Senate to Vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination This Week
‘In my judgment, the pattern of behavior we have seen confirms what Democrats’ own public statements have told us: They are committed to delaying, obstructing, and resisting this nomination with everything they’ve got.’
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:
“The confirmation process for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one of the most qualified and most impressive Supreme Court nominees in our nation’s history, is moving forward. On Friday, the Judiciary Committee reported his nomination favorably. Then, here on the floor, we officially moved to take up the nomination. Every Republican member of the Committee agreed that Judge Kavanaugh should be reported out with a favorable recommendation. And every Democrat voted in opposition.
“Now, that last part shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Democrats have made no real attempt to disguise that this was a pure partisan calculation for them from the very beginning. Several of them had announced their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination long before his original hearings even began. Before they had questioned him on his judicial record they deem so problematic. And in some cases, before he—or anyone--had even been nominated. And they didn’t mince words: The way one Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee put it, supporters of Judge Kavanaugh are -- quote – ‘complicit in the evil.’ That’s a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee.
“Another Democrat on the Committee, before Judge Kavanaugh was even named, described in almost apocalyptic terms the consequences of whomever the president might nominate. Here is the quote: ‘We are looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States as far as I can tell.’ And here was the Democratic Leader, just hours after Judge Kavanaugh was nominated: ‘I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.’ Well, they’ve certainly done just that.
“The ranking Democrat on the Committee first heard from Dr. Ford on July 30th. Did our colleague alert the Chairman, so the Committee could do due diligence in a confidential way, consistent with Dr. Ford’s wishes? No, she did not. Did she discreetly raise the issue with Judge Kavanaugh during her private meeting with him on August 20th? No, she didn’t do that either. As best we can tell, the Democrats chose to keep this allegation secret, rather than investigating in a bipartisan and timely way. In fact, they held it in reserve.
“But meanwhile, the senior Senator from California -- or her office -- were already in communication with Dr. Ford. In fact, her office had already recommended that Dr. Ford retain a particular Washington D.C. law firm. Now, this firm in question is not exactly foreign to Democrat politics. Two of its founding partners -- including one of the attorneys who personally appeared at the hearing to represent Dr. Ford -- had until recently been scheduled to host a fundraiser for one of our Senate Democratic colleagues tonight.
“By the way, the firm had also represented, in another matter, the person who has made the most salacious and disgusting accusations against Judge Kavanaugh as a high school student. This is the firm which Judiciary Committee Democrats recommended to Dr. Ford. Not long thereafter, of course, Dr. Ford’s letter to the senior Senator from California wound up in the hands of the press. The same letter in which she’d asked for confidentiality -- leaked.
“By whom? As best I can tell, nobody had possession of this letter except for Dr. Ford’s Democrat congresswoman, the Democrat side of the Judiciary Committee and, presumably, the politically-connected lawyers they recommended to Dr. Ford. And somehow -- somehow -- it ended up in the press. Dr. Ford’s plea for privacy was brushed aside. A predictable media circus was launched. Of course, the questionable and concerning handling of this matter didn’t stop there.
“In her testimony, Dr. Ford seemed surprised that Chairman Grassley had offered her legal team a number of more discreet and less burdensome ways to share her story if she preferred. The Chairman had offered to fly investigators to California, or anywhere else, for a private interview at a time and place of Dr. Ford’s choosing. But apparently, neither our Democratic colleagues nor the lawyers they recommended felt it was necessary to make these options clear to Dr. Ford. She told the committee last week, quote, ‘I wasn’t clear on what the offer was…[I would have] been happy to speak with you out there...it wasn’t clear to me that was the case.’
“So, let’s take stock of all this. The ranking member withheld serious allegations from Committee colleagues, precluding any chance that they be handled with sensitivity and discretion. Meanwhile, her staff made recommendations that the accuser retain specific, politically-connected counsel. Then, her confidential account reached the media faster than it reached either the chairman of the Committee or the FBI, which our colleagues have been insisting must look into it.
“And finally, we have reason to believe that Dr. Ford was not even apprised of the Chairman’s offers to collect her testimony in ways that might have been less likely to create a media circus and less burdensome on her. It’s almost as if Dr. Ford didn’t want a Washington D.C.-based media circus -- but others with whom she was in contact, and on whom she was relying, wanted exactly that.
