Timeline: Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court

Timeline: Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court
© Greg Nash

Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be a lock for the Supreme Court for much of the summer before his nomination was thrown into question last month by allegations of sexual misconduct going back to his high school days in the early 1980s.

The allegations brought forward by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, followed by two other women, roiled an already contentious confirmation battle over Kavanaugh's views on abortion, presidential power and individual liberty.

The months-long effort, buoyed on both sides by millions of dollars in spending from outside groups, came to a dramatic head when both Kavanaugh and Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a rollercoaster hearing Sept. 27.

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From President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE's selection of Kavanaugh in July to replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy to the final vote on Kavanaugh's nomination set for Saturday afternoon, here's a look at the twists in Kavanaugh's path to the Supreme Court:

 

June 27: Kennedy announces retirement

After serving more than 30 years on the court, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement. Immediately, rumors about Trump's replacement for the swing vote justice begin to swirl in Washington, as the president pledged during the 2016 campaign to nominate conservative justices who would support causes long sought by the right, such as overturning Roe v. Wade.

July 9: Trump taps Kavanaugh 

Less than two weeks after Kennedy's announcement, Trump makes his decision on a replacement by nominating Kavanaugh, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Kavanaugh, a former clerk of Kennedy's, was long seen as the front-runner to succeed his former boss on the court.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said at the time.

July 10: Kavanaugh begins lobbying senators

A day after being officially nominated, Kavanaugh begins holding his first meetings with senators as he meets with both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBurr says intelligence watchdog should be 'independent' after inspector general firing Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill MORE (R-Iowa), the two Republicans with the most say over his nomination process in the Senate.

July 30: Ford sends letter to Feinstein, Kavanaugh meets with Manchin

While it would not be revealed publicly for months, Ford, the Palo Alto University professor, sends a letter to her state's senator, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinEncryption helps America work safely — and that goes for Congress, too Democratic lawmakers demand government stop deporting unaccompanied children DOJ probing stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of coronavirus crisis: report MORE (D-Calif.), detailing her allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. Feinstein, also the ranking member of the Judiciary panel, withholds the letter from other lawmakers and the news media out of respect of Ford's desire for privacy. Ford said she met earlier in the month with Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooBottom line Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter dismantle Russian interference campaign targeting African Americans | YouTube to allow ads on coronavirus videos | Trump signs law banning federal funds for Huawei equipment House Democrats introduce bills to penalize census misinformation MORE (D-Calif.), her local congresswoman, to discuss her allegations.

On the same day, Kavanaugh would meet with several Republican senators as well as Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPoliticians mourn the death of Bill Withers Pressure mounts for national parks closure amid coronavirus White House, Senate reach deal on trillion stimulus package MORE (D-W.Va.), a crucial swing vote who would eventually announce his support for Kavanaugh as the only Senate Democrat to do so.

Aug. 15: Kavanaugh holds more meetings with Dems

Kavanaugh holds meetings with Senate Democrats amid public criticism of his judicial record on the left centered on concerns over whether he believes a president could legally be investigated for criminal charges. Other concerns over his views on Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized a woman's right to an abortion, also persist.

Aug. 20: Feinstein meets with Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh meets with Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, to discuss his nomination to the Supreme Court. During the meeting, Feinstein does not bring up the confidential letter written to her by Ford.

Aug. 22: Dems press for delay in Kavanaugh hearing

Democrats, including Feinstein, call for Kavanaugh's hearings before the Judiciary Committee to be delayed following a claim from longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in court documents that Trump ordered payments to be made during the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who have said they had affairs with Trump in 2006. Republicans refuse the Democratic plea.

Sept. 4-7: Confirmation hearings kick off

Kavanaugh appears on Capitol Hill for confirmation hearings. During the hearings, he is questioned by Democrats on his views of presidential power, judicial precedent and the possibility of a conservative Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh assures Democrats during his hearings that he is a strong believer in judicial precedent.

Sept. 12: Reports begin to surface of accuser's letter

Five days after the end of Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, progressive news outlet The Intercept details reports from "multiple sources" of the letter sent by Ford to Feinstein detailing her sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh, though Ford's name does not appear in the article.

Sept. 13: Feinstein says she sent letter to FBI

Feinstein acknowledges the letter's existence, and says in a brief statement that she has sent the information to the FBI, which at that time had already completed its background check into Kavanaugh.

Sept. 16: Ford comes forward in The Washington Post

Ford comes forward publicly with her allegation in an interview with The Washington Post, detailing an alleged incident at a high school party in 1982 during which she says Kavanaugh held her down on a bed, muffling her screams for help with his hand and forcibly groping her while trying to remove her clothes. Kavanaugh denies the accusation in a statement from the White House.

Sept. 23: Second Kavanaugh accuser emerges

A second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, comes forward in an interview with The New Yorker detailing an accusation of sexual misconduct dating back to her time at Yale University with Kavanaugh. The judge denies the allegation, but several Democratic senators release statements demanding that the White House rescind his nomination.

Sept. 26: Avenatti reveals statement of third accuser

A day before the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to have a special session to hear from Kavanaugh and Ford over her allegations of assault, attorney Michael Avenatti reveals the identity of a third woman, Julie Swetnick, who alleges that the judge was present for "gang rapes" at high school parties in the 1980s. Kavanaugh calls the claims "ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone."

Sept. 27: Kavanaugh, Ford testify in dramatic hearing

Ford details her allegation against Kavanaugh in an emotional session before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which she says she is "100 percent" certain that it was Kavanaugh who sexually assaulted her. Kavanaugh responds in his own testimony later in the day, at times becoming angry and breaking into tears as he defended himself against the allegations from Ford, Ramirez and Swetnick.

Sept. 28: Judiciary advances nomination after Flake deal

The Senate Judiciary Committee advances Kavanaugh's nomination on a party-line vote just a day after the special session. In a dramatic move, Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE (R-Ariz.) makes a deal with Democrats including Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate includes 0M for mail-in voting in coronavirus spending deal Hillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Democrats press for more stimulus funding to boost mail-in voting MORE (Del.) to call for a limited, one-week FBI investigation into the allegations Kavanaugh faces.

Trump orders the FBI supplement its initial background investigation into Kavanaugh by investigating the new claims against the judge. The investigation is criticized by Democrats over its scope, as it fails to contact Ford, Kavanaugh, or other corroborating witnesses listed by Ford.

Oct. 4: FBI wraps up days-long investigation

The FBI investigation concludes. Senators, one by one, are allowed to view the FBI's report on its findings in a chamber reserved for classified materials in the Capitol Visitors Center, while Democrats and Republicans trade off one copy of the report, alternating by hour. Democrats attack the probe's scope for not interviewing other witnesses including Kavanaugh and Ford.

Oct. 5: Senate ends debate, Kavanaugh clinches support for confirmation

The Senate holds a cloture vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, which passed by a narrow margin. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus MORE (R-Maine) announces in a speech on the Senate floor that she will vote for Kavanaugh, giving him enough support to be confirmed. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), running for reelection in a state Trump won by double digits in 2016, becomes the only Democrat to back Kavanaugh. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus Murkowski pushes Mnuchin for oil company loans MORE (Alaska) comes out as the only Republican to oppose his nomination.

Oct. 6: Senate holds final vote on Kavanaugh

Kavanaugh's nomination heads to a full vote on the floor of the Senate, where it is expected to pass.