Todd Ruger

Senate Judiciary Returns to Business as Usual After Kavanaugh
No protesters. No extra security. No media buzz. And Lindsey Graham barely said a word

Life after the Brett Kavanaugh fight got off to a subdued start Thursday for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Gone was the energetic buzz of news media, protesters and police officers that filled the hallway outside the committee’s hearing room in prior weeks. Inside the room, the senators spoke only in muted tones that contrasted sharply with the passionate speeches just two weeks earlier during a committee vote on the Supreme Court pick.

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Kavanaugh Cautious but Active in First Day at Supreme Court
Shakes hands with Kagan before returning to chambers

Justice Brett Kavanaugh heard oral arguments for the first time Tuesday in cases about one of the Supreme Court’s least favorite criminal laws, jumping into his role with some straightforward questions and little hint of the bitter confirmation process he just went through.

There were no outbursts from protesters in the gallery, as there had been during his Senate confirmation hearings or Saturday’s historic vote. Kavanaugh showed no expression as he took his seat on the right end of the bench, even as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. welcomed him. 

Midterm Elections Hold Ultimate Verdict on Kavanaugh
McConnell asserts confirmation process driving up Republican enthusiasm

Even before Saturday’s Senate vote made Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice, senators from both parties said voters soon would deliver the final verdict on President Donald Trump’s divisive appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, said the contentious debate about the confirmation process was driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm elections.

Kavanaugh Confirmation Solidifies Supreme Court Tilt to the Right
Bitterly divided chamber votes in rare Saturday session to end long fight

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday might close one of the Senate’s most bitter and divisive chapters, but the resulting discord is bound to reverberate for years at the high court, in the halls of Congress and at the ballot box.

The 50-48 vote gives President Donald Trump his second Supreme Court appointment in as many years and solidifies the court’s conservative tilt for decades. The confirmation battle at first raged over the court’s ideological balance, then turned to questions of temperament, truthfulness and how the Senate handled allegations of sexual misconduct in the “Me Too” era.

Few Clues on Key Votes on Kavanaugh’s Fate
McConnell and Republicans said they were trying to work out a mid-morning vote

A new FBI investigation and a full day for senators to read it did nothing to clarify what might happen Friday in the partisan ruckus over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans said they were trying to work out a mid-morning cloture vote on the nomination, but one was not officially announced when the Senate adjourned Thursday. The vote is expected to happen as early as 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Senators All Agree: Latest FBI Kavanaugh Probe Provides Little New
Senate Republicans are full speed ahead on vote on Supreme Court nomination

Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed Thursday on one thing about the FBI’s one-week supplemental background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — there wasn’t much new information there.

For Republican members of the Judiciary Committee such as Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the set of interviews done over the past week did not add any corroboration to allegations Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women decades ago.

Supreme Court Starts New Term in Shadow of Kavanaugh Uproar
High court begins term with 8 justices, a not-unfamiliar place for it

The Supreme Court started its new term Monday in the shadow of the dramatic confirmation showdown over nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a roiling political fight that leaves the high court shorthanded and equally divided on ideological grounds.

The slate of cases the justices set for oral arguments in October can’t compare to the interest in Kavanaugh, who is currently a federal appeals court judge. His nomination to the high court awaits action on the Senate floor this week, as soon as the FBI completes a supplemental background investigation of allegations he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

From Soft Certainty to Roaring Indignation, Kavanaugh Hearing Was Study in Contrasts
“This is not a good process, but it’s all we got,” Sen. Jeff Flake says

Senators got two irreconcilable accounts Thursday about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked a girl when he was in high school, setting up a pitched partisan showdown about whether that allegation and others that have surfaced this week are enough to derail his confirmation.

First, Christine Blasey Ford, in a soft but certain tone, told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth as he sexually attacked her at a high school gathering decades ago.

Senate Judiciary to Vote Friday on Kavanaugh Nomination
Decision came after nearly nine hours of testimony from nominee and accuser

Senate Republicans huddled privately late Thursday and will move forward with a Judiciary Committee vote Friday on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a seat on the Supreme Court, GOP senators leaving the meeting said.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said Republican senators have been told to prepare for a series of procedural votes on Saturday to allow a Monday cloture vote on the nomination.

