A quick review of the events surrounding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
In 1991, Clarence Thomas was accused by college professor Anita Hill of sexual harassment. After Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Thomas was confirmed despite the allegations. This week on Capitol Hill, 27 years later, another Supreme Court nominee faces allegations of sexual misconduct.
The first accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh was a high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh who is now a college professor, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Months ago, she wrote a letter detailing allegations of sexual assault to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) Ford alleges that Kavanaugh made unwelcome advances — including physical actions like trying to remove her clothes — towards Ford at a drunken high school party in Maryland in the 1980s.
The next allegations to surface were by a college classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale, Deborah Ramirez, who accused the judge of exposing himself to her without her consent at a drunken dorm party.
A third woman, Julie Swetnick has stated to the Judiciary Committee that she often witnessed Kavanaugh participate in indecent alcohol-fueled behavior at high school parties, including his presence at a party were Swetnick herself was allegedly gang raped. While she did not accuse Kavanaugh of participating in her rape, her testimony, if true, discredits Kavanaugh’s statements that he did not participate in such behavior at parties and the other witnesses’ statements that these allegations do not fit the character of Kavanaugh. In her sworn statement, Swetnick describes Kavanaugh’s tendencies to "drink excessively and engage in highly inappropriate conduct, including being overly aggressive with girls and not taking ‘No’ for an answer. This conduct included fondling and grabbing girls without their consent."
Additionally, the Judiciary Committee has received two more anonymous allegations against Kavanaugh. A letter accused a drunken Kavanaugh of assaulting a woman in Rhode Island in 1998. Another was written by a Rhode Island man stating his knowledge of Kavanaugh’s assaulting an acquaintance.
An emotional Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, as did Kavanaugh himself. Both said they were “100 percent certain.” Ford, that Kavanaugh assaulted her, and Kavanaugh, that he did not. Ford also stated that she “believed [Kavanaugh] was going to rape [her] and described, in great detail, her assault by the hands of Kavanaugh and another man, Mark Judge. She described, particularly, their laughter during the assault. Additionally, she remembers a moment in which she believed that "Brett was accidentally going to kill [her]."
Kavanaugh appeared emotional, almost combative, vehemently denied the allegations, even interrupting Democratic senators. Kavanaugh also answered questions by asking the same of the questioning senator. The judge also “swear[s] to God” that none of the allegations are true.
Following the day of testimony, retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake (AZ) turned the Senate upside down, voting with the majority in the 11-10 vote by the committee to favorably recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination. However, he then stated that he would vote against confirmation in the full Senate vote and that other Republican senators felt the same way, for example, Senator Murkowski [R-AK]. Flake demanded a one-week supplemental investigation by the FBI into these allegations before the vote would be held, to which Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and the White House agreed.
A vote will be held after the conclusion of the investigation. With a 51-49 majority, Republicans can only lose one vote and use the Vice President’s tie-breaker to confirm.
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