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American Bar Association and Others Are Demanding More of the Senate for Kavanaugh

Multiple organizations have called for the Supreme Court confirmation vote to be delayed

Brett Kavanaugh

Erin Schaff/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The most heated moment of Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday came during Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) time to ask questions. Graham was practically frothing at the mouth as he decried the “unethical sham” he believes Democrats are trying to pull by calling for a federal investigation into claims of sexual assault against the Supreme Court nominee. He reserved plenty of time to praise Kavanaugh’s credentials, as well. “Here’s my understanding, if you lived a good life people would recognize it, like the American Bar Association has, the gold standard,” Graham said. “His integrity is absolutely unquestioned.”

Not long after Kavanaugh’s testimony concluded, this “gold standard” of character appraisal called for the nominee’s confirmation vote to be postponed until the FBI could complete an investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation. “We make this request because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law,” ABA President Robert M. Carlson wrote in a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA). “The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI.”

“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” the letter continued. “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.”

The ABA isn’t the only organization to take issue with Kavanaugh’s testimony on Thursday. America Magazine, the “Jesuit Review of Faith and Culture,” took it a step further by writing that the nomination should be withdrawn. Georgetown Prep, the high school Kavanaugh attended at the time of Ford’s allegation, is a well-known Jesuit institution. “Dr. [Ford’s] accusations have neither been fully investigated nor been proven to a legal standard, but neither have they been conclusively disproved or shown to be less than credible,” the magazine’s editors wrote. “Judge Kavanaugh continues to enjoy a legal presumption of innocence, but the standard for a nominee to the Supreme Court is far higher; there is no presumption of confirmability.”

On Friday morning, Heather Gerken, the dean of Yale Law School, Kavanaugh’s alma mater, wrote that “proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession.”

It’s hard to argue that Kavanaugh hasn’t lied repeatedly throughout the confirmation process, especially as he was attempting to explain some of the notations made on his high school yearbook page. While questioning the nominee, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) brought up the legal principle falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. Kavanaugh didn’t know what it meant, so Blumenthal translated for him: false in one thing, false in everything. In other words, when a witness lies about small, trivial details, they cannot be considered credible regarding more significant issues. The same principle is laid out in the standard instructions given to juries: “If a witness is shown knowingly to have testified falsely about any material matter, you have a right to distrust such witness’ other testimony and you may reject all the testimony of that witness.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) was the last member of the judiciary committee to question Kavanaugh. Like many most of the other Republican senators, he didn’t cede his time to Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor they enlisted to question Ford and Kavanaugh, and whom Kennedy worried would “go catwoman” on the witnesses.

“Do you believe in God?” Kennedy asked Kavanaugh. He said yes. Kennedy then asked him if the allegations from Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnik were true. Kavanaugh issued rambling denials to each claim. “I’m 100 percent certain, senator,” he said.

“Do you swear to God?” Kennedy finally asked.

“I swear to God.”

This post has been updated.

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