On September 16th, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford publicly alleged that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. In the last two weeks, debates about assault, justice, and power have dominated the news.
Other accusers have come forward: Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh, drunk, exposed himself to her at a party, and Julie Swetnick said she witnessed Kavanaugh participate in sexual misconduct, including gang rapes, in the early 1980s.
This week, Ford testified about her experience before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hours. Later, Kavanaugh testified and denied any inappropriate behavior. Meanwhile, citizens across the country reacted with alternating rage and joy; protesters marched on Capitol Hill and confronted their senators.
On Friday, Kavanaugh's confirmation seemed imminent. But as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepared to send Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Senate floor, protesters cornered Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) in an elevator. Flake, who had previously announced he'd support Kavanaugh, publicly wavered and called for a one-week delay and an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the allegations.
"Jeff said, 'I'm concerned that we are tearing the country apart,'" fellow Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) told CNN.
The White House has officially ordered a week-long investigation. The final date of the confirmation vote remains uncertain.
More From Pacific Standard on the Ford-Kavanaugh Hearings
- For Ford, Could the Senate Hearings Open Up Old Wounds?
- Should Trump Cut His Losses With Kavanaugh?
- Why Kavanaugh Should Welcome an FBI Investigation
- Kavanaugh Frequently Interrupted Female Senators on Thursday. That Doesn't Bode Well for His Supreme Court Conduct.
- There Are Best Practices for Interviewing Those Who Report Sex Crimes—And Thursday's Senate Hearing Followed None of Them
- The Troubling History of Rushed Supreme Court Confirmations