News

Law & the Courts

McCaskill Will Set Aside Kavanaugh Allegation in Deciding How to Vote on Confirmation

Sen. Claire McCaskill (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

Update: 12:45 p.m.: Senator McCaskill announced on Wednesday evening that she would vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri broke with her Democratic colleagues on Wednesday when she announced that she will ignore the allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when deciding how to vote on his confirmation.

Asked at a campaign event in Lebanon, Mo., about Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school, McCaskill told the crowd that the allegations will not factor into her decision, which she expects to make “very shortly.”

McCaskill, one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in November, said she was concerned about the allegation but will instead focus on Kavanaugh’s judicial record and qualifications in making her final determination, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

“I’m going to make the decision based on his positions, his writings in his decisions, and what I’ve discovered in the documents I’ve had a chance to review,” she said. “That’s how I’ll make my decision.”

Ford told the Washington Post on Sunday that she authored a previously anonymous letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, accusing Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and attempting to remove her clothes at a house party in suburban Maryland 36 years ago.

McCaskill’s decision to essentially ignore the allegation represents a sharp departure from her Democratic colleagues, many of whom have thus far demanded a delay in Kavanaugh’s confirmation pending an FBI investigation into the allegations.

Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley invited both Kavanaugh and his accuser to testify publicly before the panel next Monday. Kavanaugh immediately accepted the invitation and prepared to testify, while Ford’s attorney has said she will not attend any hearing until an FBI probe has been conducted. Republicans have responded by pointing out that the Senate alone is responsible for investigating nominees, save for an FBI background check that has already been completed.

McCaskill cited Ford’s reluctance to testify in explaining her decision not to let the allegation factor into her vote.

“I don’t think that this is a trial, and I don’t think I should be called upon to make that decision without hearing her testify,” McCaskill said. “I’ve tried many of these cases where the victim tells their story and the defendant has a different story, and it’s a matter of credibility, and I think anybody who makes up their mind without hearing them testify about the facts and the circumstances are doing both of them a disservice.”

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Origins of Progressive Agony

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate ... Read More
Elections

How Will the Senate Races Break?

How will the Senate races break? We have less public polling to go on than in recent years, so answering that question is harder than ever. But the news is more optimistic for Republicans than it was a month ago.   Waves and Breakers Four years ago, I projected in mid September that if “historical ... Read More
U.S.

The Media Fell for Elizabeth Warren’s Spin

Do you want to know what media bias looks like? Earlier today, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that confirmed that she misled employers, students, and the public about her Native American heritage for years. Bizarrely, all too many members of the media treated the results as ... Read More
U.S.

Native Americans React to Warren’s DNA Test

Many in the Native American community reacted angrily Monday after Senator Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test showing that she has a distant Native American ancestor. Warren has long said she is part Native American, prompting mockery from Republicans and President Trump, who nicknamed her ... Read More