Thursday, September 27 saw one of the most contentious committee hearings in many years in Congress. Luckily, it was followed by a day in which a semblance of bipartisanship showed it’s beautiful head.
It was the work of Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and his friend on the other side of the aisle Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware. Both senators have been concerned for some time about the partisan bickering over the process to confirm a new justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although both Senators are diametrically on different sides and have different philosophies, the thing they agree on is that the process must be fair and work needs to be done to get to the truth of the allegations, which have come forth in the hearings.
A vote on the Judiciary Committee was held Friday to recommend Judge Kavanaugh’s selection to move on to the full Senate for a vote. That vote occurred, however, after enough senators, led by Flake, stated they would not vote on the Senate floor to confirm without fulfilling a gentleman’s agreement to have the FBI spend a maximum of one week reviewing the testimony. That then forced Republican leadership to ask the President to have the FBI proceed with an additional week of investigation.
After the jaw-dropping presentations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in which she accused the Judge of attempting to rape her when she was 15 and he was 17 and his unequivocal denials, it became even more important that an FBI investigation be done to find the truth. Senator Flake, along with Senator Coons, came up with the idea to vote the nomination out of Committee, but then also generate enough support to deny confirmation unless certain events occurred which, included a week of FBI review prior to a final Senate vote.
That then required Senate leadership to request the President to have the FBI look into the matter. That is critical, because the FBI now has the opportunity to question Mark Judge, whom Dr. Ford says was in the room during the attack, in person. Up to this point Mr. Judge has not been interviewed, but only spoken through his attorney and issued a written statement. In addition, the additional investigation by the FBI will be limited to only those allegations already known. I would assume that the investigation would also include the interviewing of the other women who have already come forward, but that, as of this writing, is yet to be stated.
At minimum, I believe we will all know more about the validity of the allegations after the FBI is finished then we know now. The vote to confirm the Judge to the Supreme Court, if it occurs after the investigation, will still be devoid of most if not all Democratic votes, but will be at least more fair and democratic then it would have been without the added investigation. Of course, there is the possibility that events will unfold which might remove Judge Kavanaugh from contention and possibly from the bench on which he now serves.
A lot of questions remain, but thankfully, for at least a moment, bipartisanship was present and it began to look like it did when I was lobbying Congress on a myriad of issues 30 years ago. Maybe, just maybe, we will now see more of it.
by Dick Goodson