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.”

Most Popular

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More
U.S.

Two Years Later, Don’t Misplace Blame for Parkland

Two years ago, 17 people died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. In the intervening years, both those who survived it and those who observed it from afar have tried to figure out how something so terrible could have happened. That is understandable. Unfortunately, the ... Read More
U.S.

Two Years Later, Don’t Misplace Blame for Parkland

Two years ago, 17 people died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. In the intervening years, both those who survived it and those who observed it from afar have tried to figure out how something so terrible could have happened. That is understandable. Unfortunately, the ... Read More