Excavating the Layers of Consent in the Kavanaugh Hearings

The Principle of Consent is woven through several layers of this story of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. It’s like a geological core sample of power in our culture. First, there is an accusation of a lack of Consent for sexual behavior at a teenage party. Then, it’s the Senate’s job to “Advise and Consent” to the person picked by the President to serve on the highest court in the land. Consent in this context is about the balance of power between the branches of government. Finally, all of this is supposed to be happening within the “Consent of the Governed.” This is a principle in the U.S. Declaration of Independence that means “that government gets all its power from the people. The people set up the government.The people run the government. The government does not run the people. If people don’t like the government, they have the right to change it.”

This month, we are going to offer a space to debrief this nomination from a very different angle — by looking at these various uses of the Principle of Consent and how they might connect.

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