Washington, D.C., USA : Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken a key procedural step to begin voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The Republican leader filed a motion setting up a Friday vote on whether to limit debate on Kavanaugh and move forward.
A simple majority of 51 votes will be needed for Kavanaugh’s nomination to advance. A final vote could come Saturday.
The FBI will deliver its report on s****l assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh by late Wednesday or early Thursday.
The FBI has:
- Not interviewed Brett Kavanaugh
- Not interviewed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
- Not responded to Ford’s lawyers’ offer of more evidence and witnesses
Senators delayed a vote on Kavanaugh so the FBI could conduct a background investigation into the allegations of s****l misconduct against him. Kavanaugh denies the allegations. The Senate Judiciary Committee expected to receive the report from the FBI Wednesday evening.
A handful of Republicans and Democrats have not decided whether to support Kavanaugh. Their votes will likely decide whether he is confirmed.
All 100 senators, and a handful of Senate staff, will be able to read the FBI’s new report on s****l misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh once it’s sent to Congress. But it’s unclear if the public will see it.
Background checks are routine in a nominee’s vetting process and are generally delivered to the Senate without much fanfare. This background check is different, requested by a trio of senators who are undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
It’s expected that many senators will want to read or be briefed on the supplemental background check, which the Senate is expected to receive no later than Thursday.
To guard the sensitive information, the FBI’s report is expected to be held in a secure room normally reserved only for classified matters.
Close to 1,000 law professors across the country have signed a letter to the U.S. Senate stating that Brett Kavanaugh lacks the “judicial temperament” necessary for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We regret that we feel compelled to write to you to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Thursday, September 27, 2018, the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land,” the letter reads (see letter below).
The list of signatories is growing by the hour, and organizers plan to send the letter to senators on Thursday. As of Wednesday morning, 907 professors from 154 law schools had signed on. They included University of California, Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky; former Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow; legal ethics expert and Stanford Law professor Deborah Rhode; and multiple professors from Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, and Harvard Law School, where the nominee has taught a winter course for a decade. (Kavanaugh announced Monday that he will not teach at Harvard Law this January as planned, after student and alumni protests.) Other signers include City University of New York School of Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek; Georgetown University Law Center professor Deborah Epstein; five professors from the University of Texas School of Law; and at least 14 members of the University of Miami School of Law faculty.
A separate group of 660 female law professors are also planning to send their own letter (also see letter below ) to the the Senate Thursday, arguing that Kavanaugh cannot be impartial and that he was especially condescending toward women senators during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions, and for women in positions of power in particular, revealed that he does not have the requisite judicial temperament,” reads the letter from the female professors. “We would never allow our students to engage in such conduct even in mock proceedings or the classroom.”
“I signed it because I agreed with its content,” said Ruth Colker, a professor at Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law who signed both letters. “I watched every minute of the hearing, except the last 45 minutes, and I was expecting him to sound more like Neil Gorsuch. I was expecting him to do the judicial temperament dance, like a judge. I was listing to his opening remarks, which were scripted, and when he started talking about conspiracies and the Clintons, I thought, ‘Huh?’”
The professors’ letter argues that Kavanaugh “exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry.” He interrupted his questioners on the Senate Judiciary Committee and was aggressive toward them, according to the letter. The letter goes on to cite statutes governing judicial bias and recusals, calling impartiality the “cornerstone of the courts.”
“We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh,” the letter reads. “But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that Judge Kavanaugh did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.”
Colker said she thinks legal educators have a responsibility to weigh in on matters pertaining to the credibility of the judiciary. Whether or not senators will listen is an open question, she noted.
“All eyes are obviously on about four people,” Colker said, in reference to a handful of senators who say they are undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “It’s hard to know what will be the tipping point for those four individuals. I would hope they would take seriously this statement from such a large number of law professors from different political persuasions. I could imagine this will be one factor among many someone would care about”
Kavanaugh is accused of s******y assaulting a woman decades ago when the two were in high school. He has steadfastly denied it.
The National Council of Churches, which represents churches attended by 40 million people, say Brett Kavanaugh “disqualified himself” by showing partisan bias at his Senate hearing and wants him to withdraw his nomination.
A group representing 100,000 congregations and 45 million churchgoers across an array of Christian denominations in the U.S. has called for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be withdrawn.
The National Council of Churches statement said, “Judge Kavanaugh exhibited extreme partisan bias and disrespect towards certain members of the committee and thereby demonstrated that he possesses neither the temperament nor the character essential for a member of the highest court in our nation.” The statement also alleged misstatements and “outright falsehoods” in his testimony.
A later addition to the statement, as reported by the Religious News Service, added a call for a full and “unhindered investigation into allegations of s****l assault.”
Only the president or Kavanaugh himself could withdraw the nomination, while the Senate could reject him in the confirmation process by a majority vote. The confirmation could also never be brought to a vote, though that’s an unlikely outcome.
The National Council of Churches represents congregations across 40 denominations, including most of the major Protestant and Eastern Orthodox divisions of faith. It has a statement of creed that advances social policy, such as equal rights, worker protection, just immigration, and multilateral diplomacy.
The organization also cited an array of policy differences it believes Kavanaugh is on the wrong side of, including many progressive issues, such as climate change, voting rights, and “racial and gender justice.” These same positions are favored by many conservatives, especially the majority of Senate Republicans.
Three women have accused Kavanaugh of s****l misconduct during the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the claims.