“So we have learned that, if you confide in Senate Democrats on a highly sensitive personal matter, no request for confidentiality will keep you from becoming a household name. And if you’re a nominee whose judicial philosophy Senate Democrats deem to be objectionable, no centuries-old standard of presumed innocence will protect your name, your family, or your reputation from irreparable damage.
“Fortunately, Chairman Grassley has taken action to clean up this mess. Last Thursday, he supervised a professional and respectful hearing. He retained an experienced sex crimes prosecutor to methodically collect the details of Dr. Ford’s recollections. This is a professional who was recognized as ‘Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year’ by former Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano -- a former cabinet secretary of President Obama, and herself a member of Anita Hill’s legal team in 1991.
“Here’s what she wrote in her memo to members following the hearing:
“Quote: ‘A “he said, she said” case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that…’
“Quote: ‘Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegation or failed to corroborate them...’
“Quote: ‘I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I think that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.’ That is a lower standard.
“Will our Democratic colleagues listen to this expert opinion, although it conflicts with their political mission? Don’t hold your breath. Nor am I optimistic they will stay consistent and accept the conclusions of the supplemental background investigation the FBI is now conducting, on top of its six prior investigations of Judge Kavanaugh. Democrats demanded this supplemental investigation. They proclaimed it would be a game-changer.
“The Democratic Leader and the ranking Democrat on the Committee both said recently that an FBI investigation can be completed in less than a week. But I’d bet almost anything that -- after it runs its course in the next few days -- we will then be treated to a lecture that anything short of a totally unbounded fishing expedition of indefinite duration is too limited, or too arbitrary, or somehow insufficient. We all know that’s coming.
“If you listen carefully, you can practically hear the sounds of the Democrats moving the goalposts. Remember back in the summer? Democrats said there weren’t enough documents to get a good sense of Judge Kavanaugh’s career. Then we heard there were too many documents. Then, once Dr. Ford’s private allegation was mysteriously made public, we couldn’t possibly move forward until we heard from them both.
“Then, after neither the hearing nor the statements of supposed witnesses yielded any corroborating evidence -- and, in fact, produced evidence that supported Judge Kavanaugh -- we were told only an FBI investigation would resolve this, and that it could be done promptly. Well, let me go way out on a limb. Let me make a small prediction. Soon enough, the goalposts will be on the move once again. I would respectfully say to my colleagues: Do these actions suggest this has ever been about finding the truth? Does anybody believe that? Do these actions suggest this has ever been about giving Judge Kavanaugh a fair hearing?
“This institution has seen before episodes somewhat like what we’re now seeing from some of our colleagues across the aisle. Back during the McCarthy Era in 1950, character assassination and uncorroborated allegations were being utilized in a very different debate in that era. That’s when a distinguished Senator from Maine named Margaret Chase Smith -- an icon from the great state of our colleague Senator Collins -- took to the Senate floor to say enough was enough.
“She gave a speech that guaranteed she’d be in the history of the Senate. She titled it her ‘Declaration of Conscience.’ Here’s what she said: ‘I do not like the way in which the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity.’ Margaret Chase Smith went on: ‘Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or a character prosecution in the Senate, there is little practical distinction when the life of a person has been ruined.’ We should listen to these words. They speak as loudly today as they did 68 years ago.
“In my judgment, the pattern of behavior we have seen confirms what Democrats’ own public statements have told us: They are committed to delaying, obstructing, and resisting this nomination with everything they’ve got. They just want to delay this matter past the election. That’s not my supposition. That’s their plan, according to another Democratic Member of the Judiciary Committee, the junior Senator from Hawaii.
“So soon, I expect, we’ll hear that the conclusions of the expert prosecutor who questioned both witnesses at last week’s hearing aren’t reliable. Or that the FBI’s investigation was not infinite or endless enough for their liking. Maybe we’ll hear that the real issue is not these uncorroborated allegations of misconduct, after all. But rather the fact that Judge Kavanaugh – now listen to this – drank beer in high school and college. Or the fact that he was rightfully angry – who wouldn’t be – that his good name and his family have been dragged through the mud with a campaign of character assassination based on allegations that lack any corroboration. Who wouldn’t be angry about that?
“Their goalposts keep shifting -- but their goal has not moved an inch. The goal’s been the same all along. And so the time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close. Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is out of Committee. We are considering it here on the floor. And we’ll be voting this week.”
Related Issues: Supreme Court, Nominations, Senate Democrats, Judicial Nominations