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Judiciary committee votes to send Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the Senate

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Posted at 1:06 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 14:14:31-04

By: RNN Staff

WASHINGTON, DC (RNN) – The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 10 along party lines Friday to send Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate.

An official vote to confirm him could come by early next week.

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, of Arizona, said on Friday that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination. He was confronted by two sexual assault survivors on his way to the hearing.

Flake looked down as one of the women said to Flake: “Tell me, I’m standing right here in front of you, do you think he’s telling the truth to the country?”

He stood there with the women for a couple of minutes before the elevator doors closed.

In response to the American Bar Association’s call for an FBI investigation, Grassley said that the ABA doesn’t “dictate our committee’s business.”

Thursday’s testimony riveted a nation as Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford said she was “100 percent” certain she was sexually assaulted by him.

Kavanaugh, 53, decried the process as a “national disgrace” and reiterated his denial that he never sexually assaulted Ford or anyone else.

His nomination came under fire after three women, including Ford, came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Ford said in an interview with The Washington Post on Sept. 16, saying Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15. Both Kavanaugh and Ford grew up around Washington, DC.

Ford alleged that at some time in 1982, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to take her clothes off during a party.

Kavanaugh allegedly covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream, according to the Washington Post.

Ford said the incident occurred at a friend’s house and included Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge.

If the committee approves Kavanaugh, the next step will be a procedural vote on the Senate floor Saturday, according to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA.

It’s possible, however, that Kavanaugh’s nomination could still go to the Senate floor even without committee approval, although that would be considered unorthodox procedure.

The full Senate could officially vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation by early next week.

For his part, President Donald Trump is sticking with his nominee. After hearing both Ford and Kavanaugh testify, Trump tweeted his support of Kavanaugh, calling his testimony “powerful, honest, and riveting.”

Thursday evening, the American Bar Association called for the Judiciary Committee to halt Kavanaugh’s nomination until the FBI can complete an investigation into the allegations against him.

“The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI,” said Robert Carlson, president of the ABA, in a Thursday night letter addressed to Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, according to CNN.

The ABA had strongly endorsed Kavanaugh’s nomination, giving him a rating of “well-qualified” for the Supreme Court, a fact Kavanaugh mentioned during his Thursday testimony.

“For 12 years, everyone who has appeared before me on the D.C. Circuit has praised my judicial temperament,” he said. “That’s why I have the unanimous, well qualified rating from the American Bar Association.”

America magazine – the weekly magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the U.S. – withdrew its endorsement of Kavanaugh late Thursday, writing: “If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault."

Kavanaugh, who received a Jesuit education, has frequently mentioned his Catholic faith as being fundamental to his morality, citing it in his opening statement Thursday to defend himself against Ford’s allegations.

The live hearing was akin to when attorney Anita Hill came forward with harassment claims against Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation process in 1991.

The last Supreme Court nominee to withdraw was Harriet Miers, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in October 2005 to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Miers was a corporate attorney who served as White House Counsel from 2005 to 2007. Bipartisan opposition led Bush to withdraw the nomination.

Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the high court earlier this year, making way for President Donald Trump to appoint a second justice. In 2017, Neil Gorsuch was appointed to replace Antonin Scalia.

Kavanaugh is a former clerk of Kennedy and has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for the last 10 years.

A President George W. Bush appointee to his current position, Kavanaugh had worked as counsel and staff secretary in the White House before his nomination.

A graduate of Yale and Yale Law, he also was a member of Kenneth Starr's independent counsel team that investigated President Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh was born in Washington, DC, and attended Georgetown Preparatory School.

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