Republicans Don’t Seem To Care What Christine Blasey Ford Has To Say

Based on their own rhetoric, it seems clear that Republicans don't really care what Christine Blasey Ford has to say regarding what happened to her in 1982.

Like many Republicans, Lindsey Graham has already made up his mind on the accusations being made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and I suspect he will be joined by pretty much every Republican in the Senate:

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser won’t change his mind, no matter what she says.

“You can’t bring it in a criminal court, you would never sue civilly, you couldn’t even get a warrant,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace. “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation? I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen.”‘

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school. Therapist’s notes from 2012 reference an attempted assault by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes did not name Kavanaugh (a graduate of Georgetown Prep), and other students have said they don’t remember the party Ford described.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday tentatively agreed to a hearing with Ford this week after exchanges with her lawyer, but Graham said it won’t change his vote — absent additional information.

“Unless there’s something more, no I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this,” Graham said. “But she should come forward, she should have her say, she will be respectfully treated.”

Senator Graham isn’t alone, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear in a speech to the so-called “Values Voter Summit” that he intends to get Judge Kavanaugh approved regardless of what Dr. Blasey Ford has to say:

WASHINGTON - Supporters of Christine Blasey Ford criticized Majority Leader Mitch McConnell online Friday after he said - despite Ford’s allegation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager - Kavanaugh would be on the Supreme Court soon.

“In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court,” McConnell said to applause from religious conservatives at the Value Voters Summit Friday. “So my friends, keep the faith, don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”

Ford has alleged that in the early 1980s Kavanaugh and a friend took her into a room where he pinned her to a bed, groped her, tried to remove her clothes and put his hands over her mouth to muffle her when they were both teenagers at a house party in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegation.

Senate Republicans have stood behind Kavanaugh but also have not attacked Ford. Both Kavanaugh and Ford have said they will testify in front of Congress, but Ford’s lawyers are still negotiating the terms of her appearance.

Ford’s supporters said McConnell’s comments Friday morning proved that he was not serious about hearing the California professor’s side of the story and was just doing it for appearances.

McConnell isn’t the only Republican to take heat for his comments about the allegation. President Trump spent most of the week saying Ford deserved to be heard but Friday morning he questioned why Ford hadn’t reported the incident at the time and instead waited decades to come forward.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, the most vulnerable GOP senator up for re-election in November, called the allegation a “hiccup” Wednesday. On Thursday, he clarified that “hiccup” was referring to the way Democrats had handled Ford’s allegation.

Here’s the video of McConnell’s remarks:

Amber Phillips comments:

There is no other way to read McConnell’s comment other than that the Ford allegation doesn’t matter to him, at least not when he’s so close to fulfilling his goal of firming up the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 conservative majority weeks before an election.

Put another way: A woman accused a Supreme Court nominee of drunkenly pinning her to a bed, groping her and covering her mouth when she screamed when they were in high school decades ago. She provided therapist notes from well before Kavanaugh was such a public figure. She took a polygraph test. She is willing to undergo an FBI investigation and testify under oath before the Senate. These are all moves that outside experts say make her story credible, and yet here is the most powerful politician in the Senate appearing to brush all of that aside because he wants to “do [his] job.”

Not that this is a surprise — we’ve been questioning whether Republicans were taking Ford’s accusations seriously since they came out. It’s just a surprise to hear it put so plainly by the politician with the most control over the process.

Graham, McConnell, and Heller aren’t alone among Senate Republicans. With a handful of exceptions who will likely end up playing along with the party in the end anyway, every Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and nearly every Republican in the Senate has made it clear that they intend on voting for Judge Kavanaugh regardless of what Dr. Blasey Ford has to say on Thursday, and several reacted to her initial claims by rejecting them out of hand, claiming she was part of some nefarious Democratic plot to undo Kavanaugh’s nomination at the last minute. Others claimed falsely that she was motivated by a personal vendetta against Judge Kavanaugh based on what turned out to be a false interpretation (see here, here, and here) of the docket in a foreclosure proceeding that her parents were involved in twenty years ago, or participated in other bizarre efforts to undermine Dr. Blasey Ford. Initially, these Republicans rejected Blasey Ford’s claims and insisted that the Judiciary Committee and the Senate just go forward and vote on the nomination. It was only once they realized that not allowing her to testify would be a political liability that they gave in on the idea of even holding a perfunctory hearing like the one that will happen on Thursday.

