From the Senate Floor, Duckworth Calls on Senate to Reject Judge Kavanaugh’s Confirmation and Believe Survivors
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) delivered a speech on the Senate floor this afternoon detailing why Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s steady stream of lies and angry partisan outbursts should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court. Duckworth reiterated her belief in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, criticizing President Trump for using a political rally to mock a sexual assault survivor’s trauma and try to bully her back into the shadows. Video of Duckworth’s speech is available here.
“The belligerent partisan operative who revealed himself last week is wholly unsuited for a job that demands level-headed temperament,” Duckworth said. “I’m voting against Brett Kavanaugh because I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford… But also because I know the American people deserve a fair-minded Supreme Court justice who actually cares about honesty and the truth. That’s the bare minimum we should expect from a nominee to the Supreme Court, and Brett Kavanaugh can’t even clear that hurdle.”
A full copy of Duckworth’s remarks are below:
By the time Dr. Ford was done sharing her story last Thursday afternoon, I was heartbroken.
Then, by the time Judge Kavanaugh was done speaking just a few hours later, I was horrified.
Dr. Ford spent her time talking about the laughter she still hears ringing in her ears from that night: the night that an older, stronger, drunker boy forced her to learn what it was like to feel helpless.
Her voice quivered. But she herself never wavered. Steadfast in the truth—in the memory of those few moments that changed her life forever.
Judge Kavanaugh, meanwhile, spent his time interrupting and attacking the committee members. Shouting over Senators and dressing them down—appearing belligerent and outraged that anyone would dare keep him from getting what he feels entitled to.
As though he—or anyone—is entitled to a seat on the United States Supreme Court.
Time after time, he made brazenly political statements that should disqualify any candidate from serving as a federal judge.
Over and over again, he told what appeared to be blatant lies, despite being under oath.
He seems to have lied about the meaning of his yearbook page. About when he learned of some of the recent accusations. About what he knew at age 53 and what he did at age 17.
Sadly, this was hardly even surprising:
Kavanaugh has a habit of appearing to lie under oath—as we know from when he was questioned about his role in the Bush Administration’s torture policy back in 2006.
This consistent dishonesty—this disregard, even distaste for the truth—should be unacceptable in any judicial nominee. Let alone one nominated to serve on the highest court in the land.
And let’s be clear: How Republicans went about restricting the FBI investigation this past week was questionable at best, sabotage at worst.
But the reality is that that suspiciously limited background check wasn’t even necessary to prove that he’s unfit.
It was his inappropriate public outbursts and his lack of candor that are so deeply troubling—that should be so obviously disqualifying.
This has nothing to do with his conservative beliefs.
This has to do with the fact that the belligerent partisan operative who revealed himself last week is wholly unsuited for a job that demands level-headed temperament.
And it’s not just me saying that—it’s a sentiment that some of Kavanaugh’s own former law clerks have expressed in the wake of his hostile outbursts.
No one is entitled to a Supreme Court seat.
Not even someone who went to Yale College or Law School, as he reminded us one, two, three, four times last Thursday.
And in this “Me Too” moment we’re living through, we need to recognize the bravery it took for these women—Dr. Ford, but also Deborah Ramirez—to speak out. Not deride them and shame them, like some on the other side of the aisle—and even the President—are doing.
The other night Trump stood in the middle of a political rally in Mississippi and told joke after joke about Dr. Ford and the worst moment of her life.
Mocking a survivor. Making fun of her trauma. Riling up thousands of people to laugh at her just like she says Brett Kavanaugh did in that bedroom that night.
That makes me sick. That makes me furious.
Donald Trump may sit in the Oval Office, but it’s obvious he cannot live up to the even the minimal standards of what we should expect of any President.
He doesn’t even understand or care how cruel it is to try to bully a survivor back into the shadows.
You know, I have two daughters. The younger, Maile, was just born in April. The older, Abigail, is nearly four now.
Her drawings line the walls of my Senate office. Her smile is the first thing I see in the morning.
Well, I just can’t stop thinking about how Dr. Ford was also once that age.
She too probably had her hair brushed then braided by her mother.
She too probably loved that too-big set of Crayola crayons and proudly brought her mom drawing after drawing.
I can’t stop thinking about how that little girl, just a decade later, found herself cornered and alone and scared. Outnumbered and overpowered and terrified. Hearing that boy’s laughter that she’d remember all these years later.
I’m voting against Brett Kavanaugh because I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Because I believe Deborah Ramirez.
Because we need a nominee who won’t cover up, abet and lie about torture.
But also because I know the American people deserve a fair-minded Supreme Court justice who actually cares about honesty and the truth.
That’s the bare minimum we should expect from a nominee to the Supreme Court, and Brett Kavanaugh can’t even clear that hurdle.
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