Progressive and women’s groups coordinated 300 candlelit vigils that took place across the U.S. on Wednesday night to demonstrate opposition to President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
The vigils, attended by thousands nationwide, began early Wednesday evening in states including California, Alaska, Arizona and more. Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
“Kavanaugh has shown that he is hostile to women,” wrote Move On, one of the groups behind the vigils, on the event page. “From his record against women’s health and autonomy to his record against workplace protections to the s****l assault allegations against him to the anger he displayed to female U.S. senators.
“Now is the time for all of us to come together and tell our senators to believe women and stop Kavanaugh this week—and to show the country that women, and all of us, will hold Republicans accountable on November 6,” the event page reads.
Demonstrators at the Supreme Court vigil called on senators to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination, not only because of the multiple s****l misconduct allegations against him, but also because of his judicial record on abortion and immigration rights.
Protesters throughout the night broke into chants of “vote him down!” and “believe survivors!” as activists associated with causes including disability and immigrant rights gave impassioned speeches.
Speakers directed their ire toward the senators who remain swing votes in the battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, calling on them to vote “no” or face repercussions at the ballot box in November’s midterm elections and in those after.
Women’s and progressive groups have been staging demonstrations across the country since Christine Blasey Ford went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her during a high school party in 1982.
The groups have rallied around Ford, as well as Deborah Ramirez, who publicly accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a Yale University gathering in the 1980s, and Julie Swetnick, who has alleged Kavanaugh harassed and groped girls in high school. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations against him.
Opinion The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh. Signed, 650+ Law Professors (and Counting).
“The following letter will be presented to the United States Senate on Oct. 4. It will be updated as more signatures are received.
Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As the Congressional Research Service explains, a judge requires “a personality that is even-handed, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm, and dedicated to a process, not a result.” The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding; in Federalist 78, titled “Judges as Guardians of the Constitution,” Alexander Hamilton expressed the need for “the integrity and moderation of the judiciary.”
We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court, and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court. We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.
The question at issue was of course painful for anyone. But Judge Kavanaugh exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was repeatedly aggressive with questioners. Even in his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh described the hearing as partisan, referring to it as “a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” rather than acknowledging the need for the Senate, faced with new information, to try to understand what had transpired. Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators.
As you know, under two statutes governing bias and recusal, judges must step aside if they are at risk of being perceived as or of being unfair. As Congress has previously put it, a judge or justice “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” These statutes are part of a myriad of legal commitments to the impartiality of the judiciary, which is the cornerstone of the courts.
We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.
Signed, with institutional affiliation listed for identification purposes only, by the following:……”
Letter from separate group of 660 female law professors to senate
Dear Senators, We are a non-partisan group of women law faculty from across the nation charged with training our students to become ethical lawyers and leaders of the bar. We believe in and embrace the Supreme Court and all that it represents judicial independence, fair-mindedness, and justice and equality under the law. On a daily basis, we teach our students about the importance of the rule of law, impartiality on the part of judges in the United States’ legal system, and professionalism as a mandate for attorneys and judges.
Judicial professionalism is not an abstract ideal. At a minimum, judicial professionalism includes respecting and listening to parties who come before the bench, exercising honesty and integrity, and the ability to control one’s temper. The ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct and the Code of Conduct for United States Judges give guidance to judges on how to perform their duties with impartiality and integrity. These characteristics are the building blocks of a fair and just legal system. They were, however, absent from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s opening statement and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 28, 2018. We are deeply concerned that if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will fail to perform his duties in a manner befitting our highest Court. For these reasons, we urge you to vote against Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Canon 2 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges requires that “[a] judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” Manifestations of bias or prejudice with respect to gender and political affiliation are inconsistent with Canon 2.
Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated disrespect towards Democratic senators vested with the constitutional authority to assess his ability to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. He continually interrupted, speaking in a tone that was inappropriate given the seriousness of the proceedings. His condescension was especially evident in his responses to the questions of women senators. One of the worst instances of such behavior was exhibited when Senator Amy Klobuchar asked the Judge whether his drinking meant that he could not remember events. He responded, “You’re asking about blackout. I don’t know, have you?”
Judge Kavanaugh’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions, and for women in positions of power in particular, revealed that he does not have the requisite judicial temperament. We would never allow our students to engage in such conduct even in mock proceedings or the classroom. If the venue for Judge Kavanaugh’s conduct had been a courtroom, a judge might have found him in contempt.
Many of us have participated on search committees for faculty members, deans, provosts, university presidents, and other positions. If job candidates refused to answer probative questions and side-stepped with stock answers about their pedigrees and accomplishments, their behavior would leave us with serious questions about their honesty and credibility.
We are not alone in our assessment of Judge Kavanaugh. Although the Judge has cited the ABA’s endorsement of his nomination in 2006, the ABA actually downgraded the Judge from wellqualified to simply qualified, in part, because of his temperament and concerns about his “ability to be balanced and fair.”
We doubt that Judge Kavanaugh can be impartial. In his lengthy opening remarks during the Senate hearing, he stated:
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record. Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.
For over two centuries, Supreme Court justices have set aside their political views to evaluate claims and render rulings that advance the rule of law and reflect changes in our society. Judge Kavanaugh’s pointed remarks suggest he does not have the capacity to give fair consideration to all cases.
We urge you to reject Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Judge Kavanaugh has shown that he is unable to respect women in positions of power, manifests bias with respect to gender and political affiliation, does not meet basic standards of professionalism, and lacks independence, impartiality, and judicial temperament.