Susan Collins’s Strong Speech
Sen. Susan Collins, the pro-choice moderate Republican from Maine, gave a great speech on the Senate floor, explaining at length why she intends to vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. In it, she does a terrific job of explaining her reasoning, demonstrating how much thought she has put into her vote.
As a pro-life conservative, I should note that I was discouraged by her lines saying why she has confidence that a Justice Kavanaugh would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade — discouraged, because I suspect that she’s correct. I can understand why liberals would not want to take that chance with him, but given a Republican president and a Republican Senate, I think somebody like Kavanaugh is the best they can hope for. I hope Sen. Collins’s faith in him on the abortion issue is misplaced, but I don’t think it will have been, in the end.
Most importantly, she showed why it is important that Kavanaugh’s nomination not go down under the weight of these spurious accusations. Here is the full text of the Collins speech. Excerpts:
Mr. President, I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life. Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred. None of the individuals Professor Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night. Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of perjury. Mark Judge denied under penalty of felony that he had witnessed an assault. PJ Smyth, another person allegedly at the party, denied that he was there under penalty of felony. Professor Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Keyser, indicated that under penalty of felony she does not remember that party. And Ms. Keyser went further. She indicated that not only does she not remember a night like that, but also that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh.
In addition to the lack of corroborating evidence, we also learned some facts that raised more questions. For instance, since these allegations have become public, Professor Ford testified that not a single person has contacted her to say I was at the party that night. Furthermore, the professor testified that although she does not remember how she got home that evening, she knew that because of the distance she would have needed a ride, yet not a single person has come forward to say that they were the one who drove her home or were in the car with her that night. And Professor Ford also indicated that, even though she left that small gathering of six or so people abruptly and without saying good-bye, and distraught, none of them called her the next day or ever to ask why she left, is she okay, not even her closest friend Ms. Keyser. Mr. President, the Constitution does not provide guidance on how we are supposed to evaluate these competing claims. It leaves that decision up to each senator. This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that the claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of more likely than not as our standard. The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time, but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.
Since the hearing I have listened to many survivors of sexual assault. Many were total strangers who told me their heart-wrenching stories for the first time in their lives. Some were friends that I had known for decades, yet with the exception of one woman who had confided in me years ago, I had no idea that they had been the victims of sexual attacks. I am grateful for their courage and their willingness to come forward, and I hope that in heightening public awareness, they have also lightened the burden that they have been quietly bearing for so many years. To them I pledge to do all that I can to ensure that their daughters and granddaughters never share their experiences. Over the past few weeks I have been emphatic that the Senate has an obligation to investigate and evaluate the serious allegations of sexual assault. I called for and supported the additional hearing to hear from both Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. I also pushed for and supported the FBI’s supplemental background investigation. This was the right thing to do.
Christine Ford never sought the spotlight. She indicated that she was terrified to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she has shunned attention since then. She seemed completely unaware of Chairman Grassley’s offer to allow her to testify confidentially in California. Watching her, Mr. President, I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being. Professor Ford testified that a very limited number of people had access to her letter, yet that letter found its way into the public domain. She testified that she never gave permission for that very private letter to be released and yet here we are. We are in the middle of a fight that she never sought, arguing about claims that she wanted to raise confidentially.
After this speech, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin signaled his intention to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Barring something unforeseen, Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed tomorrow.
Of course I am relieved by this outcome — not so much that Brett Kavanaugh is going to the Supreme Court, but that a nominee was not brought down by unsubstantiated, last-minute accusations, and media bullying, and that logic, evidence, and due process won the day. Even so, I don’t feel triumphalistic. I hope fellow conservatives like me who do not like President Trump and the way he conducts himself, and who have not been eager to vote Republican, or to vote at all, will remember on Election Day next month this vile liturgy orchestrated by the Democrats and their media allies. It demonstrated what we can expect from identity-politics liberalism in power.
I don’t think our country is going to be better off because of any of this, though. We will only be less worse off than we would have been had the Left won this clash by using these malicious tactics.