Democrats: Kavanaugh confirmation sends ‘terrible message’ to women

October 6, 2018 GMT

Democrats said Saturday that they hoped sexual assault survivors wouldn’t remain silent after the Supreme Court confirmation battle and blamed Republicans for sending the wrong message in confirming incoming Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

They also praised Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who came forward with allegations of a 36-year-old assault.

“Her testimony was extremely brave and I felt [it was] extremely credible and believable and it stands as such. It has never been refuted by anybody,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.

In fact, Ms. Blasey Ford’s account has been rebuffed by three people she says were at the party where she was assaulted. There has been no contemporaneous evidence or witness to back up her account.

But her compelling testimony last month became a touchstone for assault victims.

One of Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers, Debra Katz, watched the confirmation vote from the public viewing gallery Saturday.


She and the other lawyers on the team have complained about the Senate’s handling of her allegation, and about the FBI’s quick investigation into it. Agents did not find any corroboration, though Ms. Blasey Ford’s team says they didn’t talk to enough people.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, was in the Senate for Anita Hill’s testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas over sexual harassment in the early 1990s, and said the treatment of these latest allegations shows little has changed.

“It sends a terrible message, amplified by what Donald Trump and his statements deriding women, trying to shame women. Have they learned nothing?” Mr. Leahy told reporters.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the lone Republican to oppose the nomination, said Friday she’s afraid lawmakers aren’t doing enough for sexual assault survivors.

“I hope we have all learned something, that we owe it to the victims of sexual assault to do more and to do better and to do it with them,” she said.

Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, who shifted the tide in favor of confirmation, slammed critics who claimed Judge Kavanaugh must be rejected so that the Senate is not condoning sexual assault.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Every person, man or woman, who makes a charge of sexual assault deserves to be heard and treated with respect. The Me Too Movement is real. It matters. It is needed. And it is long overdue,” said Ms. Collins.