The fault lines between supporters of Brett Kavanaugh and his opponents continue to take shape. He’s President Donald Trump’s pick to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, but he’s faced multiple credible allegations of sexual assault that blocked his confirmation process for a time. As Republicans struggle to push that process forward, yet another Democrat has announced their opposition to the judge.
Montana’s U.S. Senator Jon Tester made his opposition clear in a prepared statement released Friday afternoon, the day the Senate Judiciary Committee took up Kavanaugh’s nomination for what turned out to be the last time.
While some of his Senate colleagues dug into their positions and asserted their support for the credibly accused sexual predator, Tester outlined his concerns, explaining:
‘I have concerns that Judge Kavanaugh defended the PATRIOT Act instead of Montanans’ privacy. I have concerns about his support for more dark money in politics. I have concerns about who he believes is in charge of making personal health decisions. And I have deep concerns about the allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh.’
Tester went on to explain that he had nothing to go on besides what Kavanaugh had said publicly, since no private one-on-one meeting between the two of them had materialized.
My statement on the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court: https://t.co/VAFNn5Muee #mtpol pic.twitter.com/wz8uF0t9l5
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) September 28, 2018
Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday to answer the sexual assault allegations against him, and what ensued was a spectacle to say the least. In the morning, Kavanaugh’s victim Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about her experiences, describing how she’d been nearly raped at the judge’s hands some years ago in an incident that got so violent she feared for her life. She will always remember Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge laughing at the time of the incident, she said.
As the day went on, Republicans — and Kavanaugh — made clear exactly where they stood. The SCOTUS nominee decried the allegations against him as nothing more than a political hit job orchestrated to exact revenge for the Clintons — an ironic charge considering how much the right has railed against supposedly evidence-less allegations lately. It’s not as though Kavanaugh produced some sort of secret documentation that Ford is really a crisis actress and the Clintons were sitting up in their evil lair laughing maniacally while he languished in front of the Senate.
Nope — instead he just spent what approached an hour yelling at the Senate in what constituted his “opening statement” and then proceeded to launch into a defense that relied heavily on quips about beer and included Republican Senators launching their own screamed defenses of the poor, persecuted Kavanaugh.
In the time since that disgraceful performance, Tester is not the only U.S. Senator to announce their opposition to the nominee. Fellow Democrat from Florida Bill Nelson also announced his opposition. Both of them are running in tight re-election races in states Trump won, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to blindly go along with the GOP’s sham of a confirmation process.
The same can’t be said about some other members of the U.S. Senate, though. Retiring Republican Jeff Flake announced that he would vote for Kavanaugh on Friday, ensuring that the judge’s nomination would proceed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and to a full floor vote. He did, though, demand an FBI investigation before a final floor vote. Two other Republicans remain undecided — Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins.
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