Buehler, Brown want U.S. Senate to slow Kavanaugh nomination
State Rep. Knute Buehler joined Gov. Kate Brown Thursday in calling for a halt to the U.S. Supreme Court nominating process for Brett Kavanaugh following a contentious, day-long hearing in Washington, D.C.
The GOP gubernatorial hopeful has previously declined to weigh in on the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. That changed after the hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee involving questioning of Kavanaugh and his principal accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
"Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have both presented compelling testimony," Buehler stated in an email to the Oregon Capital Bureau. "I believe there should be a FBI investigation before the Senate votes on the nomination."
Buehler, through a spokeswoman, declined to elaborate or answer direct questions. Through the week, as the scandal that has captivated the nation, some Oregon elected officials criticized Buehler for staying quiet.
Across the state, the hearing was closely watched and relevant as Kavanaugh's influence on the court could have large implications for Oregonians.
"My opponent has said that reproductive health care is settled law," Gov. Kate Brown said in an interview following the hearing. "I think it is really clear that if this appointee is confirmed, that is no longer the case. I think it is critically important when there are issues facing Oregonians."
The Kavanaugh hearing, and women's issues, have crept to the forefront of the governor's race, now shown to be neck-and-neck. Brown said with such intense interest in the nomination process, the governor — whomever it be following the November election — should "speak up."
On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, and Rep. Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, in a call with reporters, sounded off on Buehler's voting record involving women's issues, and his earlier silence on the Kavanaugh allegations.
"It's sometimes hard to believe that in 2018, our access to reproductive healthcare is still under attack," Fahey said. The legislators went on to poke at related statements Buehler made in the past, referencing an appearance he made on the Lars Larson radio show in May.
"I have a record in the Legislature of voting against Gov. Brown's efforts to expand access to abortion," Buehler said on the show. "Listen, I think we have other priorities where spending should go other than to expand access to abortion. We need to make abortion as rare as possible and that's a goal I think lots of us can share."
A 'clear contrast'
During Thursday's hearing, Buehler's campaign pushed out on social media ads featuring women, including one about women's reproductive health.
On Monday, Brown joined dozens of legislators in a walk-out of the Capitol with dozens of legislators, mostly women. Then, and again on Thursday, she said she believes Ford and the other women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting them.
"I found her completely credible and compelling," Brown said of Ford's testimony. "I opposed this nominee prior to this investigation, because I think we need Supreme Court justices that reflect Oregon values and American civil rights."
Like Buehler, Brown called again for the nomination process to be put on hold to allow the FBI to investigate the sexual assault claims.
Senate Republicans said Thursday evening they were scheduling a Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation Friday, Sept. 28. Republicans control the committee 11 to 10.
"I personally, if I were in their shoes, I would want more information," Brown said. "I think it would be a travesty of justice if they moved forward on this."
The gubernatorial candidates joined the bulk of Oregon's congressional delegation in weighing in on the issue. Immediately following the hearing, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement that Ford was the most credible witness he could imagine. "Brett Kavanaugh's testimony demonstrated he lacks both the judgment and the temperament Americans expect from a Supreme Court Justice," Wyden said. "The best that can be said of his testimony is that it was strikingly evasive. The clear contrast between these two witnesses — one composed individual who gave thorough answers based on a clear recollection of her trauma, and another who repeatedly dodged questions — will be seared into Americans' memories for generations."
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said Wednesday he intended to seek a federal court injunction to halt the nomination process. "The events of the past 10 days have only underscored how critical it is that the Senate conduct a careful and comprehensive review of a nominee before giving its consent," Merkley said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer tweeted about the hearing throughout Thursday, condemning Senate Republicans for pushing Kavanaugh's nomination. "As if we needed more evidence: Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court," Blumenauer tweeted.
The Oregon Capital Bureau could not find a record of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, the lone Republican in Oregon's congressional delegation, addressing Kavanaugh's nomination. A request for comment was not immediately returned.