Richard J Durbin

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

Eric E. Murphy, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, introduces his wife, Michelle, and daughters Isabelle, 7, right, and Grace, 9, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes his way through the Capitol for a TV interview before the vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

From Soft Certainty to Roaring Indignation, Kavanaugh Hearing Was Study in Contrasts
“This is not a good process, but it’s all we got,” Sen. Jeff Flake says

Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday as, from left, Sens. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, listen during the hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Senators got two irreconcilable accounts Thursday about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked a girl when he was in high school, setting up a pitched partisan showdown about whether that allegation and others that have surfaced this week are enough to derail his confirmation.

First, Christine Blasey Ford, in a soft but certain tone, told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth as he sexually attacked her at a high school gathering decades ago.

6 Takeaways from Kavanaugh’s Combative Testimony
‘I liked beer. I still like beer,’ defiant nominee tells Judiciary Committee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He often jousted with Democratic members. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was backed into a corner by the Thursday testimony of one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. He sat in the same chair about an hour after she vacated it with one mission: To fight back, just like the man who nominated him, President Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh wasted no time in an opening statement he said he wrote himself on Wednesday, ripping into Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee members in a way perhaps no high court nominee ever has. His gloves-off approach could change the judicial confirmation process forever.

After Angry Beginning for Kavanaugh, Senators Duke It Out Over Process
Emotional Supreme Court nominee alleges conspiracy, Democrats circle back to Ford testimony

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 27, 2018. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

An emotional Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after berating the Senate Judiciary Committee for “destroying” his name, said he would support a FBI investigation into the charges about alleged sexual misconduct.

“Senator, I’ll do whatever the committee wants. I wanted a hearing the next day,” he said of claims made by the first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. “Instead, 10 days passed.”

Under Questioning, Ford Recalls Kavanaugh ‘Having Fun at My Expense’
Accuser says she struggled academically, still has claustrophobia

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee she experienced anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-like symptoms after what she says was a sexual assault carried out by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I struggled academically,” she told ranking member Dianne Feinstein, adding she also had problems having relationships with males when she arrived at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to begin her undergraduate studies.

Key Moments from Ford and Kavanaugh Testimony
Cornyn says Judiciary Committee still plans to vote Friday on Supreme Court nominee

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh refutes the allegations against him in his testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/POOL)

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard Thursday from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the nominee of sexual assault when they were both in high school in the 1980s.

Ford testified earlier in the day that she was “100 percent” that Kavanaugh was the boy who pinned her to a bed, putting a hand over her mouth to muffle screams, and tried to pull her clothes off before she was able to escape.

Latest Kavanaugh Allegations Send Senate Into Chaos
Reactions vary from unwillingness to engage to angry defiance from GOP

Dozens of protesters, including many sexual assault survivors, demonstrate against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh swept through the Capitol, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it was reviewing the claims, even on the eve of a historic hearing on which the fate of his confirmation hangs.

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley told a horde of reporters that staff attorneys are reviewing the latest allegations, outlined in a graphic declaration sent to the panel from Julie Swetnick, who says Kavanaugh was present while she was gang raped at a high school party in 1982.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Kavanaugh Accuser Would Testify Publicly, Attorney Says
White House issues new statement standing by Supreme Court nominee

Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, testifies before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 6. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A California professor who claims a “stumbling drunk” Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school would testify publicly if asked by Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, her attorney said Monday.

Christine Blasey Ford, 51, says she instantly thought Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a party in the early 1980s after he and a friend corralled her in a bedroom and the Supreme Court nominee pinned her to a bed and groped her over a one-piece bathing suit. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.