Latest Kavanaugh Allegations Send Senate Into Chaos
Reactions vary from unwillingness to engage to angry defiance from GOP

As the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh swept through the Capitol, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it was reviewing the claims, even on the eve of a historic hearing on which the fate of his confirmation hangs.

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley told a horde of reporters that staff attorneys are reviewing the latest allegations, outlined in a graphic declaration sent to the panel from Julie Swetnick, who says Kavanaugh was present while she was gang raped at a high school party in 1982.

New Accuser Swetnick Says Brett Kavanaugh Lined Up for ‘Gang Rapes’
Lawyer Michael Avenatti produces sworn affidavit of woman on eve of high-stakes Judiciary hearing

GOP Mum on ‘Sex Crimes Prosecutor’ for Kavanaugh Hearing
Outside counsel remained an enigma just days before she will question Supreme Court nominee and accuser

As an extraordinary Senate hearing closes in, Republicans are keeping mum on who will question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who accuses him of sexual assault.

And they cranked up the pressure by scheduling a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday, less than 24 hours after the pair will testify.

Kavanaugh Undeterred by Sexual Assault Allegations
Trump and Senate Republicans stood by him Monday

President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans showed no signs of faltering in their support for embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who again insisted Monday that he wanted to clear his name at a public hearing this week after a second allegation of sexual misconduct emerged Sunday night.

As hundreds of protesters gathered at different spots on Capitol Hill to oppose his confirmation, Kavanaugh sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to say he would not withdraw his nomination and looks forward to the hearing set for Thursday. The federal appeals court judge characterized allegations of sexual misconduct against him as “smears, pure and simple.”

Twitter Battles Over Kavanaugh Nomination Roar
Social media fuels partisan fire

The political din over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination features the same kind of overheated rhetoric and partisanship of previous legendary confirmation fights. But this time, there is Twitter.

The preferred social media platform of President Donald Trump — the one that allows him to deliver his unfiltered message broadly and often shape the day’s media coverage — has introduced that same dynamic to the latest nomination for the high court, 280 characters at a time.

Kavanaugh Has Bumpy Week Ahead as Two More Women Come Forward
Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls for stop to the confirmation process

Updated 10:25 p.m. | The same day the Senate Judiciary Committee set a hearing about a decadesold allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, more allegations of sexual misdeeds from women in his past emerged to cause more turbulence for Republican efforts to make him a justice.

One woman told The New Yorker in an article Sunday that the federal appeals court judge sexually assaulted her at a college party in the 1980s. Separately, an attorney for another woman said his client had information about Kavanaugh’s behavior at parties at high school parties and wanted to testify as well.

Kavanaugh Accuser Commits to Thursday Testimony, Judiciary Committee Announces Hearing
Some questions remain unresolved ahead of potentially pivotal Thursday hearing

Christine Blasey Ford is now scheduled to testify Thursday morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The panel formally announced the rescheduling of the continued high court confirmation hearing Sunday afternoon. The hearing had been expected to continue Monday, but Ford’s lawyers have been in negotiations about timing with the committee’s Republican majority.

Kavanaugh Accuser Agrees to Talk to Senate Judiciary Committee
Christine Blasey Ford has accused nominee of sexually assaulting her decades ago

Christine Blasey Ford agreed Saturday to discuss with the Senate Judiciary Committee next week her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago.

In an email from Ford’s lawyers to Senate Judiciary Committee staff, Ford accepted the “request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct” but did not specify how she would do that. Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley offered to have Ford testify Wednesday in public or private, but also offered her a public or private interview.

Grassley Threatens Monday Kavanaugh Vote if Ford Does Not Testify
As negotiations over testimony continue, panel officially postpones hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed its hearing, set for Monday, that would have featured Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexually attacking her decades ago. And in a sign that Senate Republicans are playing hardball to get Ford to agree to their terms to testify, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination in the event there is no deal with Ford. 

The notice included no reschedule date and came out amid reports that the panel and Ford’s attorneys did not meet a panel-set 5 p.m. deadline to agree to terms.