A Democratic senator on Saturday called for the Senate to delay a confirmation vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, after a woman accused Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault in high school.
Also on Saturday, a Washington Post editor who covered the controversial 1991 Senate hearings when then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual misconduct called for “the fullest possible airing” of the accusation targeting Kavanaugh if the accuser is willing to come forward.
Sunday afternoon, a professor at Palo Alto University in California was revealed as the woman making the accusation. Christine Blasey Ford related the details of the alleged assault in an interview with The Washington Post.
A woman who had asked to remain anonymous accused Kavanaugh of locking her in a room and allegedly attempting to force himself on her at a party while they were both in high school in the Washington area, The New Yorker reported Friday. The woman had earlier sent a letter making her accusation to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who after a delay referred the matter to the FBI.
Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied the allegation.
Durbin tweeted that the Me Too Movement has “taught us” to “respect and listen to survivors of sexual assault, regardless of the age of those involved or when the alleged attack took place.”
Durbin also complained about other aspects of the confirmation process, including “misleading or inaccurate answers” by Kavanaugh during Judiciary Committee hearings, and that Republicans continued to keep under wraps various documents relating to Kavanaugh’s work as staff secretary to former President George W. Bush.
Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus invoked the sexual misconduct charge Anita Hill lodged against Thomas in a Saturday opinion piece that called for a thorough vetting of the allegations against Kavanaugh — but only if his accuser is willing to testify. If so, both she and Kavanaugh should be interviewed by the FBI and then by the Judiciary Committee, Marcus wrote.
“Speed is not of the essence for a lifetime appointment this consequential. Getting at the truth, as best and imperfectly as it can be ascertained, is,” Marcus concluded.
In a close Senate vote in October 1991, Thomas won confirmation to the court despite Hill’s allegations. He remains on the court.
A Washington Post editorial also called for a delay on the committee vote on Kavanaugh — not because of the accusation against him but because of the documents related to Kavanaugh’s work as a White House staff secretary that remain secret.
“Voting should be postponed until after a fair assessment of the files by a nonpartisan entity produces germane documents to release to the Senate,” the editorial urged.
This story has been updated with Kavanaugh’s accuser revealing her identity.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story had the wrong last name for Clarence Thomas.