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Oregon Democrats blast US Supreme Court nominee at rally

September 20, 2018
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Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., speaks at a rally and news conference Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, at a Planned Parenthood office in Portland, Ore., urging voters to insist on an investigation into decades-old allegations of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before moving forward. Backing Merkley are fellow Oregon Democrats, from right, Gov. Kate Brown, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown joined Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and some Democratic members of Oregon’s congressional delegation on Thursday to condemn U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and call for an independent investigation into decades-old allegations of sexual assault against him.

At a rally and news conference at a Planned Parenthood office in Portland, speakers — including U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer — told attendees that Kavanaugh’s successful nomination could also threaten a woman’s right to an abortion even in a liberal state like Oregon.

Kavanaugh has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor, of sexually assaulting Ford at a party in the 1980s in a Maryland suburb of Washington.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

The press conference came at the same time that a Ford attorney told the Judiciary Committee that her client would testify next week to the Senate about her accusation against Kavanaugh if agreement can be reached to “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

The message resurrected the possibility that the panel would hold a dramatic hearing at which both Ford and Kavanaugh could give their versions of what happened at the party when they were both high schoolers.

The allegation has shaken Kavanaugh’s prospects for winning Senate confirmation to be a justice, which until Ford’s emergence last week had seemed all but certain.

Wyden said the hearing was not enough and called for a formal investigation into Ford’s allegations.

“There are credible and serious allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and there needs to be a credible and serious process, rather than something where you just ram this thing through and then say, ‘Gee, I guess we’re too busy, for example, to even listen to witnesses!’” he said.

Both senators said they would not vote for Kavanaugh.

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