Democratic senators flee committee to protest Kavanaugh vote
Some Democratic senators stormed out of the Judiciary Committee Friday morning after losing their latest bid to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, protesting what they called a “ram job” ahead of a vote later in the day.
Republicans appear to have the votes to push Judge Kavanaugh through the committee on a party-line vote, and they are moving to speed him to the Senate floor, saying Thursday’s testimony by Christine Blasey Ford alleging a sexual assault 36 years ago was compelling, but ultimately unsubstantiated.
Democrats had demanded that before any committee action senators should hear from a man Ms. Blasey Ford says was in the room for the assault. They tried to force the panel to subpoena that man, Mark Judge.
The committee rejected that on an 11-10 vote, then voted to set a time-certain later in the day for a final vote on the nomination.
At that point a number of the more junior Democratic senators conducted a walk out.
Ms. Blasey Ford told the committee a day before that she remembers Judge Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge pulling her into a room, turning up music and Judge Kavanaugh groping her and trying to strip off her clothes as he stifled her cries for help.
Judge Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegation, saying he doesn’t question that Ms. Blasey Ford suffered an assault but insisting he had nothing to do with it.
All of those Ms. Blasey Ford can remember from the party have denied any memory of an assault, or even of such a party.
Mr. Judge has submitted two declarations including one Thursday, after Ms. Blasey Ford’s testimony, elaborating on his denial.
“I do not recall the events described by Dr. Ford in her testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today. I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes,” he said.
As their colleagues debated inside the committee room, the Democrats who walked out held an impromptu press conference to complain about the GOP’s handling of the nomination.
“It’s been pushing and pushing and ramming this thing through because they have the power instead of the integrity to say let the American people know what’s about to happen,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat.