WASHINGTON – More than 100 Yale Law School students traveled by bus to Capitol Hill on Monday demanding that allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh be properly investigated before the Senate continues its confirmation process.
The students held a press conference Monday afternoon in the same hearing room where in 1991 former Yale Law graduate Anita Hill testified that she had been sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. The students voiced concern that, like Hill, Kavanaugh’s accusers would not be treated fairly by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“These smear campaigns must end,” said Yale Law student Alyssa Peterson. “We are here to call for a full investigation into sexual assault alleged by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. They deserve to have their stories told in the halls of Congress and they deserve a fair process.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to move forward with a Thursday hearing where Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to testify about allegations she has made that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers more than 30 years ago. The hearing was scheduled before a second accuser has emerged. Deborah Ramirez said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when he was a first-year student at Yale, according to the New Yorker.
“This nomination seems to be unraveling in real time,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who hosted the press conference.
Meanwhile, Kavanaugh sent a letter to him Monday saying he will not withdraw and labeled the charges as “smears, pure and simple.”
“The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed,” he wrote Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Several Republican members of the committee have also said they want to vote on Kavanaugh immediately after the hearing. They do not want a delay that could leave a seat on the Supreme Court vacant beyond the mid-term election in November – fearing Democrats could gain the majority then.
Meanwhile, Democrats are looking to delay the process with hopes of scuttling the nomination made by President Donald Trump.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Coons of Delaware – both Democrats who serve on the Judiciary Committee and are Yale Law School graduates hosted the press conference for the Yale Law students. Both also called for a delay until an investigation is completed into the sexual assault charges.
“My hope is the hearing may be postponed to allow an FBI investigation … a full, fair and objective investigation done by trained professionals … to uncover the facts and the evidence,” Blumenthal said.
Coons said he hopes his Republican colleagues would take the time to investigate the allegations and show respect to abuse survivors, warning that Republicans could otherwise face the consequences when voters head to the polls in November. He noted that a wave of women ran for office in 1992 following the Thomas hearings and that Senator Dianne Feinstein – the ranking Democrat on the committee – was elected then.
Blumenthal said President Trump can call on the FBI to investigate the allegations and should so that all the evidence and facts can be uncovered by impartial investigators who have the necessary training and skills to conduct a proper investigation of this type.
The reluctance of Republicans to do so, he says, raises questions about their motivations to rush ahead with the nomination.
“The question that ought to haunt the American people is what are they hiding? Why are they concealing? Why the rush to judgment? Why not uncover the facts?” Blumenthal said. “That’s why we are here.”
The Yale law school students also spoke at the press conference against confirming Kavanaugh over his judicial record, pointing to rulings they claim would imperil, among other things, undocumented immigrants and the rights of disabled individuals.
At the Yale campus on Monday, students also held a sit-in at the Sterling Law Building to protest Kavanaugh. Several law professors did not hold classes on Monday to allow students to join in the protests.
Click here to read the New Haven Independent’s report.