National Politics

Tim Scott says his ‘heart breaks for Dr. Ford,’ but he will vote for Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Capitol.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks to reporters as he arrives at the Capitol. AP

Tim Scott has made up his mind.

The U.S. Senator from South Carolina said Monday he will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as justice to the Supreme Court.

The Republican made one caveat to his statement in support of Kavanaugh. Scott, the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate, said “barring the discovery of any new information by the FBI investigation, I plan to vote for Brett Kavanaugh.”

Before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, when Scott said he supported the judge but could change his mind, McClatchy reported.

That did not happen.

“This is not an easy decision, but the available evidence leads me to it,” Scott said in his statement. “Even though this was not a criminal trial, I believe the freedoms granted by the constitution regarding proving guilt must still apply.”

Kavanaugh denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teens, The Associated Press reported. He has also denied accusations from Deborah Ramirez and Julia Swetnick.

The junior senator from South Carolina came to his decision after getting feedback from “female friends.”

“I have heard from so many female friends of mine over the past two weeks telling me their stories — things they might not ever have shared if we were not facing the current situation. There is no doubt that many women have been fearful, ashamed, humiliated, angry, or have had many other emotions that have led them to not tell their stories,” Scott said in his statement. “I will never blame a victim for feeling this way — we should be supporting those who have been traumatized instead of constantly trying to tear them down.”

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In this Sept. 4, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Scott’s support of Kavanaugh aligns him with Lindsey Graham. But his fellow Republican Senator from South Carolina has been loudly campaigning for the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nomination to the highest court in the nation.

Graham has called the process “the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” and told Kavanaugh “I hope you’re on the Supreme Court ... That’s exactly where you belong,” according to McClatchy.

With his statement Monday, Scott has voiced as much support for Kavanaugh. But he has taken a different approach.

“The past few weeks have been gut-wrenching for our nation, and the Ford and Kavanaugh families,” Scott said in his statement. “... My heart breaks for Dr. Ford as she obviously still confronts a trauma that occurred while she was a teenager. However, none of the evidence we have points to Brett Kavanaugh as guilty of these crimes.”

Kavanaugh’s confirmation depends on the support of a small group of Republican and Democratic senators who have not made their votes public. Scott is no longer a member of that group.

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday night. Born in Washington, D.C., Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since 2006.

Senator Tim Scott statement on Kavanaugh nomination

“The past few weeks have been gut-wrenching for our nation, and the Ford and Kavanaugh families. We continue to confront how we can move forward as a society after looking the other way as women have been mistreated and abused for generations, and how that interacts with available evidence and the ability to determine culpability for past actions.

I have heard from so many female friends of mine over the past two weeks telling me their stories – things they might not ever have shared if we were not facing the current situation. There is no doubt that many women have been fearful, ashamed, humiliated, angry, or have had many other emotions that have led them to not tell their stories. I will never blame a victim for feeling this way – we should be supporting those who have been traumatized instead of constantly trying to tear them down. That has been occurring for decades, and we must look inward as a nation to both help create a society where women feel safe enough to share their stories and change our culture that has led to these heinous events occurring in the first place. We must learn from our past in order to build a safer future.

Part of learning from our past is doing everything we can to find the truth. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford offered compelling testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I commend her courage in coming before the world. Judge Brett Kavanaugh strongly denies the claims brought against him, leaving us in a situation where evidence is absolutely critical to determining what happened in this specific situation.

What the evidence shows us is that none of the witnesses provided by Dr. Ford can corroborate her story, or even basic events of the night in question. We also have an expert who has been prosecuting sex crimes for 25 years stating that ‘I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.’

My heart breaks for Dr. Ford as she obviously still confronts a trauma that occurred while she was a teenager. However, none of the evidence we have points to Brett Kavanaugh as guilty of these crimes. Any lawyer will tell you that she said-he said situations are some of the hardest and most painful cases to review, and that remains true here.

An FBI investigation is an important step, and should be completed. Barring the discovery of any new information by the FBI investigation, I plan to vote for Brett Kavanaugh. This is not an easy decision, but the available evidence leads me to it. Even though this was not a criminal trial, I believe the freedoms granted by the constitution regarding proving guilt must still apply.”

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