The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the Senate floor after multiple women accused him of sexual assault.
The news of the 11-10 vote on Friday, September 28, came as Sen. Jeff Flake said he would not support a final confirmation until the FBI investigates the allegations against Kavanaugh. He suggested that he will vote against the judge, 53, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves forward without a probe.
“This country is being ripped apart here,” Flake, 55, told the panel. “We’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence.”
Earlier in the day, the Republican Arizona senator said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, which led one activist to corner him in an elevator in a video that quickly went viral online.
The vote comes one day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford delivered an emotional three-hour testimony detailing her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh at a committee hearing. She said she is “100 percent” certain that he was the man who assaulted her at a high school party in the summer of 1982.
“Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life,” the psychology professor, 51, said. “I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me. I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one’s pawn.”
She continued, “My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed. It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.”
Ford was the first to publicly accuse the judge of sexual assault in a story published by The Washington Post on September 16. His Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez later claimed to The New Yorker that he drunkenly exposed himself and thrust his penis against her face at a party in 1983. Julie Swetnick then accused Kavanaugh of being present at a high school party where she was drugged and gang-raped, though she said he was not one of her attackers.
Kavanaugh has denied all of the allegations.
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