05:39 GMT +315 December 2018
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    Activists demonstrate in the plaza of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington

    NextGen Suffragists: US Women’s Groups Look to Midterms After Kavanaugh Failure

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    Following the polarizing nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court on Saturday, sexual assault survivors and women’s rights supporters are turning their anger toward the November midterm elections.

    On Saturday, protesters chanted "vote them out" and "November is coming" while demonstrating on Capitol Hill ahead of the Kavanaugh vote. The 53-year-old conservative judge was confirmed by the US Senate in a vote 50 to 48 in favor of the appointment. Protesters are now hoping to use their influence to enact legislation on Capitol Hill. 

    "There's no question that the energy from this moment will relate to the energy that we will all see in November," Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center, told The Hill following the Kavanaugh's confirmation.

    The protesters' objectives go beyond just electing Democrats, according to Graves.

    "Anyone who covers for abuse, anyone who is not interested in changing the institutions that cover for abuse, will find themselves vulnerable," she declared.

    On Thursday, after a week-long investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee, lawmakers received a private FBI report on Kavanaugh. The investigation had been requested by the judge's accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julia Swetnick.

    A number of Republican senators had already argued beforehand that there was no evidence to corroborate the claims that Kavanaugh had committed sexual misconduct during his college years at Yale in the 1980s, with Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins adding that they believed the inquiry had been thorough enough.

    Many of the protests against Kavanaugh have been organized by women's rights groups including Women's March, the National Women's Law Center and the anti-sexism group Ultraviolet and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA).

    "I think all roads lead to November," Women's March co-chair Tamika Mallory told The Hill on Thursday at one of many anti-Kavanaugh demonstrations. "‘November is coming' has been one of our campaign slogans since we've been engaged in the ‘Cancel Kavanaugh' campaign."

    According to Women's March co-chair Linda Sarsour, anger at what they consider to be the Kavanaugh fiasco has fueled their efforts.

    "People are fired up," Sarsour said. "[This] could be another opportunity for us to fuel our effort."

    "[The Kavanaugh fight] is an opportunity for us to leverage women to be even more involved and participate at a deeper level in this activism work," she added.

    The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) has been a powerful voice against Kavanaugh's nomination. The group, which primarily represents domestic women of color, aims to prevent sexual harassment and enhance workplace conditions.

    NDWA's communications director Marzena Zukowska told the Hill that the alliance is working to register voters ahead of the November midterms. Her group will also urge lawmakers to support the Empower Act, a bipartisan House bill that targets awareness and mitigation of sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Marzena Zukowska, NDWA's communications director, told The Hill that they are focused on registering voters ahead of the midterms.

    Some groups have pledged to no longer endorse any Senators that backed the Kavanaugh confirmation.

    Progressive groups in Maine are donating millions of dollars to the 2020 opponent of state Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) because she voted to confirm Kavanaugh.

    Crowdfunding for Collin's 2020 opponents quickly shot up over $2 million. So far, physician Cathleen London has announced her intention to run against Collins, although other nominees are being considered. 

    Some groups also told The Hill that they will be working to block the Department of Education's attempts to roll back Title IX protections, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault.

    "The Department of Education is preparing to gut Title IX sexual violence protection and it is exactly that age group that I'm worried about," Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center told The Hill.

    Conservative groups have also promised to keep the confirmation debacle on the front lines.

    "Americans saw through the vilification of an exceptionally qualified nominee, and their senators will be held accountable," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, recently stated to Reuters.

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    elections, midterms, protest, Brett Kavanaugh, United States
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