Hirono: Dems could keep SCOTUS seat vacant for two years

Hirono: Dems could keep SCOTUS seat vacant for two years
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senators introduce bill to block Trump 'public charge' rule Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator MORE (D-Hawaii)  said the Democrats could keep retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat vacant for two years if need be should the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace him fail and should Democrats take the Senate in November.

Hirono said if a replacement for Kavanaugh needed to be found, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE should nominate a less conservative ideologue, or else be ready for Senate Democrats to keep the court seat vacant until after the 2020 presidential election if they win the chamber in November, according to an interview with Politico Magazine.

“I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Gorsuch: Those who don't have 'great confidence in America' should 'look elsewhere' Trump stacking lower courts MORE,” Hirono told Politico. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.”

Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was roiled when California professor Christine Blasey Ford on Sunday publicly accused him of sexually assaulting her when the two were students at neighboring D.C.-area high schools in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegations.

The Hawaii senator said the new allegation had cast doubts about the nominee's testimony to the Senate two weeks ago.

During the hearing, Hirono asked Kavanaugh if he had ever sexually assaulted or harassed someone as a "legal adult." He responded that he had not.

“It somewhat stretches credulity, let’s put it that way,” Hirono told Politico. “I think he didn’t want to lie about it, so one way you get through that is saying, ‘I don’t remember.’ ”

Hirono also called the allegations against Kavanaugh serious, even if he was 17 years old at the time of the alleged incident. 

“Seventeen is not exactly a baby, either," Hirono said. "These are serious allegations. She has a very credible story. I believe her. And now we have to do more than say, ‘Well, look at the timing!’ and ‘Well, it’s all politically motivated!’ "

"This has to be taken seriously," she said.

Kavanaugh and his accuser are set to testify publicly on Monday.