A coalition of women from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to suspend any confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until an investigation is completed into claims of sexual misconduct.
The Mormon Women for Ethical Government, which identified itself as a nonpartisan group comprising about 6,000 members, directed its message at every member of the judiciary panel but specifically called on the four Mormons on the committee, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho.)
“Our mutual faith teaches that any sexual abuse or assault in any context is contemptible and worthy of the most severe condemnation,” the group said in a statement. “If these accusations are proved false, an investigation will prevent harm to the court’s legitimacy. If they are true, then Judge Kavanaugh must not be confirmed.”
Several of the group’s leaders furthered that call in an open letter published later Tuesday, in which they said recent allegations by two of Kavanaugh’s former classmates were “serious ― no matter when they happened.”
Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford accused the nominee of pinning her to bed and trying to remove her clothes when they were both at a party during their high school years. A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forward Sunday and alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his penis in her face at a party when they both attended Yale University. Both have asked for an FBI investigation into their claims.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations.
“Such allegations must be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated,” Tuesday’s letter reads. “If we brush them aside, or minimize them, or excuse them away because ‘he was young’ or ‘he was drunk,’ we are sending an appalling and incredibly damaging message to both the young women AND the young men of our country.”
Sharlee Mullins Glenn, the group’s founder and president, told The New York Times that none of the four senators has responded to the letter.
Some of the lawmakers the group is targeting have been staunch defenders of Kavanaugh throughout the mounting allegations, including Hatch, who recently accused Democrats of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against the nominee. The Utah senator slammed the party this week, saying: “No innuendo has been too low, no insinuation too dirty. Everything is an excuse for delay, no matter how unsubstantiated.”
Blasey is expected to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and the all-male contingent of GOP lawmakers has hired a female sex crimes prosecutor to question Blasey. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for the following day at 9:30 a.m.
That decision has prompted condemnation, including from the group of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
“Stop pushing forward despite the clear objections of Dr. Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and millions of other women across the country,” the group wrote Tuesday. “Women comprise half of your constituents. If you truly respect women, then demonstrate it by honoring our requests to go slowly here. The appalling audacity of some of your colleagues in declaring their intention to simply take this seat with or without the broad support of women everywhere is just as troubling as the allegations against Kavanaugh. In fact, the irony is chilling.”