Democrats Handled Allegations Irresponsibly, Chairman Grassley Will Not
‘Acknowledging that the irresponsible and irregular manner in which her allegation was brought to light was no fault of hers, the Chairman opened a dialogue with Dr. Ford’s counsel. He deferred to her preferences on the timing of her hearing and a number of other details. To quote from a letter the Chairman wrote to Dr. Ford yesterday: “I am committed to fair and respectful treatment … Both of you deserve a credible and fair process in a secure and professional setting.”’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:
“In the past week and a half, the American people have seen a confusing and chaotic process play out here in the U.S. Senate. They’ve seen uncorroborated, decades-old allegations of wrongdoing pop up in the press at the last minute, just as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was winding down. They’ve seen an accuser’s request for privacy disregarded and ordinary standards of fairness discarded.
“They’ve seen a disturbing pattern play out, on two separate occasions already. It goes like this: Number one, our Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee get wind of -- or maybe even go looking for -- a sensitive allegation. Second, they decline to share it with the majority, meaning the committee cannot promptly take appropriate action. And third, they allow the allegation to leak to the press at the last moment.
“Fortunately, in stark contrast to this malpractice, the American people have also seen the exemplary manner in which Chairman Grassley has led the Judiciary Committee throughout the entire process. The Chairman has acted swiftly and transparently in pursuit of truth. And he’s treated Dr. Ford with kindness and respect.
“Acknowledging that the irresponsible and irregular manner in which her allegation was brought to light was no fault of hers, the Chairman opened a dialogue with Dr. Ford’s counsel. He deferred to her preferences on the timing of her hearing and a number of other details. To quote from a letter the Chairman wrote to Dr. Ford yesterday: ‘I am committed to fair and respectful treatment of you… [The] hearing on Thursday will allow you to testify and also will allow the nominee to address the allegations… Both of you deserve a credible and fair process in a secure and professional setting.’
“So we have one side that is handling these sensitive matters with dignity, with professionalism… by the book. And we have another side that chose to sit on allegations and keep them secret until they were leaked to the press. The same side as the Democratic Leader, who’d already made his mind up mere hours after Judge Kavanaugh was chosen and said -- quote -- ‘I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.’ Well, apparently so.
“Look -- the American people know that sexual misconduct is gravely serious. They expect this to be treated seriously and addressed promptly. That’s precisely what Chairman Grassley has done and is doing. But the American people also insist that vague, unsubstantiated, and uncorroborated allegations of 30-plus-year-old misconduct -- where all the supposed witnesses either totally deny it or can’t confirm it -- is nowhere near grounds to nullify someone’s career or destroy their good name. Justice matters. Evidence matters. The facts matter.
“Let’s look at one of the supposed witnesses, Ms. Leland Keyser. She is not a friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s. In fact, she says that she doesn’t even know him. Rather, she’s a long-time friend of Professor Ford’s. What does Ms. Keyer say about the allegations? Through her attorney, she says that she ‘does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party where he was present, with, or without Dr. Ford.’ In other words, she backs up Judge Kavanaugh’s statement.
“Look -- this is America we’re talking about. We’re supposed to uphold fairness and the presumption of innocence. Everyone deserves better than this. Not just Judge Kavanaugh. Everyone deserves better than this. I was surprised and disappointed by the recent statements on television from some of my Democratic colleagues -- including one statement this weekend that Judge Kavanaugh is not owed a presumption of innocence -- because they disagree with his judicial philosophy. This is not a standard we want to set in America.
“No matter how loudly my Democratic colleagues try to say otherwise, we have never been -- and do not wish to be -- a society in which a single, uncorroborated allegation -- disputed by everyone who supposedly has some knowledge of it -- can float out across decades and wield veto power over somebody’s life. Judge Kavanaugh is an immensely bright and qualified nominee. We’ve heard from legal experts and scholars that he is one of the fairest and most brilliant jurists anywhere in the country. And we’ve heard from hundreds of character witnesses, from his high school days to the present, who vouch for his character and integrity.”
“But the need for a fair process runs even deeper than Judge Kavanaugh himself. As he wrote in his own letter to Chairman Grassley yesterday, the weaponization of unsubstantiated smears -- quote -- ‘will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.’ This isn’t what members want the Senate to be. This isn’t what Americans want our society to be.
“So I look forward eagerly to hearing from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh under oath this Thursday morning. I am glad we will be able to hear testimony from both. And then I look forward to an up-or-down vote on this nomination right here on the Senate floor.”
Related Issues: Nominations, Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats