Rep. Lieu: Congress has to step in on allegations against Brett Kavanaugh

September 23, 2018
Opinion: Op-Eds
'As a former prosecutor, I believe Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. '

Congress needs to step in, now

There are now multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and a client of Michael Avenatti. It is possible other women will step forward. A president who cared about the facts would order an FBI investigation, just as President George H.W. Bush did for the Anita Hill hearings. But because the executive branch is not interested in the truth, Congress must step in. 

The disturbing allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, if true, are not just disqualifying for a Supreme Court nominee; they are disqualifying for a sitting federal judge. The House Judiciary Committee — where all impeachment proceedings originate — must open an investigation into these allegations to determine whether Kavanaugh should keep his current job or whether there are grounds for impeachment.

As a former prosecutor, I believe Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. Victims of sexual assault are among the least likely crime victims to come forward because of the social and emotional costs of reporting. The despicable way the college professor has been threatened and attacked demonstrates exactly why more victims don’t report sexual crimes. Ramirez, like Ford, came forward with allegations against Kavanaugh despite knowing her personal life would be upended. Their bravery is commendable and, at minimum, we in Congress owe them an investigation.

A thorough investigation is fair not only to the victims but also to Kavanaugh. It ensures that Congress, as well as the public, has as much information as possible about a sitting federal judge. Republicans seem to intentionally ignore the fact that an investigation — where witnesses are interviewed, statements are taken, and evidence is gathered — could exonerate Judge Kavanaugh, who has vehemently denied the multiple accusations.

We don’t yet know how the multiple sexual misconduct allegations will impact Kavanaugh’s nomination. But the desire by Republicans to ram this nomination through, despite serious questions of Kavanaugh’s moral character, should give every American pause.

Even if he is not confirmed, he will still be making decisions critical to American life in his current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals. The House Judiciary Committee has the power and authority to determine Kavanaugh’s suitability to serve as a federal judge at all. We should.