As of Saturday morning, the most important question surrounding Brett Kavanaugh’s future as a Supreme Court justice — whether Christine Blasey Ford will testify about her allegations of sexual assault against him next week — was still up in the air.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had given Ford a deadline of 10 p.m. on Friday to decide whether she would appear; otherwise, he said, he would proceed with a committee vote on Monday. But after Ford’s attorney Debra Katz sent a strongly worded letter protesting the deadline as “arbitrary” and requesting that Grassley grant her client another 24 hours to think about it. Grassley acceded to her request — in part. CNN reported that the new deadline is 2:30 p.m. Saturday, though, as with previous ultimatums, that may be subject to change. On Friday night, Grassley tweeted out his frustration, seemingly addressing one of his messages directly to Kavanaugh.
Beyond the time line, Democratic and Republican senators are sparring over the structure of a possible hearing. Some Republicans, likely mindful of the media image all-male Judiciary Committee questioning Ford would produce, want an outside counsel to step in and question Ford for them, but the GOP is not united on the idea, and Democrats are pushing back. In the event that a hearing does take place, Ford would likely testify first, followed by Kavanaugh. Ford had requested the opposite order.
Ford and her lawyer had previously demanded that an FBI investigation in advance of her testimony, an idea that found little appetite beyond Democrats. But several Republicans, including key vote Susan Collins, have said that they want to hear from Ford, and have not seemed preoccupied with getting the whole thing over as quickly as possible.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell projected unshakable confidence, assuring the Values Voter Summit that “in the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.