With the continuing saga surrounding the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh escalating into high drama in recent days, it appears that congressional Democrats have no interest in allowing his confirmation to go forward — at least so long as the allegations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remain on the table.
According to Fox News, several Democratic congressmen elucidated the party position a bit further, stating that should the Republicans proceed with the confirmation vote before the allegations surrounding Dr. Ford’s claims are settled to their satisfaction, they will push for their own investigations and even consider impeachment should they gain the power to do so.
The Republicans, lead in this matter by Chairman of the Congressional Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley, have invited Dr. Ford to testify in front of Congress a number of times. Each time, Dr. Ford’s legal counsel has declined the invitation, demanding further extensions so that her client might “make her decision.” In an earlier CNN segment detailed by ABC News, Dr. Ford’s friend — Kate Devarney — alleges that Ford’s fear of flying prevents her from making an expedited trip to testify in the nation’s capital and that commercial airliners represent “the ultimate closed space where you cannot get away.”
Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 22, 2018
With conservative commentators seemingly taking the position that Dr. Ford has no intention of testifying, and that this entire affair seems to be conveniently timed in terms of political power-play and left-leaning critics calling for a full FBI investigation of the 36-year-old sexual assault claims, it appears that neither side has much common ground to work with.
Democratic officials such as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse have said to CNN that their planned reaction to the Republican nominee, should he be confirmed, will be one of immediate legislative and investigative reprisal.
“This is such bad practice that even if they were to ram this guy through, as soon as Democrats get gavels we’re going to want to get to the bottom of this.”
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell went a step further in an interview with Fox News, making it clear that impeachment was also an option to be considered should the Republicans proceed with their planned confirmation vote in advance of November’s midterms.
“If the Republicans rush through a nominee where you have unanswered sexual assault allegations, I can promise you that Democratic senators will be interested in going and looking at those allegations, and if Judge Kavanaugh lied under oath, you could see a judicial impeachment, and that’s not good for anybody, so we should try and avoid that.”
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) September 22, 2018
Making his threat very clear, Swalwell implies that the Democrats will not take any successful nomination of Judge Kavanaugh lying down. It appears, however, that the threat may actually lack teeth in practice.
As Ronald Krotoszynski Jr., Professor at University of Alabama School of Law, details for The New York Times — even if the Democrats do win big during the midterm elections, they will still lack the two-thirds majority required to enact impeachment proceedings against a confirmed Supreme Court Justice.
The plot becomes murkier, as two key witnesses named by Dr. Ford as having been present for the alleged sexual assault both deny her version of events, according to CNN. Patrick J. Smyth, the first named witness, states that he was never at any party meeting the description provided by Ford, and had both previously and subsequently endorsed Judge Kavanaugh as a man of principle and integrity.
The second named witness, Mark Judge, also denies that the incident took place. Both Judge and Smyth were friends with Kavanaugh during high school, which is when Dr. Ford alleges that the sexual assault occurred.