By Senator Lena C. Taylor –
If you are like most folks, you are watching the Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination process play out. You may be struggling with recent information that has been introduced into the fray regarding allegations of a sexual assault that has been leveled at Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Ford claims that while at a party, Donald Trump’s nominee to the nation’s highest court, pushed her into a bedroom, attempted to forcibly remove her clothes and covered her to mute her screams. This is alleged to have taken place over 30 years ago, while they were both in high school.
Fast forward to 2018. From the beginning, U.S. Senate Republicans have made it clear that they wanted to confirm Trump’s pick by Oct. 1. This date is significant for a couple of reasons to include it signals the start of the new term for the Supreme Court and it’s also ahead of the November 6th election.
The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has sidestepped one norm after another to rush the Kavanaugh vote.
Grassley ignored the usual vetting process that includes allowing the National Archives and Records Administration time to produce documents relating to Supreme Court nominees, which in this case, was more than one million documents or dumping the of roughly 42,000 documents hours before hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination were scheduled to start.
And in terms of the allegations of sexual assault that have been advanced, Grassley, Trump and their Republican colleagues are dead wrong in their handling of Ford and her claims. To be clear, Grassley and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) should know better because they have been here before. In 1991, when then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had allegations made against him by Anita Hill, Grassley and Hatch were both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee then.
At the time of Hill’s assertions, the committee had already taken two separate votes on Thomas’ nomination. After Hill came forward, the Judiciary committee informed the White House and the White House directed the FBI to investigate Hill’s claims. Dr. Ford has made a request for similar treatment of her claims in asking that the FBI re-open their background investigation of Kavanaugh before she agrees to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Grassley and Trump have refused her request.
Grassley’s decision to place arbitrary deadlines on Ford’s window to offer testimony and fabricated statements about the role of the FBI’s ability to investigate Ford’s claim are a miscarriage of justice and an insult to both women and the process. As a member of Wisconsin’s Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, I take my responsibilities seriously. It is a shame that the same can’t be said for my colleagues at the federal level.