Committee vote rescheduled for Friday, testimony expected from accusers
Photo courtesy of The Atlantic | Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was stalled because of Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual misconduct when the two were in high school. While terms of testimony were being agreed upon, Deborah Ramirez also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
The vote to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was rescheduled for Friday amid sexual assault allegations from Christine Blasey Ford. More recently, Deborah Ramirez came forward also accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
Ford claimed that a 17-year-old Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school house party. Ford told the Washington Post Kavanaugh attempted to remove her clothing, pinned her to the bed and covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming. Ford said she felt as if Kavanaugh had almost accidentally killed her.
Ford believes she only escaped because Kavanaugh’s friend, identified as Mark Judge, playfully jumped on both of them, causing them to tumble and allowing her to escape. Ford said Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk.”
Ford is now 51 and a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California. Kavanaugh denied the allegations, stating “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Judge stated he has “no memory” of the incident ever occurring. All three attended Georgetown Preparatory High School. Kavanaugh’s classmates described it as an “alcohol-soaked party culture.”
More than 200 of Ford’s classmates from Holton-Arms School signed a letter to Congress supporting the allegations.
The letter stated that “Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with the stories we heard and lived while attending Holton” and that “many of us are survivors ourselves.”
On Sunday, Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh pulled his pants down and exposed himself to her.
Ramirez said the alleged incident occurred while they were both students at Yale University.
Both later graduated in 1987. Ramirez said ,though they were both drinking, she still remembers the incident and recalls feeling “embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.”
She also said she recalls Kavanaugh laughing and one student yelling out, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.” Kavanaugh said in an interview with Fox News on Monday, “What I know is the truth, and the truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”
Ramirez, who is now 53, is married and currently resides in Boulder, Colo. She works as a volunteer and is a board member of The Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, a nonprofit that provides help and support for victims in incidents of domestic violence.
“It is hard to comment on the allegations of sexual assault/rape. If such allegations are true, he obviously should not be confirmed,” criminal justice Professor Ronald Springman said. Springman is also the Chief Assistant Prosecutor at Hamilton County.
“In order to afford some due process, there should be some type of an investigation prior to a vote of the full Senate on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.”
Springman provided perspective on what may be said in future hearings in light of the allegations.
“Many argue that these allegations were not raised when he was nominated and confirmed as a Federal Appellate Judge. Also, some question why they were not raised at the beginning of the Senate Judiciary hearings instead of at the end of the proceedings,” Springman said.
“Thus, many believe that delaying the disclosure of these allegations was a delay tactic to thwart his nomination. The FBI conducted a thorough background check prior to the Senate Judiciary hearings, and the sexual assault allegation, from what I can tell, was not uncovered.”
However, Springman did reference his experience as a prosecutor and stated that “it is understandable that a victim may not come forward with these types of allegations until some time has passed.”
Kavanaugh is not the first nominee to be accused of sexual misconduct.
Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of the United States Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill during his nomination hearings in 1991. Hill is now a law professor at Brandeis University and worked with Thomas for a few years at the Department of Education.
Hill recalled Thomas speaking vividly and inappropriately, talking about “women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes.” Despite Hill’s testimony, Thomas was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 52-48.
Similarities have been drawn between both Hill and Ford. Both did not want to be recognized but eventually decided to reveal themselves after much conflict in deciding whether or not to do so.
President Donald Trump tweeted his response to the allegations, saying, “I have no doubt that if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed.”
The tweet sparked the viral hashtag #WhyIDidntReport in which victims of sexual assault tweeted and shared their stories explaining why they did not report instances when they were sexually assaulted.
Ford is expected to testify Thursday to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committe has also scheduled its vote on the nomination for Friday at 9:30 a.m. Republicans have selected Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question both Kavanaugh and Ford.
By: Jabari Turner | Guest Writer