh’s statements via Twitter.
Some users on Twitter drew comparisons between Ford’s view of the committee during her testimony to the all-male authoritarian governing body in The Handmaid’s Tale’s fictional Republic of Gilead, known as the Council, a dystopian comparison all too apt in the wake of the #MeToo movement (the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are all men, as are the members of the Council that decides the fates of women in Gilead).
Alyssa Milano, who attended the hearing in support of Ford, consistently updated her Twitter feed with photos from her view of the hearing, as other celebrities including Busy Philipps updated their timelines with stories of their own sexual assault and the reasons why they hesitated to report. Comedians such as Ellen Barkin, Julie Klausner, and Megan Amram also offered their positions on the hearing and the media's reports on Kavanaugh's statements. Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein—both of whom serve on the committee—also updated their social media feeds to reflect their take on the hearing, which include the explanation that this hearing is not a trial, but, as an assessment of Kavanaugh's character, it is essentially a component of a job interview for him as a Supreme Court nominee.