Brett Kavanaugh’s one step closer to being confirmed to the Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on September 28 to confirm, and now the vote officially goes to Congress. Here’s what to expect next.
Despite the multiple sexual assault allegations against him, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh through to full Senate to confirm him to the Supreme Court. Understand that Kavanaugh is not confirmed as a Supreme Court justice yet; we’ll now sit through a series of votes leading up to a potential confirmation from the Senate itself. It is understood that Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was the swing vote on the committee that voted Kavanaugh through today.
There’s a caveat, though. Senator Flake, in an unprecedented move, said he would be “uncomfortable” fully confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court without a full FBI investigation first. He still voted “aye” to pushing this vote through under the condition that an up to a weeklong delay in proceedings would occur. It’s unclear at this point if that will happen. Flake’s confirmation vote is at this time scheduled for Tuesday, October 2. Senate Republicans currently do not have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, senior aides and senators told CNN. There is a possibility, though, that the GOP could bring in Vice President Mike Pence as a potential tiebreaker.
Senator Flake’s shocking announcement shortly after he was confronted in an elevator in a Senate office building by two female sexual assault survivors. Flake was visibily uncomfortable as the women spoke to him. “Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me,” one of the women, Maria Gallagher, said through tears while the senator looked at the ground. “That you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do with their bodies.”
The hours leading up to the September 28 vote were fraught with tension and controversy. The committee voted 11 to 10 not to subpoena Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge to testify. Judge was named in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford‘s initial allegations and testimony as being in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. She claimed that Judge was watching and laughing while Kavanaugh allegedly pinned her down, held his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t scream, and tried to take off her clothes.
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) refused to vote on Kavanaugh this morning, and immediately walked out of the chamber when the vote went through. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) all walked out. As did several female representatives who were watching the proceedings from the audience.
Senator Harris gave a poignant speech in Dr. Ford’s defense outside the Capitol, telling reporters, “From top to bottom this has been about bullies. Listen to the people. All we have asked for is that there be an FBI investigation. Dr. Ford came in and she poured out her heart, she cooperated with the process. She gave the process dignity and respect; the least we could do is give her the dignity and respect of a process that has credibility. We are talking about putting on the United States Supreme Court for a lifetime. For the sake of our democracy and the integrity of our democracy you would think that members of the United States Senate would say wait a minute, there’s enough here to push pause. Let’s reflect on what we’re about to do.”