- Justice Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2018 after a highly contentious confirmation process.
- Progressive groups, some media and activists warned that Kavanaugh was the fifth vote needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, but those warnings have not come to fruition.
- Now, as President Donald Trump weighs who will fill the Supreme Court vacancy, another confirmation process looms before the nation — one that could put Roe v. Wade in a more perilous situation than before.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation sparked massive backlash across the United States in an 89-day confirmation process fraught with sexual assault allegations, anxiety over his stances on Roe v. Wade, and more.
When Kavanaugh replaced former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy after a highly contentious confirmation process in September 2018, many progressive groups, some members of the press, and activists expressed fears that Kavanaugh was the fifth vote needed to overturn Roe v. Wade.
These warnings didn’t come to fruition when the Supreme Court struck down a law in June that would have significantly restricted abortion access.
As President Donald Trump weighs federal judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another confirmation process looms before the nation — one that will put Roe v. Wade in a more perilous situation than before.
It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 9, 2020
July 9, 2018: Trump Nominates Kavanaugh
President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court on July 9, 2018, the New York Times reported, calling Kavanaugh “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds in our time.”
Democratic lawmakers quickly expressed their dissatisfaction with this choice — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to “oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,” according to the Times. Liberal pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood were quick to condemn Kavanaugh.
September 4, 2018 – Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings Begin
Senators on the Judiciary Committee questioned Kavanaugh minutely on his past career during the first day of the Kavanaugh hearings, according to the Times. Screaming protestors who disrupted the hearings were removed by Capitol Police, who reportedly arrested 70 people that day.
Democratic lawmakers sought to portray Kavanaugh as partisan and narrow-minded, the publication reported, and Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn accused Democrats of partaking in “mob rule” in their attacks on Kavanaugh.
“I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge,” Kavanaugh told the committee, according to the Times. “I’m not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”
September 6, 2018 – Public Questioning Of Kavanaugh Concludes
The initial Kavanaugh hearings came to an end Sept. 6, 2018, according to CBS. During the third day of hearings, Kavanaugh declined to answer a number of political questions put to him by Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, and several others.
“I do not vote in political elections,” Kavanaugh told the lawmakers, CBS reported.
Republican South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham condemned Democratic grandstanding during the confirmation process, the publication reported, saying: “Circuses are entertaining and you can take children to them, this hearing is neither entertaining nor appropriate for young people. Most Americans after this process will have a dimmer view of the Senate.”
What you do matters.
What you say matters.
No matter how big the fight
Or inevitable the conclusion seems
Wrong, temporarily victorious
Is never greater than Right, forever vigilant.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 6, 2018
September 12, 2018 – Intercept Reports Sexual Assault Allegations
The Intercept reported Sept. 12, 2018, that Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was in possession of a letter that reportedly contained information regarding Kavanaugh, a woman, and an incident that took place in high school. Feinstein announced she had referred the matter to “federal investigative authorities” on Sept. 13, 2018.
The New Yorker also reported September 14 that an unnamed woman had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations in a statement released by the White House.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation,” Kavanaugh said. “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
September 16, 2018 – Washington Post Runs Blasey Ford Allegations
Research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford went public with her allegations against Kavanaugh on Sept. 16, 2018. She told the Washington Post that a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh and his Georgetown Preparatory School friend, Mark Judge, pushed her into a bedroom during a party in Montgomery County in the early 1980s.
Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to the bed, groping her over her clothes, grinding her, and attempting to remove her one piece bathing suit and clothing while his friend watched, the Post reported. She says she escaped after Judge jumped on them both, locking herself in the bathroom before she fled.
She said she did not tell anyone about the incident until 2012 when she mentioned in therapy with her husband that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who would become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.”
She did not mention Kavanaugh’s name in her therapy notes, the Post reported, and the therapy notes said that four boys were involved in the attack. Ford told the publication that this was the therapist’s error, and that there were four boys at the party but two boys involved in her alleged attack.
September 17, 2018 – Kavanaugh Denies Allegations
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a September 17 statement. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” he added.
Judge, the friend who Blasey Ford named, also denied the allegations. Ford had also said that Patrick J. Smyth, known in high school as “PJ,” was present at the party. Smyth denied any knowledge of the party or allegations against Kavanaugh in a Sept. 19, 2018 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
September 18, 2018 – Ford’s Lawyers Demand An FBI Investigation
Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks called for an FBI investigation to be conducted in a September 18 letter sent to Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Feinstein.
“While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident,” the letter said.
“While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials,” the letter continued. “As the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations.”
