Dear Commons Community,
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has taking an uncertain turn as Republican senators expressed concern over a woman’s private-turned-public allegation that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers. As reported by the Associated Press.
“The White House and other Kavanaugh supporters had dismissed the allegation of sexual misconduct when it was initially conveyed in a private letter. With a name and disturbing details, the accusation raised the prospect of congressional Republicans defending President Donald Trump’s nominee ahead of midterm elections featuring an unprecedented number of female candidates and informed in part by the #MeToo movement.
The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee appeared nonetheless committed to a vote later this week despite Christine Blasey Ford’s account in The Washington Post. Kavanaugh, she said, pinned her to a bed at a Maryland party in the early 1980s, clumsily tried to remove her clothing and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. Kavanaugh repeated his previous denial that such an incident ever took place.
A split seemed to be emerging among the GOP.
As Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, called for a delay in the vote, two committee Republicans — all 11 on the GOP side are men — Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said they wanted to hear more from Ford. Flake went as far as to say he was “not comfortable” voting for Kavanaugh for the time being. A potential “no” vote from Flake would complicate the judge’s prospects. A Republican not on the committee, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, said the vote should be postponed until the committee heard from Ford. Contacted Sunday by CNN, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wouldn’t say if the vote should be postponed.
Some Senate Republicans, along with the White House, see no need to postpone voting over what they consider uncorroborated and unverifiable accusations, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.
A committee spokesman said late Sunday that its chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, was trying to arrange separate, follow-up calls with Kavanaugh and Ford, but just for aides to Grassley and Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., before Thursday’s scheduled vote. Critics have already accused the GOP of fast-tracking the process to get Kavanaugh on the court by Oct. 1, the first day of the fall term.
The allegation against Kavanaugh first came to light late last week in the form of a letter that had been for some time in the possession of Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and one of its four female members. On Sunday, The Washington Post published an interview with Ford, who after months of soul-searching decided to go public.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, 51, a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.” She told the Post that she was able to escape after a friend of Kavanaugh’s who was in the room jumped on top of them and everyone tumbled.”
This is an interesting development now that Ms. Ford has courageously come forth publicly. Shades of the Clarence Thomas nomination.