None of this should come as a shock, of course. For decades, Republicans have generally been far more single-mindedly focused on the Judiciary in general and the Supreme Court specifically than their Democratic counterparts. The makeup of the Judiciary Branch has long been an issue that has helped to drive Republican voters to the polls in both Presidential elections and off-year elections, and it has been an issue that candidates and advocacy groups have used to stir up fundraising and voter enthusiasm. Since the election of President Trump, many conservatives who might otherwise have been thought to be deeply opposed to someone with his background, have cited the selection and confirmation of judges for the U.S. District Court, the Courts of Appeal, and, of course, the Supreme Court as the reason they are standing by this President. Amid all of this, there has been a rapid speeding up of judicial confirmations by the Senate, and the extent to which Trump is already starting to remake the Federal Judiciary in ways that will have implications for years to come. This will be especially true if the Senate is able to get Brett Kavanaugh, or a similarly conservative nominee confirmed.

Taking this into account, and adding into it the possibility that Republicans could lose control of the Senate in November, it’s easy to see why Republicans are eager to push forward with confirmation even of a nominee as tainted as Brett Kavanaugh is, and even if that means basically just paying lip service to a woman who is claiming that said nominee sexually assaulted her when she was just 15 years old.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    It’s nice to see Republicans openly displaying their misogyny…anybody have a guess as to how much of the female vote Democrats will get in November? No doubt it will be quite high…

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  2. Gustopher says:

    If Kavanaugh was being accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old boy, I think the nomination fight would play out very differently.

    But it’s just a girl, or two, or three. What is a small handful of women compared to a great man’s career? A mere trifle.

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  3. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’ve a process question:
    The republican members of the judiciary committee are considering what seems to be a rule that would prevent any judiciary committee members from questioning Dr Ford in the public hearing.

    Can the committee deny the privilege of committee members to question a witness? Is there any historical precedent in which ALL senators were denied the ability to speak or ask questions?

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  4. Kathy says:

    you know, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that either El Cheeto, his team, and/or the Congressional GOP, knew about the allegations against Kavanaugh in advance, but decided that 1) it was no big deal and 2) he’d get confirmed any way.

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  5. Paul L. says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Shame on the GOP as the party of misogynist rape apologists for the credibly accused Duke Lacrosse/UVA Frat gang rapists that will hypocritically not defend Hollywood, the media and the press because of Politics, looking for any info to discredit the victim’s story or smear the women by pointing out inconsistencies that proves the rape victims suffered trauma. More discrepancies in a rape victim’s story proves the rape because the traumatic event distorts the memory of the event and anything related to the event.
    They created a toxic narrative so bad, insulting and hurtful that progressives refuse to talk about them. Just like the CBC and the teabaggers yelling the N-word at John Lewis.

    The Duke Lacrosse Frat Gang rapists were proven guilty because they were indicted by a grand jury and could have been prosecuted Federally under Obama’s DOE #TitleIX guidance.

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  6. de stijl says:

    Failure to confirm Kavanaugh means that you failed to pwn the libs. McConnell is despised by the base anyway – if he fails to pwn the libs – which is the current-day correct measure to quantify the effectiveness of R party leaders – McConnell will be on triple secret probation.

  7. Kari Q says:

    Doug, I don’t know why the words “seem to” are in the headline, but otherwise I agree with you.

    @Paul L.:

    I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Huh?” What on Earth are you talking about?

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  8. Franklin says:

    @Gustopher: Excellent points, that first one hadn’t even occurred to me but it is so true.

  9. Kari Q says:

    And here’s another allegatiin

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: They seem too have had the “65 women” letter in hand well before anything surfaced. Ed Whelan appears to have been researching Ford before her name went public. They knew, they don’t care, they’ll ram it through.

    You’d think they could find another Federalist Society Stepford judge without the sexual and drinking baggage. But you know, maybe they can’t.

