President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has already faced days-long public confirmation hearings, but the metaphorical fireworks aren’t over yet. In the days since those hearings concluded, it’s come out that he attempted to rape a classmate of his as a much younger person, and he’s now facing the consequences in a third GOP Senator suggesting a committee vote on his confirmation should be delayed.
At present, the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Thursday afternoon. Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to push her story of what happened to her, but Republican leaders haven’t proven to care — yet at least. Meanwhile, though, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski joined a minority of her Republican colleagues Sunday night in suggesting that the Senate should postpone the Kavanaugh vote.
Postponing the vote — and possibly keeping him off the Supreme Court altogether — would be a comparatively small setback for a man who perpetrated misconduct that’s haunted Ford for years, but it’s a start.
Murkowski told CNN of the possibility of postponing the Kavanaugh vote:
‘Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion. This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response. That may be something the committee needs to look into.’
Her statement isn’t definitive, but even she, as a member of the party responsible for putting forward this mess of a judicial nominee, can’t get around the fact that an unrepentant sexual abuser isn’t exactly who you’d want on the Supreme Court.
Yes, the incident took place some years ago — does that matter? Do we stop talking about the assassination of John F. Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln just because it took place many years ago? How about the attempt John Hinckley Jr. made on Ronald Reagan’s life decades ago — do we stop talking about that? Would we accept Hinckley for a position on the Supreme Court just because he’s been freed from custody and ruled no longer an imminent threat?
The answer to all of those questions is obviously no. Even still, prominent Republicans have refused to get behind the movement to delay a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans — who Murkowski is not among — have released a statement framing the revelation of Kavanaugh’s behavior as a political ploy by Democrats.
Men who supported a presidential candidate facing multiple accusations of sexual assault also OK with a Supreme Court nominee facing an accusation of sexual assault https://t.co/AQIZY41OXb
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 16, 2018
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee — both of whom have clashed with the president in the past and are not seeking re-election — have joined Murkowski in suggesting a vote on Kavanaugh should be delayed.
Flake is the only one among the three who’s actually on the Judiciary Committee, but should Kavanaugh’s nomination make it out of that context, the GOP is going to need all of their support to get him on the court — and they don’t have it at present. In other words, the future of the president’s latest SCOTUS pick remains in doubt.
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