Over twenty years ago, president George Bush authorized the FBI to investigate Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment against his own Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. But Senate Republicans’ Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to “plow through” Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the High Court just as the accusations against him began to pour in. Now, as every Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee has indicated that he plans to vote in favor of the embattled former Republican operative Friday despite what they near universally described as credible testimony from one of his accusers, growing group of prominent legal voices are calling a postpone to his confirmation while the FBI investigates Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claims of attempted rape.
American Bar Association (ABA)
Late Thursday, the American Bar Association sent a letter to Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and ranking minority member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, calling for an FBI probe into the charges.
Bar Association president Robert Carlson wrote that "Each appointment to our nation's highest court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote."
The ABA had previously given a rating of "well qualified" to Kavanaugh when he was nominated in July.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote an opinion piece for Fox News calling on Republicans to postpone a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court until the FBI can investigate claims of sexual misconduct against him.
“Accusations as serious as those made by Ford and others against Kavanaugh — which allege he was guilty of criminal conduct — should not stand without clear and convincing evidence of their truth in a nation where the courts presume an accused person is innocent until proven guilty,” Dershowitz wrote. “An FBI investigation might provide more evidence — either favorable or unfavorable to Kavanaugh.”
The editors of America: The Jesuit Review, who previously endorsed Kavanaugh, called for his nomination to be withdrawn after he delivered a an angry rebuttal to Dr. Ford’s account on Thursday.
"[T]his nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country," the Jesuit magazine concluded. Kavanaugh went to a Jesuit high school, where he is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct. The cloud of suspicion hanging over Kavanaugh would be too damaging to the court for him to be confirmed. The “best of the bad resolutions,” they say, is for Judge Kavanaugh to withdraw.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the fourth Yale Law School graduate on the Supreme Court. On Friday, hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Dean of Yale Law School said Kavanaugh’s confirmation process should be halted “in the best interest” of the Supreme Court.
“I join the American Bar Association in calling for an additional investigation into allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh. Proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession,” Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement.
After these additional calls for the FBI to investigate the claims against Kavanaugh were made, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ., a retiring member of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that he plans to vote to confirm the embattled judge to the Supreme Court.
The full committee will vote at 1:30pm.