Donnelly Will Vote No On Kavanaugh Nomination
By Janet Williams
INDIANAPOLIS—U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, facing a difficult re-election fight, said Friday that he will vote no on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Donnelly’s office released a statement as the Senate Judiciary Committee began voting on whether to confirm Kavanaugh, an appellate judge who has been accused of sexually assaulting a young woman at a drunken party when both were teenagers.
“I have deep reservations about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to this lifetime position and, as I stated, we have been unable to get all the information necessary regarding this nomination, despite my best efforts,” Donnelly said in a written statement. “Only 113 people have ever served on the Supreme Court, and I believe that we must do our level best to protect its sanctity.”
Friday’s 11-to-10 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate followed the testimony of the judge and the woman who leveled the assault accusations against him, Christine Blasey Ford.
“As I have made clear before, sexual assault has no place in our society,” Donnelly said. “When it does occur, we should listen to the survivors and work to ensure it never happens again. That should not be a partisan issue.”
Donnelly, a Democrat, called the accusations against Kavanaugh disturbing and credible, adding that he believes they should be investigated by the FBI. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has refused to allow an investigation, Donnelly said.
“Even the American Bar Association, which has previously rated Judge Kavanaugh as ‘well qualified’ has called for an FBI investigation, where we could learn more information and other potential witnesses could be interviewed,” Donnelly said.
“I do not view Supreme Court vacancies through a partisan lens, which is why I have used the same thorough process to evaluate nominees regardless of who the president is at the time. That was the case regarding the nomination of Judge (Merrick) Garland and also when I voted for Justice (Neil) Gorsuch, who was President Trump’s first nominee. It has remained my approach with Judge Kavanaugh.”
Donnelly was referring to the nomination of Merrick Garland, an appellate judge who was nominated to the high court by then-President Barack Obama. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider Garland’s nomination. Donnelly voted yes on the Neil Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court.
Donnelly’s Republican challenger, Mike Braun, was quick to blast the incumbent for his decision to vote against the Kavanaugh nomination and affirmed his strong support for the embattled Supreme Court nominee.
“This entire process has been an embarrassment to our democracy as Hoosiers watched firsthand how Sen. Donnelly’s liberal colleagues used uncorroborated allegations to create a media circus designed to smear and destroy Judge Kavanaugh’s reputation,” Braun said in a news release.
“Donnelly’s decision to oppose President Trump’s highly qualified nominee is a grave mistake, but proves he is more concerned with standing with his liberal Democrat leaders than standing for Hoosiers,” Braun added.
Indiana’s other senator, Republican Todd Young, issued a statement Thursday saying he watched the hearing and remained convinced that Kavanaugh is a man of integrity and that he planned to vote yes on the nomination.
FOOTNOTE: Janet Williams is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.