Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Friday defending his angry and partisan testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, blaming the “vicious allegations” of sexual misconduct made against him by three women for his “sharp” tone.
He also blamed his emotional state on the “unfairness” of being asked to account for his alleged conduct before being confirmed to a lifetime position.
Testifying “to defend my family, my good name and my lifetime of public service,” Kavanaugh detailed his decades of service as a lawyer, a judge and a basketball coach, claiming the allegations about his conduct in high school and college have been “ridiculously distorted.”
Defending his tone at the hearing, he said: “At times, my testimony — both in my opening statement and in response to questions — reflected my overwhelming frustration at being wrongly accused, without corroboration, of horrible conduct completely contrary to my record and character.”
Kavanaugh did not mention Dr. Christine Balsey Ford, the woman who accused him of pinning her to a bed in high school, groping her and covering her mouth to muffle her screams.
A day earlier, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a lifelong Republican, took the unprecedented step of revoking his backing for Kavanaugh, saying his heated performance at the hearing was disqualifying.
Three of Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmate’s — Charles Ludington, Lynne Brookes and Elizabeth Swisher — also called for a no vote in a Washington Post article with the headline “We were Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking buddies. We don’t think he should be confirmed.” The trio claim Kavanaugh lied to the Senate about never drinking to the point of blacking out.
Frustration about Kavanaugh’s pending confirmation erupted Thursday, with female activists descending on Washington to protests the nominee. Capital police confirmed the arrest of 302 women for illegally protesting inside Senate office buildings — among them comedian Amy Schumer and actress Emily Ratajkowski. The protests were held a year to the day from the start of the #MeToo movement.
Yet Kavanaugh’s drawn-out and highly emotional confirmation process is finally coming to an end.
The Senate will hold a procedural vote Friday to end the debate about the nomination, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expected to call for a final vote to take place on Saturday.
The result of that vote, however, still hangs in the balance.
How will the vote go?
Four Republican senators have yet to publicly indicate which way they will vote. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) both told reporters Thursday that they were satisfied with the FBI probe into allegations of sexually misconduct against the nominee. Neither committed to voting one way or the other.
The vote of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) remains unknown.
A late worry for the GOP is Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), who initially said he would back the Kavanaugh nomination. However, since the sexual assault allegations Gardner has walked back his support. He met with victims of sexual assault Thursday night and says he is reviewing the FBI report.
Another potential problem for the GOP is Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana), who told GOP leaders he would not be in Washington Saturday for the vote, as he will be attending his daughter’s wedding. The Senate could potentially hold the vote open for him overnight, with the senator saying he could return to Washington early Sunday morning.
Sen. Joe Manchin remains the single Democrat who has yet to say how they will vote. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who was previously undecided, announced Thursday that she would vote against Kavanaugh.
Republicans hold the Senate by a slim 51-49 majority and need 50 votes to confirm Kavanaugh. Vice President Mike Pence can step in to cast a vote in the event of a tie.
Cover image: Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)