Senator Jeff Flake announced this morning that he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next Justice of the Supreme Court. Flake (Rep., AZ) is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who heard testimony yesterday from Kavanaugh and the woman who claims he sexually assaulted her.
Flake’s Reasons for Supporting Kavanaugh
Flake stated that he did not find Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony compelling. He said that Kavanaugh deserved the “presumption of innocence … absent corroborating evidence.”
Flake added, “While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the Constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well. I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
Other Reactions to Yesterday’s Hearing
After Flake announced that he would support Kavanaugh, and the committee set their vote for this afternoon, some of the Democratic members walked out.
But even some organizations that had previously endorsed Kavanaugh are now withdrawing their support. The American Bar Association asked the committee to delay the vote until the FBI did a complete background check on Kavanaugh.
Though a Catholic himself, Kavanaugh lost the support of the Jesuit magazine America. The editors of America wrote, “If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault. Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.”
Response from the White House
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, “His testimony was powerful, honest and riveting. The Senate must vote!”
Trump has refused to order another background check on Kavanaugh. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued that it wasn’t needed. She said that Kavanaugh has already “been through six separate background investigations by the FBI.”
Ford accused Kavanaugh of groping her at a high school party. She said she believed he was going to rape her. In the hearing yesterday, Kavanaugh admitted, “Sometimes I had too many beers. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I never drank beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone. ”
He also stated that he was open to another background investigation.
What Happens Next?
The committee will vote this afternoon to recommend Kavanaugh for confirmation to the full Senate. If the committee vote passes, the Senate will vote to confirm him. If the majority votes in favor, Kavanaugh will become the next Supreme Court Justice.