Senate Judiciary to probe Kavanaugh, accuser in public hearing

Sep 19, 2018, 12:27
Senate Judiciary to probe Kavanaugh, accuser in public hearing

Almost three decades after her own courageous testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, Anita Hill on Tuesday spoke out about the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh and urged lawmakers not to repeat the mistakes that were made back then.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should not investigate a California professor's allegations of sexual assault against Trump's pick for U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, adding that he wants his nominee confirmed quickly.

"As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard".

Grassley criticized Democrats for not participating in the calls, but later agreed to hold the public hearing Monday "to give these recent allegations a full airing". All 11 Republicans on the committee are men.

The developments evoked memories of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' contentious confirmation hearings in 1991 involving sexual harassment allegations lodged against him by lawyer Anita Hill.

Prof Ford's legal team say they have written to Senate Judiciary Committee declining its offer to testify.

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The White House appeared eager to resolve the matter quickly. Dean Heller is in a hard fight for re-election, his Democratic challenger, Rep. Jacky Rosen, used the allegation against Kavanaugh to stoke doubt about Heller's judgment. While Chuck Grassley released a statement saying that it's "disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations" have been released just now, fact is, the allegations have actually been partially corroborated. A spokesman said the five-term congressman "believes the committee and full Senate should thoroughly evaluate the claims and Judge Kavanaugh should address them". "I guess we've invited everybody", Trump said during a joint press conference with the President of Poland on Tuesday.

The remarks by McConnell, R-Ky., seemed aimed at signaling that while Ford will be given her opportunity to detail her allegations under oath, party leaders - certainly for now - were not easing off their support of Trump's nominee. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

Monday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will be the ultimate test of whether the #MeToo movement has really changed the way Washington deals with sexual misconduct charges, when a Supreme Court seat is at stake.

'I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford's letter, ' added Judge, who wrote a book about his high school days describing heavy partying, drinking, and teenage sex.

Prof Ford, a psychology lecturer in California, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of drunkenly trying to remove her clothing in 1982 when they were both teenagers in a Washington DC suburb. And it's about time that other Americans-particularly men, senators, congressmen, and constituents-join her in that effort across the board.

If the Judiciary committee's timetable slips, it would become increasingly hard for Republicans to schedule a vote before midterm elections on November 6 elections, when congressional control will be at stake.

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Despite Hill's accusations against him in 1991, Thomas has been one of the most socially conservative justices on the Supreme Court-and the Christian Right has generally applauded the nomination of Kavanaugh, who would replace the retired Anthony Kennedy, a right-wing 1987 Ronald Reagan appointee who was fiscally conservative but showed libertarian-ish leanings when it came to gay rights and abortion.

"With midterm elections around the corner, rather than focusing on whether Kavanaugh is qualified to be on the Supreme Court, politics and cameras in the courtroom will devolve to grandstanding and senators playing to constituents", Wigdor said. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the accusations.

In a statement on Monday, Kavanaugh called the allegation by Ford, who is a college professor, "completely false".

Yet a few Republicans have suggested there may have to be a delay, at least in the Judiciary vote on the nominee - which was scheduled for this Thursday - in order to hear from Ford. Ford believes Kavanaugh's alleged actions were "attempted rape" and "that if it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped", Katz told NBC's "Today" program.

Limiting the hearing to just Kavanaugh and Ford would be "inadequate, unfair, wrong and a desire not to get at the whole truth", Schumer said. Ford was 15 at the time of the alleged incident.

"That's not what they do", Trump said.

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