- Both Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, and Christine Blasey Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
- Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.
- Deborah Ramirez has also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in college.
- Kavanaugh is a deeply divisive nominee – a new poll found that more Americans oppose his nomination (43%) than support it (38%).
- Here’s where you can watch the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings live, or follow along with Business Insider’s live blog.
Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, and Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who has accused the judge of sexual misconduct, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
After opening statements from Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, Ford and Kavanaugh will deliver their opening statements.
The questioning will be separate, with Ford going first. Senators can also yield the five minutes they’re each allotted to an independent counsel to have that person ask the questions.
Grassley said on Tuesday that he hired Rachel Mitchell, a career prosecutor experienced in handling sex crimes, to question both Kavanaugh and Ford. A committee vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
As the blockbuster hearing is likely to gather a lot of attention, most news organisations and major networks will broadcast it live on TV or online.
Watch the livestream below:
A deeply divisive nomination
Ford, now a professor of psychology, says Kavanaugh locked her in a room, forced himself on her, groped her, and covered her mouth to mask her screams during a house party when she was 15 and he was 17.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegation.
In a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, conducted Saturday through Monday, nearly 60% of respondents said they planned to follow the proceedings closely. The poll also found that about a third of Americans – 32% – said they believe Ford, 26% said they believe Kavanaugh, and 42% said they weren’t sure who to believe.
There was a 19-point gender gap in the responses. Just 20% of women who responded to the survey said they believe Kavanaugh and 35% said they believe Ford, while 32% of men said they believe the judge and 28% said they believe Ford.
Most respondents (60%) said that if Kavanaugh did indeed assault Ford, he should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Fifty-four per cent of respondents who identified as Republican said the judge should be confirmed even if the allegations of sexual misconduct are true.
The poll found that public opinion is markedly more supportive of the accuser in this case than it was in 1991, when the law professor Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court nominee at the time, of sexual harassment in the workplace. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee then too, in a highly publicized spectacle.
Overall, more Americans surveyed said they oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination (43%) than support it (38%).
Deborah Ramirez has also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in college.
Kavanaugh has denied both women’s allegations, describing them in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday as “smears, pure and simple” and “grotesque and obvious character assassination.”
During a Monday interview with Fox News, he said he wouldn’t “speculate about motives.”
“I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford, at some point in her life, was sexually assaulted by someone in some place,” Kavanaugh said. “But what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any time in my life.”
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