Thursday, September 27, 2018

▷ Senate Judiciary Committee sets Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh ✅

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) scheduled on Tuesday a committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for Friday morning.

The vote will come just a day after a Senate hearing on Thursday during which Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago, testified.

Republican schedule Kavanaugh committee vote

Democrats including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) criticized the Republicans for scheduling the vote only a day after Ford’s testimony, even though they met a three-day deadline to schedule the vote.

“For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” Feinstein said.

Grassley defended the move in a tweet, writing: “Still taking this 1 step at a time. After [hearing] Dr[.] Ford & Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony — if we’re ready to vote, we will vote. If we aren’t ready, we won’t. [Committee] rules normally require 3 days notice so we’re following regular order.”

The Friday vote will come after days of bitter partisan acrimony that saw an original committee vote last Thursday get scrapped after Ford’s allegations emerged. Republicans and Democrats have battled over the allegations and the terms of the hearing, with Republicans delaying a hearing planned for Monday further after demands from Democrats.

Republicans have criticized the Democrats for delaying the process. President Donald Trump denounced their handling of the allegations as a “con job” in the days leading up to this week’s Thursday hearing.

Hearing casts a shadow on vote

Republicans had hoped to get Kavanaugh confirmed before the next Supreme Court term begins on Monday, Oct. 1, although the odds of that happening now are uncertain. McConnell is determined to keep the Senate in order over the weekend if necessary to push Kavanaugh through.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised a final vote on Kavanaugh next week. With a slim 51-vote majority, Republicans can’t afford to lose many votes.

While a committee vote is not necessary to recommend Kavanaugh to the full Senate floor, the hearing will bear heavily on his hopes of being confirmed to the court. Key Republican swing votes, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is a committee member, have all said that Ford’s testimony would influence their decision.

“I’m confident we’re going to win,” McConnell said. “I’m confident that he will be confirmed in the very near future.”

Republicans hired a woman attorney from Arizona, Rachel Mitchell, to question Ford on behalf of the committee’s 11 Republican members, all men, in what many saw as an optical decision to protect the party’s image. Democrats mocked the move, suggesting that Republicans were afraid to ask Ford questions themselves.

If Kavanaugh’s nomination falls apart, Republicans would have until the end of the lame-duck session in December to push another nominee through. If the committee votes to recommend Kavanaugh on Friday, then the Senate could vote to confirm him as early as Monday.

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