Kavanaugh Confirmation In Question Due To Allegation Of Sexual Assault

Sep 18, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh will testify again on Monday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee after a California professor claimed he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. The professor, Christine Blasey Ford, will also testify.

From The New York Times:

Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, told reporters Monday afternoon that the chairman, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, told senators there would be an “opportunity” for senators to hear from Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, in a public setting where senators would be able to ask questions. Both have said they are willing to testify. A Senate Republican aide confirmed that it would be on Monday, effectively delaying a planned committee vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, which had been scheduled for this Thursday.

“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

President Trump told reporters that he would accept a delay in Kavanaugh’s confirmation, though he continued to defend his nominee.

In addition, The Intercept reported that an attorney reached out to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Chuck Grassley, alleging that there were federal court employees who wanted to talk about Kavanaugh.

There are some striking similarities between Blasey Ford’s case, and that of Anita Hill. Hill accused current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and testified in front of Congress in 1991. But not everything is the same. Read an analysis by our guest, Nina Totenberg, here.

The Republican majority in the Senate is small. Senators Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski could be key swing votes, as well as Democratic senators campaigning for reelection in states President Trump won, like Joe Donnelly in Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

How will these senators approach the allegation? What are the potential outcomes of these two testimonies?

Produced by Denise Couture. Text by Gabrielle Healy.


Nina Totenberg, Legal affairs correspondent, NPR; @NinaTotenberg

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