WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor to reiterate his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Blunt also addressed the manner in which some Democrats on the Judiciary Committee and their staff have mishandled allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh.
Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, my colleague just talked about standing up for the Senate, standing up for the values that traditionally have been our values. One of those principle values has been innocent until proven guilty. … What we've seen happen here in the last week is something that didn't need to happen, certainly in the way it happened. The hearing, the hours of questions, the picking through apart those answers at leisure. We’ve seen all of that, but you know what would have happened if we’d have followed this process the right way. Now, hard to do when a significant majority of the committee says that they're against the nominee before he has the hearing and several senators say they're against the nominee before he's even nominated, no matter who the nominee would be. But the normal background check that would have occurred, if the information that was available to the committee, to Democrats and their staff, would have been turned over at the time, how would they have handled that? How would the FBI have handled that on July 30th or August 30th or any other date? They would have handled that by going and talking to the people involved, Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh would have been interviewed by the FBI. The people they mentioned that the FBI should also talk to would have been interviewed by the FBI. That would have been put in the file. The material could have been presented to the committee, as it should have been. They could have pursued, with Judge Kavanaugh's private hearing, they were willing to talk about baseball tickets at the private hearing. They could have pursued in the private hearing, here's what's in this file. What do you have to say about that? Dr. Ford, as she said she wanted to be, would have been kept anonymous in that process. There would have been no reason, unless the committee would have decided to do what somebody on that committee did, to use her name, to bring this into a major public confrontation. This could have been handled in another way. Her letter, her personal trauma could have been handled in a way that it wasn't. In fact, it couldn’t have been handled more poorly or politically by some in the minority or their staff than it was.
“Only after the hearing had ended, after the original hearings had ended, only after it was obvious that Judge Kavanaugh, in my view it was obvious, had the votes to be confirmed, then suddenly these unverifiable charges were made public by the Democrats on the committee and their staff. Now, Mr. President, I work hard to find agreement with my colleagues in the Senate of both parties. I've been the principal Republican sponsor or the principal Republican cosponsor on legislation with all but four of the Democrats of the Senate. So I do my best to find the areas we can agree on. …
“[W]hat we have with this nomination is a new principle. I find the guilty-until-proven-innocent conduct by some of our colleagues totally unacceptable. It is not who we are. It cannot become the new standard. I heard somebody say at a meeting this week, well, if these charges are out there, that person will always be impacted when there’s a case before the court that might possibly involve those charges. That cannot be how we pursue the future. We cannot pursue the future thinking that if you're charged with something, you're somehow, from that point on, unable to do the job that you're eminently qualified for.
“You know, we have a person here who has 300 court of appeals opinions on the most challenging court of appeals in the country. More than a dozen of those, almost accepted word for word by the Supreme Court. There is plenty to determine judicial temperament. There is plenty to determine whether a judge can do what the judge is supposed to do. Now, unless later today somehow we see something that is highly unlikely, based on all the things already out there, I intend to vote for Judge Kavanaugh.
“I don't think he would have said, ‘I categorically and unequivocally didn't do this or anything like it’ regarding the specific charge if he had. That was not necessary. You wouldn't have to say that about conduct over three decades ago. You could say all kinds of other things, but here is a lawyer whose legal capacity has never been challenged. He would not have had to make that unequivocal statement if there was any reason to be concerned about that statement. He says he didn't do it. Everybody else who was asked if they saw it happen, who was mentioned, says they didn't see it. I believe something traumatic did happen to Dr. Ford. I don't believe it involved Judge Kavanaugh. With the obvious specific three decades later memory of the person involved, you can actually believe, with that exception, you can believe that both of them are telling the truth. I join Judge Kavanaugh's daughter in praying for Dr. Ford and her family, and I also think we should all pray for Judge Kavanaugh and his family.
“This is an issue that got totally out of hand. It's an issue that got well beyond the bounds of what we believe in our country. It's an issue that we can't let begin to determine the future way we do these things. Otherwise anybody is subject, you cannot have, you cannot have guilty until proven innocent. You cannot have … innocent until nominated as the standard for the country. We cannot let this go forward that way. Some relationships here, and important ones to me and others, are going to take a little while to restore. But we'll have to restore them. There aren't enough of us to walk away from each other and say we cannot possibly move forward working with you. I intend to continue to work with my colleagues. But I also intend to continue to stand up for the fundamental values of fairness that this country has always held most dear. We need to do that this week with this nomination as well.”