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  11. MarkedMan says:

    Now that it turns out the New Yorker approached the second accuser only after contacting a number of other witnesses to the event it’s getting increasingly hard to write it off. I also notice Kavanaugh has not denied it yet. (He’s in a tough position here. If, because of the number of witnesses, he cops to this one and apologizes, everyone will focus on his one week old categorical denial of every engaging in any sexually aggressive behavior.) And given that the email exchange between these witnesses started at the beginning of the summer, it seems solid that the Republicans knew this was about to come out and that is why they wanted to speed up the process. And that makes it interesting to see what Murkowski and Collins will do. It seems to me they both have very legitimate fears about blowback if they had participated in the last minute scramble to put him on the court only to have this come out mere days after it was too late. They would have looked like they were played for suckers. Don’t get me wrong, I think their “Oh, we are really on the fence here” schtick is 99.9% BS, and that they consistently fold and do as they are told. But it is extremely important to their voters that they at least appear to be the voice of reason.

    If they knew about these charges and still went along with the gallop toward confirmation then they are incredibly stupid. If they though voters would forget about this they are delusional because, at least in Collins’ case, Kavanaugh will be delivering is anti-choice decisions right about the time she is running for office again.

    And if they didn’t know about these charges, well that means the leadership was hastily leading them off the plank, hoping they wouldn’t notice until too late.

    I wonder how they will react?

  12. KM says:

    @Paul L.:
    You know, the fact that y’all keep having to go back to Duke for your “false accusation” BS just goes to show how rare they really are. Otherwise, you’d have a plethora of names and examples to choose from.

    Meanwhile, a rapist caught literally in the act by reliable witnesses gets a slap on the wrist because the judge thought poor widdle Brock Turner’s bright future shouldn’t be ruined by something as trifling as rape. I could name dozens but the truth is it is you are more likely to get hit by a bus then a false accusation and have it stick. False accusations tend to be pretty obvious and easy to disprove – it’s only when there’s reasonable doubt does the investigation go further. Women, on the other hand, get dragged over the coals twice before people believe them and even if they get to have their day in court, he will often walk away scott-free and justice is denied.

    Democrats are the party of at least listening to what women have to say. Republicans are the party of meh, we’ll nominate him anyways and then be shocked when it turns out the women told the truth.

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  13. Another interested outsider... says:
  14. al Ameda says:

    I think it’s clear that the GOP knew about some of Kavanaugh’s baggage however they calculated that they could get this confirmation done in short order.

    What they did not know, and could not have known, was that Senator Feinstein was holding onto Ford’s letter until the opportune time to disclose it to the Committee.

    Now, Republicans must decide that forcing this nomination through and dealing with mid-term fall-out is worth it. I’m guessing that they see getting Kavanaugh onto the Court is worth what they see as a political price that may be short term in duration.

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  15. Paul L. says:

    @KM:
    Brock Turner was not convicted of rape

    False accusations tend to be pretty obvious and easy to disprove – it’s only when there’s reasonable doubt does the investigation go further.

    The Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat Gang rape investigations and prosecution went on for months.
    So that proves they were credible legitimate accusations.
    @Kari Q:
    Nothing shows the superior intelligence of progressives than being clueless and pedantic about not being able to understand a straight forward statement.
    Progressives believe that the credibly accused Duke Lacrosse/UVA Frat gang rapists are guilty.

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  16. drj says:

    @Paul L.:

    Brock Turner was not convicted of rape

    So true!

    Turner was only convicted of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

    No biggie at all! Stupid libtards can’t even get their sexual crimes straight.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    They seem too have had the “65 women” letter in hand well before anything surfaced. Ed Whelan appears to have been researching Ford before her name went public. They knew, they don’t care, they’ll ram it through.

    The question is whether they knew before the nomination was announced, or only a little bit before the accusations surfaced?

    What I do find surprising, is that there have been no major leaks regarding Kavanaugh from the USS Sinking Ship (aka the Trump White House).

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    For decades, Republicans have generally been far more single-mindedly focused on the Judiciary in general and the Supreme Court specifically than their Democratic counterparts.

    Well, duh. It’s hard to get legislatures to pass laws that will be hurtful to their constituencies. That’s why the defenders of legislative oversight, states’ rights, and “courts that rule on the law rather than write it” have focused on creating a judiciary that will create the world they can’t get by arguing for it in the halls of the legislatures. MAWA!