President Trump defended Kavanaugh in the wake of Ford’s sexual assault allegations.
“This is is not a man who deserves this,” Trump said, according to CNN, adding that the allegations “should’ve been brought up long ago.”
The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President. I hope Republican Voters, and others, are watching, and studying, the Democrats Playbook.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2018
September 22, 2018 – Ford Agrees To Testify, Second Kavanaugh Accuser Comes Forward
Ford’s lawyers announced September 22, 2018, that Ford would testify before Senate Judiciary Committee, the Atlantic reported.
“Dr. Ford accepts the committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” Katz and Banks said in a statement, according to the publication.
On Sept. 23, the New Yorker reported that Deborah Ramirez had accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly thrusting his genitals in her face at a college party while they were both attending Yale University. The New Yorker first contacted Ramirez after the publication learned through senate Democrats that she had potentially been involved in an incident with Kavanaugh.
Ramirez initially was reluctant to speak of the incident with certainty, the New Yorker reported, but called for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s conduct after six days of “carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.”
Kavanaugh denied Ramirez’s allegations. The New Yorker did not confirm the incident with any eyewitnesses.
September 26, 2018 – Michael Avenatti Client Accuses Kavanaugh
Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, who formerly represented porn star Stormy Daniels, announced September 26 that his client Julie Swetnik accused Kavanaugh and one of his friends of spiking girls drinks with alcohol in the 1980s at parties, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
“I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh,” Swetnik said.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations, calling them “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”
“I don’t know who this is and this never happened,” Kavanaugh said in a White House statement.
September 27, 2018 – Kavanaugh Hearings Begin Again
During televised hearings, both Kavanaugh and Ford came to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford tearfully described the alleged assault, the New York Times reported, and Kavanaugh emotionally denied it.
“I believed he was going to rape me,” Ford said, adding, “It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was going to accidentally kill me.”
“I am innocent of this charge,” Kavanaugh said.
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” he added. “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy.’”
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the hearing “one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the United States Senate.”
“His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting,” Trump tweeted following the hearings, which he watched on Air Force One, according to the Times. He also praised Kavanaugh’s conduct, saying that Kavanaugh “showed America exactly why I nominated him.”
September 28, 2018 – Trump Calls For FBI Investigation
Trump ordered the FBI to reopen its background investigation in to Kavanaugh on September 28, 2018, the Times reported, after Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said he wouldn’t vote to confirm Kavanaugh without an FBI investigation.
“We ought to do what we can to make sure we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Flake said, according to the Times. “This country is being ripped apart here.”
October 4 – White House Sends FBI Investigation Results To Senate
The White House sent the results of the FBI’s investigation to the senate on October 4, 2018. Senators were given the opportunity to view the report from a secure location in the U.S. Capitol, and the White House expressed full confidence that Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“With Leader McConnell’s cloture filing, Senators have been given ample time to review this seventh background investigation,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement. “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents.”
October 5 – Senate Votes To Confirm Kavanaugh To The Supreme Court
Senators voted to confirm Kavanaugh Oct. 5, 2018. Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to break with her party — her vote was recorded as “present” rather than “no,” according to the Times, out of an agreement with Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who would have voted yes but was attending his daughter’s wedding.
Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy in a private ceremony, the Times reported.
“He’s going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court justice for many years,” Trump told reporters as he watched the swearing in on Air Force One, the Times reported.
November 4 – Senate Judiciary Committee Finds No Evidence Of Sexual Assault
On November 4, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a final report on the investigations into Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct, announcing that it found “no evidence” to corroborate the claims against him.
“After an extensive investigation that included the thorough review of all potentially credible evidence submitted and interviews of more than 40 individuals with information relating to the allegations, including classmates and friends of all those involved, Committee investigators found no witness who could provide any verifiable evidence to support any of the allegations brought against Justice Kavanaugh,” the 414-page report says.
April 2019 – Katz Suggests Ford Acted Partially Out Of Fear For Roe v. Wade
Exclusive video footage obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation in September 2019 showed Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, saying that putting “an asterisk next to” Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s name before “he takes a scalpel” to Roe v. Wade was “part of what motivated” Ford to speak out.
Katz spoke at the University of Baltimore’s 11th Feminist Legal Theory Conference, “Applied Feminism and #MeToo” in April 2019, where she said: “In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court.”
“He will always have an asterisk next to his name,” Katz continued. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”
The video was first reported by Ryan Lovelace in his book, “Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh.” Lovelace told the DCNF that it calls into question everything that Ford and Katz have previously said — and that if this information was known during the September hearings, there might have been different questions and different results.
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