'A lesson in real time': Law students talk legal impact of Brett Kavanaugh hearing

Byby Tim Didion and Kate Larsen via KGO logo
Friday, September 28, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Local law students were watching the proceedings through a different lens -- its impact on the legal system.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- While the nation and the Bay Area was riveted by the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, local law students were watching the proceedings through a different lens: its impact on the legal system.

WATCH: Key moments from the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing

"I think the law students have been very intensely engaged in this, and I think the engagement has increased," said University of San Francisco law professor Julie Nice.

For law students and their professors at the University of San Francisco, there was no mistaking the moment and the sense of history in the making.

VIDEO: Christine Blasey Ford's full statement at Senate hearing

Many compared Thursday's testimony of Palo Alto professor Christine Blasey Ford to Anita Hill's testimony in the Clarence Thomas hearings, asking what's changed in the decades between the two hearings.

"I thought as a society we'd come to this feeling of believing sexual assault victims," said USF student Elizabeth Bowman. "It's interesting to watch and really see her on trial."

Students focused on the questioning of Blasey Ford, in part, by a prosecutor, which some felt made it seem like she was on trial.

TAKE ACTION: Help for victims of sexual assault, rape, and abuse

"It's almost like an accusatory nature to the whole thing really," said Alexis Ramsey.

Others, like law student Chris Cullinane, had questions about the fairness of the forum itself, and the ability of Senate hearings to provide justice to Ford or Kavanaugh, the way a court might.

"I would prefer that this be handled in a criminal court. That we can have an accusation within the statute of limitations where somebody can be put before a jury, a judge and actually have the evidence brought forward."

VIDEO: Watch Brett Kavanaugh's statement to Senate Judiciary Committee

Ultimately, some legal observers like law professor Maya Manian, believe the emotional testimony, coupled with the use of a prosecutor set a tone, so unique, it may be studied for years to come.

"And it's an unusual process in that never before has a delegate of the senators done the questioning. And you can see how odd the process is. So this is historic and we'll see how it plays out."

Full coverage on the hearing here.