  19. An Interested Party says:

    Brock Turner was not convicted of rape

    No, but he should have been, and if not for an incredibly lenient judge, he would have been…

    Progressives believe that the credibly accused Duke Lacrosse/UVA Frat gang rapists are guilty.

    Your attempts at deflection are incredibly lame and weak…what happened at Duke has nothing to do with what is going on with Kavanaugh…

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Unless there’s something more, no I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this,” Graham said.

    I had no idea it was either Associate Supreme Court Justice or life in prison. Obviously, Sen Graham has much he could teach me.

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  21. Kathy says:

    Concerning the kavanaugh effect on the midterms, ponder this piece at 538: The Biggest Divides On The Kavanaugh Allegations Are By Party — Not Gender

    The piece goes on to support the headline rather well. I was surprised at first, to be honest, but not that much. I shouldn’t have been.

    But before you despair, consider this info from the Pew research Center: Wide gender gap in partisanship

    In short, Kavanaugh is more likely to have an effect along party lines, yes, but also there are fewer Republican than Democratic women. This should add up to negative consequences for the GOP come November.

  22. Eric Florack says:

    Paul L, perhaps history lessons are in order..

    https://youtu.be/mqt9OX-oAtU

    The case was dragged out as long as it was because Nifong is one of the few people on the planet that’s actually more crooked than the clintons.

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  23. Kari Q says:

    @Paul L.:

    I admit that my intellect is insufficiently “superior” to read that word salad of sarcasm and find the “straight forward statement” hidden inside it. However, if your point is about the existence of false accusations and you are claiming this is one, it doesn’t help.

    The problem isn’t that Republican Senators don’t believe Dr. Ford. The problem is that they don’t care if she’s lying or not.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:

    more crooked than the clintons.

    Seriously? WTF?

  25. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: yes. Seriously.

  26. Paul L. says:

    @Kari Q:

    your point is about the existence of false accusations and you are claiming this is one

    My point was the Duke Lacrosse and UVA cases were pushed by the media and progressives to show what a giant epidemic campus rape culture was.
    And according to progressives they fell apart because the prosecutor (Nifong) and the journalist (Erdely) screwed up not the accusers made false accusations.

  27. teve tory says:

    The problem isn’t that Republican Senators don’t believe Dr. Ford. The problem is that they don’t care if she’s lying or not.

    Franklin Graham even said she said no and kavanaugh “respected that” and quit. So he doesn’t even care that Kavanaugh is lying.

    Stupid people, shitty values.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    …Nifong is one of the few people on the planet that’s actually more crooked than the clintons.

    And, of course, Trump is more crooked than Nifong…

    Franklin Graham even said she said no and kavanaugh “respected that” and quit.

    You know, if there really is a God and there really is a heaven and a hell, so many of these supposedly religious people aren’t going through the Pearly Gates…

  29. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Hey…

    Republicans Don’t Seem To Care What Christine Blasey Ford Has To Say

    Fixed that for ya.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: You know, if there really is a God all the people who down play rape as “no big deal” or “just a cheap shot at a respectable man” would be subjected to actual rape. Not the ones they imagine in their manly heads where they are able to resist with their manly biceps and even more manly buttocks, but…… you know…. Rape. Actual, violent. painful. rape.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    What’s this!? Mitch McConnell is angry! Using words like “despicable” and “new low”…he’d know all about those words as they describe his own activities…I guess we’re a long way from the days when he was gloating about denying Obama a Supreme Court pick…

  32. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I guess we’re a long way from the days when he was gloating about denying Obama a Supreme Court pick…

    If we look at Mitch McConnel’s own words, it seems clear that he should be accepting of this inquiry. Let’s have a listen to 2016 Mitch:

    “It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent,” … “”The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee… ”

    Looks like a delay to have the American people have their say Is Okey-Doke with Mitch !

    (source: https://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person)

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  33. Todd says:

    Pyrrhic victory

    Today’s word of the day

    The Supreme Court’s power rests in its perceived legitimacy

    If Brett Kavanaugh is seated, every 5-4 decision (especially those related to presidential powers) should be treated with the lack of respect it deserves.

    Strikes/protests whatever’s needed

    The GOP has shown us (yet again) why they can’t (at virtually any level of govt) be trusted with power.

    Vote in November, for sure. But if that doesn’t turn out to be enough, it probably is time to just shut this whole mess of a country down.