The Republicans who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee have begun narrowing their search for the right person to question Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser. According to The Daily Beast, the committee is now mindful of the optics of having an all-male panel question an alleged sexual assault victim. For the last week, the GOP has searched for someone, preferably female, who could question Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Now, it seems that the general consensus falls on their former colleague, former New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte.
As sources have confirmed, Ayotte is a strong candidate for the role of questioning Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in the 1980s. In addition to Ayotte’s former role in the Senate, she served as the Attorney General for the state of New Hampshire from 2004 to 2009. The former senator was also involved in Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s nomination being pushed through last year.
“There are a lot of pluses to her. She is sharp and talented,” said a source, when speaking with The Daily Beast. The source added that there have been some concerns about Ayotte’s former role as a Senator in the Republican party, feeling that she may not be able to remain impartial given that she belonged to the party that is currently pushing for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “She is a former senator, so not sure how that works.”
Ford’s lawyers have said that the person who questions her should be a senator, agreeing with Democratic members of the Senate who feel that “GOP lawmakers should have to stand by their skepticism of her account.” But after deliberation, Ford’s lawyers reached a deal with the committee and accepted the scheduled hearing Thursday, though they do not have the assurance of an outside counsel.
When asked about the selection for the hearing on Thursday, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said: “If my Republican colleagues don’t think that they can handle the challenge of respecting Dr. Ford, of questioning her in an appropriate and supportive way, then perhaps they shouldn’t be serving on the committee.”
The Democrats have announced that they plan to utilize Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), both of whom are former prosecutors who have handled sex crime cases.
There has been no word yet about whether or not Ayotte plans to accept the gig or of the Republicans will need to go back to the drawing board.