WASHINGTON— The American Bar Association has called on the Senate to stall Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in order to allow the FBI to investigate the sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” Robert Carlson, the association’s president, said in a letter to the Judiciary Committee’s leadership Thursday evening. “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.”
The association had previously endorsed Kavanaugh, something that he touted during his initial confirmation hearings.
The letter came after both Kavanaugh and California-based professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the committee. Ford told the panel that she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers, and the nominee responding with a visibly angry denial.
Kavanaugh rejected Ford’s account as well as a series of other allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The committee is planning to hold a confirmation vote Friday morning, a procedural step en route to a series of full-floor votes.
Carlson said the process should pause prior to the committee vote.
Senate Democrats as well as Ford have repeatedly called for the FBI to step in.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Kavanaugh during Thursday’s hearing if the nominee would be open to the agency stepping in, but the nominee demurred.
“You know that’s a phony question because the FBI doesn’t reach conclusions,” Kavanaugh replied.
Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) both claimed Democrats could have requested an FBI investigation themselves or through the committee earlier in the process.
President Donald Trump has previously said that he would not call on the agency to investigate, stating that a probe would be best handled by the committee.