Christine Blasey Ford, the Stanford-affiliated Palo Alto professor accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, reportedly has yet to confirm she will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the panel’s Republican chairman.
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours three or four times by email and we have nor heard from them,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning. “So it kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not?”
Law professor Anita Hill, who testified in 1991 about alleged sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings, slammed the GOP for rushing the process. In an op-ed published Tuesday in the New York Times, she called the hasty scheduling “discouraging” and unlikely to result in a “meaningful inquiry.”
All 10 Democratic members of the 21-member Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee echoed Hill’s concerns in a joint statement Tuesday. Ford went public with her story just two days ago and Republicans scheduled a hearing for next Monday without even confirming her availability on that date, the committee’s ranking Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote in a news release signed by senators Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Christopher Coons, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
“Now, just two days after Dr. Blasey Ford shared her story with the public, Republicans are again rushing forward with a hearing within a week,” they wrote. “This time, they are doing so without demanding the FBI perform a background investigation like it did in 1991. As you know, the FBI is not being asked to perform a criminal investigation; rather it is being asked to do an evaluation of the allegations as part of its review of Judge Kavanaugh’s record. Like in 1991, this is an important step in providing the committee the facts. In this case, it is particularly important as there have been press reports about a polygraph test, medical records, and multiple witnesses.”
Further, they added, Republicans are only inviting Kavanagh and Ford to testify instead of inviting other relevant witnesses, including Mark Judge, who was identified by Ford as present at the time of the alleged assault.
“Chairman Grassley today said there would be only two witnesses invited to testify at the Kavanaugh hearing next week on sexual assault allegations,” Feinstein said in a separate statement Tuesday. “Compare that to the 22 witnesses at the 1991 Anita Hill hearing and it’s impossible to take this process seriously.”
Ford alleges that Kavanagh drunkenly held her down on a bed and attempted to take her clothes off when they were both in high school in the 1980s. She says Kavanagh’s friend, Judge, was in the room, too, and jumped on them both.
Kavanagh—President Donald Trump’s second pick for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court—denies the allegation. As does Judge. The Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Kavanagh’s confirmation this week until Ford went public with her accusation.