Republican Sen. Flake pushes for delay on full Kavanaugh vote after tense protester confrontation
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(WASHINGTON) — Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is pushing for a delay in the full Senate vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, despite his Judiciary Committee vote Friday in favor of Kavanaugh with the delay request.
Flake’s push for a delay came hours after he was cornered by protesters over his planned ‘yes’ vote.
The Arizona senator was confronted in a Capitol Hill elevator Friday moments after his pending ‘yes’ vote was announced.
“What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violating a woman to sit on the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable,” one woman told Flake.
“Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me,” she said.
Flake repeatedly, quietly thanked the woman but did not directly address her questions.
“No, I need to go to the hearing,” he said. “I issued a statement. There have been a lot of questions here and I don’t want to answer them.”
The confrontation came after Flake’s office released a statement explaining his thinking.
“Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh,” Flake said in a statement Friday. “I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty.
“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well,” he said in the statement.
“I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
When Flake briefly spoke during Kavanaugh’s questioning before the committee Thursday, hours after Christine Blasey Ford testified about how she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school, he indicated he was grappling with the decision.
“I would just urge my colleagues to recognize that in the end we are 21 very imperfect senators trying to do our best to provide advice and consent,” Flake said Thursday during his questioning of Kavanaugh.
“In the end, there is likely to be as much doubt as certainty going out of this room today. As we make decisions going forward, I hope that people will recognize that.”
A telling decision outside of the committee
After the Senate Judiciary Committee votes and makes its recommendation about whether the nominee should be approved, the task then moves on to the full Senate for debate and a full vote.
It’s at that point that members like Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat representing the largely Republican state of Indiana, will vote. Donnelly announced that Friday he would be voting against Kavanaugh.
“I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position and, as I stated, we have been unable to get all the information necessary regarding this nomination, despite my best efforts,” Donnelly said in a statement. “Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity.
“While I would gladly welcome the opportunity to work with President Trump on a new nominee for this critically important position, if Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination comes before the full Senate for a vote under these circumstances, I will oppose it,” Donnelly said in the statement.
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