The fight to block Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court was over. But for many, the anger over how the past few weeks unfolded was fresh.
While protesters in Washington, D.C., pounded on the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate and a short time later sworn in, a few hundred demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle on Saturday to object.
“No justice, no seat,” they chanted as an afternoon rally began at Westlake Park.
The fight to block Kavanaugh’s appointment to the High Court was over. But for many, the anger over how the past few weeks unfolded was fresh.
The day was a cause for celebration for some in Seattle. Republicans, including some from the University of Washington, threatened legal action if they were turned away from a bar where they hoped to hold a “Beers 4 Brett” event Saturday evening.
A common theme among speakers at the Westlake rally, organized by NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and at least a dozen other groups, was support for sexual-violence survivors and a focus on the Nov. 6 election.
A woman named Ashley who said she was a rape survivor visiting Seattle from Ohio said, “it was a gut punch because it was a woman, Sen. Susan Collins” – the Maine Republican who cast a decisive vote for Kavanaugh — “who basically said we don’t believe women in this country when they tell the truth about being sexually assaulted.”
She added, “We need to turn over the House and the Senate. I’m going to do my best to do that when I go back to Ohio.”
Others at the rally were registering people to vote. “This is a really important election, the most important election of our lifetimes,” said one, Shoshanna Love, who had printed out voter-registration forms.
The deadline in Washington for online or mail-in voter registration, including making name and address changes, is Monday. New Washington voters can register in-person until Oct. 29.
Erin Murray brought her two children to the rally because she thinks they need to know it’s important to participate. Although they may not fully understand the adult topics of sexual harassment and rape she explained it to her daughter like this: “Somebody who I don’t believe is qualified has been named to a really important role for life.”
Murray said she cried after the preliminary vote Friday to move ahead with the Senate vote on Kavanaugh. On Saturday she was mad. On Sunday, she plans to organize. “I held on to hope that our senators would do the right thing. I am always very disappointed when we can’t see past politics.”
Others were less optimistic.
Ed Kiniry, a mail carrier, was taking his lunch break in Westlake Center.
He didn’t know about the rally beforehand, but he watched the hearing and believes Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were in high school.
“I was a party-er too when I was young,” said Kiniry, who is 61, “but you saw the crowd that was belligerent and the crowd that was more chill. …I was more chill.”
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Kiniry, a Democrat, said he is nervous about the midterms, but watching the rally gave him some hope.
UW College Republicans, meanwhile, held “Beers 4 Brett” at a bar near campus to “celebrate our newest Supreme Court Justice, and the failure of the lies and false claims against him!”
Earlier Saturday, Shultzy’s Bar & Grill asked the group to hold its party elsewhere. “We don’t do political events,” a manager at Shultzy’s said by phone Saturday afternoon.
The group had changed the location on a Facebook post to another nearby bar, before switching back to Shultzy’s on the advice of an attorney at Freedom X, a nonprofit California law firm that represented the College Republicans in a First Amendment claim against the UW this year.
Owner Don Schulze declined to comment Saturday evening as the event was underway.
Chevy Swanson, president of UW College Republicans said he thinks it will be tough to predict the impact of Kavanaugh being on the Supreme Court.
“I would be very interested to see if we take another look at Roe v. Wade,” Swanson said. “In general, where we are now is not a great way to measure how it should be legal.”
Eleven people — 10 men and one woman — sat at a table eating burgers and bratwursts to celebrate Kavanaugh’s confirmation and lifted their beers, toasting “To Brett.”
Staff reporters Marcus Harrison Green, Scott Greenstone, Agueda Pacheco-Flores, Benjamin Romano and Paige Cornwell contributed to this report.