Female House Dems urge Senate to delay Kavanaugh testimony for FBI investigation

Female House Dems urge Senate to delay Kavanaugh testimony for FBI investigation
© Greg Nash

A group of female Democratic House members hand-delivered a letter on Thursday calling on Republican leadership to delay moving forward with Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination until the FBI conducts an investigation.

The move is reminiscent to the seven female House members who crossed chambers to demand senators take Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations into account during the nomination process for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

ADVERTISEMENT

The letter was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE's (R-Ky.) office shortly before Christine Blasey Ford began testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during in the early 1980s.

The group argued that Kavanaugh's testimony, which is scheduled for later in the day, should be postponed to provide additional time to investigate additional allegations that have emerged in recent days.

"As women, we know uniquely that when our voices are spoken that we have not been heard. We are not going to allow that this time," Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceLawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules Trump Interior chief says climate change response falls on Congress MORE (D-Mich.), the chair of the Women's Caucus, said in a video of the women dropping off the letter. "We are demanding an investigation and we demand to be heard and respected. And this nominee should be totally vetted to be the Supreme Court justice. Not on our watch."

In the letter — spearheaded by Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments Overnight Health Care: Biden backs Medicare buy-in | New warnings as measles cases surpass record | House Dems propose M to study gun violence prevention MORE (D-Fla.) and signed by 65 Democrats — members said they believe it's critical the process isn't rushed before appointing someone to the highest court.

"In 1991, the Senate disrespected Anita Hill, questioned her credibility, and discounted her experiences. Now, 27 years later, Senate leadership has an opportunity to do better," the letter reads.

"These courageous women have nothing to gain by speaking their truth and every reason to stay silent and avoid the harassment and death threats they are currently receiving for coming forward."

Democrats in both chambers have been vocal in their call for an FBI investigation, calls that have been met with pushback from Republicans, who argue members across the aisle are attempting to stall the process and an investigation doesn't fall under the agency's jurisdiction. 

The FBI would not typically open an investigation into the allegations because no federal crime is alleged, although a background check into Kavanaugh could be reopened at the White House's request.

"It is in the interest of Brett Kavanaugh to have this investigation if he wants to clear his name. It’s certainly in the interest of all women in this country to make sure that we have someone on the Supreme Court who recognizes women and respects women and does not treat them as chattel," said Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierMomentum grows to create 'Do Not Track' registry Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller House Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment MORE (D-Calif.), who has been one of the top voices on the "Me Too" movement and women's rights in the lower chamber. "We have Dr. Blasey Ford’s back and we’re not going back."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination Friday.