Protesters sit and chant against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Capitol Hill Police officers make arrests outside the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Capitol Hill, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

BRUNSWICK —  Two days after Sen. Susan Collins voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bowdoin resident Nacole Palmer signed up for extra shifts volunteering for local Democratic campaigns.

She’s channeling her anger and energy into “redoubling, retripling” her efforts to get people to the polls in November, she said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Palmer was one of about two dozen Mainers who took an overnight bus to Washington DC last week to urge Collins to vote “no” in the confirmation of Kavanaugh, the conservative judge who faced several accusations of sexual assault or misconduct in the weeks leading up to his confirmation. Collins’ vote was expected to be one of the deciding factors in whether Kavanaugh made it to a lifetime appointment on the court.

“I feel so passionately about this decision,” Palmer said, “I knew I had to do everything I could to get Collins to vote no.” She added that Kavanaugh’s confirmation was going to be “one of the most significant vehicles of change in our culture in my lifetime.”

Jacqueline Sartoris, a district attorney and resident of Brunswick as well as a former town councilor, said she too went to DC with several other attorneys from both the private and public sector to speak with Collins about Kavanaugh. This was before Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers, but even then, Sartoris said, she expressed that he lacked the basic “respect for the court and rule of law” that befit a Supreme Court Justice.

“It was clear in the discussion that (Collins) was not interested in anything other than a yes,” Sartoris said. “Nothing we said was going to matter.”

Students at Bowdoin College walked out of classes in protest last Thursday, chanting “Kava-no” and “If you believe her vote no,” referencing Blasey Ford. Katherine Henneberger, a junior at Bowdoin, said it showed how “frustrated and exhausted” students are with current political events. However, the protest also served to “motivate people into action,” she said.

Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court Justice on Saturday by a vote of 50-48, and the controversy has energized voters on both the right and the left. A nationwide POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted after the Senate’s decision found   77 percent of Democrats indicated they were “very motivated” to vote in the upcoming midterms, verses 68 percent of Republicans who felt the same way.

The same poll found that 46 percent of voters believed the Senate erred in confirming Kavanaugh, while 40 percent agreed with the decision.

For students like Henneberger, Kavanaugh’s confirmation served as yet another reason why it is important to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. While these elections historically have a lower voter turnout than presidential elections, she and her classmates are determined to get as many students as possible to register to vote.

“Students and young people are what will shape the upcoming elections,” she said. “We are shaping the future.”

Palmer is still furious over Saturday’s outcome. “She failed Mainers, she failed women, she failed Americans across the country,” she said of Collins. “It’s time for all people of conscience … who see the bigger picture and the wrongs happening to stand up and say, ‘What can I do?’” For Palmer, the answer is as simple as one word: Vote.

Sartoris, too, is urging people to get to the polls next month.

“For me, this galvanized my sense that we have to be all in with changing what we can change,” she said, adding that since Donald Trump lost the majority vote, and Republicans rule in the legislature, the country is currently under “minority rule.” She is increasing her efforts, going door to door, making phone calls and donating money to races that she would not ordinarily pay attention too.

“It’s an all hands on deck moment,” she said.

[email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: