Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh abandoned his prepared remarks on Sept. 27 and offered an emotional defense of his dignity and innocence before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Often choking back tears, he detailed how the last-minute allegations against him have wreaked havoc on his family, destroyed his reputation, and undermined the constitutional process for confirming judicial nominees for decades to come.
“You have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy,” Kavanaugh said, referring to the Senate’s constitutional mandate to advise the president on judicial nominees.
Kavanaugh placed the blame squarely on the committee Democrats, at least one of whom had withheld the allegations against him for 45 days until after his confirmation hearings were completed. The judge called the resulting process a “grotesque” smear campaign, which has destroyed a reputation he spent decades building.
“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups,” Kavanaugh said.
“This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.”
Kavanaugh swore his innocence and pointed to the sworn statements by all of the alleged witnesses, who told the committee they had no memory of the events. He presented an analysis of his calendar from 1982, showing that he was in town on only two weekends and could account for the events that occurred with named witnesses.
The judge said that the Democrats’ rhetoric about him has stoked violent threats against him, his family, and friends, including violent emails sent to his wife and threats to “blow me up and take me down.” He characterized the subsequent uncorroborated allegations against him from other accusers as “expected, if not planned” and “all nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media.”
Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was visibly moved when he described having to explain what was occurring to the couple’s young daughters. He also respected the account of his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, but was adamant that he wasn’t the one who assaulted her.
“I’m not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time, but I have never done this to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said.
“That’s not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night Ashley and my daughter Liza said their prayers, and little Liza, all of 10 years old, said to Ashley, “We should pray for the woman.” That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. We mean no ill will.”
The judge devoted a portion of his speech to establishing his track record in public office, emphasizing that despite working on one of the most publicized investigations in Kenneth Starr’s office and being the subject of opposition research “from head to toe,” no one ever accused him of misconduct. He also pointed to numerous FBI background investigations and the confirmation hearings before the same committee in 2004 and 2006.
“Throughout that entire time, throughout my 53 years and seven months on this Earth until last week, no one ever accused me of any kind of sexual misconduct. No one ever. A lifetime,” Kavanaugh said, adding, “That’s because nothing of this kind ever happened.”
The judge became emotional describing his lifelong friendships with women, 65 of whom issued a statement shortly after an accusation against him surfaced.
“That letter came together in one night. Thirty-five years after graduation, while a sexual-assault allegation was pending against me in a very fogged and public situation where they knew, they knew they’d be vilified if they defended me,” Kavanaugh said, taking time to collect himself.
“Think about that. They put themselves on the line for me. Those are some awesome women. I love all of them.”
The judge concluded by pointing out that due process has been subverted by the last-minute allegation, explaining that if a “mere allegation,” refuted by witnesses, was enough to destroy one’s life and career, “we will have abandoned the basic principles of fairness and due process that define our legal system in our country.”
“I ask you to judge me by the standard that you would want applied to your father. Your husband. Your brother. Or your son,” Kavanaugh said.
“My family and I intend no ill will toward Dr. Ford or her family, but I swear today under oath before the Senate and the nation, before my family and God, I am innocent of this charge.”
President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh for the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was moved by the judge’s speech and demanded the Senate vote to confirm him.
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting,” Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after the hearing. “Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”