Speed Reads


Joe Biden's call for Kavanaugh confirmation delay evokes Anita Hill hearing

Lawmakers and advocates are calling to delay Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote amid a sexual assault allegation, and former Vice President Joe Biden has just thrown his very qualified voice into the mix.

Christine Ford came forward Sunday to publicly allege that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were both in high school in the 1980s. She has since said she's willing to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged incident. The situation is starting to look a lot like Justice Clarence Thomas' Senate confirmation hearing — a hearing Biden was in charge of and later admitted to mishandling.

In 1991, an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee ruthlessly questioned law professor Anita Hill as she described sexual harassment from Thomas while they worked together, CNN's Joan Biskupic explains. Biden was the committee's chairman at the time, and the Los Angeles Times reported at the time that Biden had agreed to a compromise with Republicans that prevented a witness from testifying to corroborate Hill's claims. Biden acknowledged in a 2017 Teen Vogue interview that he hadn't done right by Hill, saying, "I owe her an apology."

In a Monday statement on the Kavanaugh allegations, Biden called for a "fair and respectful hearing of [Ford's] allegations" and a "thorough and nonpartisan effort to get to the truth, wherever it leads."

Democrats on and off the committee were advocating for a delay of Kavanaugh's confirmation vote even before Ford put her name on a letter detailing the alleged attack. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined them Sunday, increasing the likelihood that the committee's vote will stall until Ford testifies.