Brett Kavanaugh will not be able to sail through a Supreme Court nomination this week as Republicans had previously hoped: On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hear testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of attempted rape when he was 17 and she was 15, alongside testimony from Kavanaugh himself.
What that hearing will look like is still being decided, according to comments made by Chuck Grassey, Iowa’s senior Republican senator and chairman of the committee, during a Tuesday interview on conservative talk radio. Ford, as of this writing, has not confirmed her participation, according to Grassley: “I would surely hope she’d come Monday. She’s surely prepared. She hired a lawyer, I understand, back in August,” Grassley said, in what appeared to be an effort to build pressure around Republicans’ preferred timeline.
“Our staff reached out to Dr. Ford’s lawyer with multiple emails yesterday to schedule a similar call and inform her of the upcoming hearing, where she will have the opportunity to share her story with the Committee. Her lawyer has not yet responded,” an aide to Grassley said, reiterating the same timeline, in a statement to CBS on Tuesday.
But, as the confirmation hearings highlight both how much and how little has changed for women since the Senate Judiciary Committee smeared Anita Hill in 1991, the outcry has thrown off what Republicans had hoped would be a tight turnaround to push through their nominee.
As the Daily Intelligencer points out, it is looking increasingly unlikely that Republicans will be able to confirm Kavanaugh before October 1, the beginning of the next Supreme Court term, meaning that he would not weigh in on cases in which he did not hear the oral arguments. Then, in late October, Republicans will be in the final weeks of their midterm campaigns, many of them in tight races as Democrats expect a blue wave in reaction to Donald Trump.
It’s unclear what, if anything, the hearings will mean for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. We have seen women’s warnings go ignored before, and Ford herself had been reluctant to come forward out of a sense of inevitability around the vote. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she told the Washington Post. She may be about to find out.