Heinrich Delivers Speech On Kavanaugh's Nomination To The Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) spoke out against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court. In a speech delivered on the Senate Floor today, Senator Heinrich outlined the issues at stake and urged his colleagues to oppose his nomination.

VIDEO: Heinrich Delivers Floor Speech On Kavanaugh's Nomination To The Supreme Court

Senator Heinrich's remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

I am deeply saddened that the words I am about to deliver even need to be said.

But I have to ask.

How can we possibly continue to move forward-or in the Majority Leader's own words, "plow right through"-to confirm a lifetime appointment to our nation's Supreme Court in the wake of both credible allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and serious questions concerning his judicial temperament?

Republicans are ignoring very real questions about his credibility and are intent on hiding his record. 

Even worse, they are in such a rush that most of them did not even want the FBI to reopen Judge Kavanaugh's background check to help us get to the bottom of all this.

And when the FBI did reopen the investigation, the White House limited in its scope so much that it did not follow multiple credible leads.

Now, we as senators have barely 24 hours to review their findings before scrambling to a vote.

As the whole nation watches, what message is the United States Senate sending to our children, to women, to victims of sexual assault about the values that we stand for? 

Do they not matter?

Is this the society we want our sons and our daughters to grow up in?

We all know, full well, the weight of who fills this deciding vote on our nation's highest court.

Whoever we confirm as our next Supreme Justice will decide cases of major importance that shape the daily lives of Americans for decades to come.

But this is not a time for simply thinking about the judicial ideologies that we believe should shape opinions from the bench. 

I have already made it clear that I oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination based on the substance of his views and the broken process being used to rush his nomination through the Senate on a partisan basis.

From the very start, Republicans have pushed this nomination through at a breakneck pace, hiding from the public Judge Kavanaugh's record and the dangerous consequences of his extreme views on many important issues.

That willful blindness, the absence of a thorough vetting process, and the mad dash to hastily confirm their nominee at all costs before this fall's election has led us to the crisis we face today.

This has now become an even more fundamental test of how seriously we as senators take our duty of advice and consent on enormously consequential presidential appointments.

Multiple women have come forward publicly to accuse Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

While we will never be able to adjudicate these allegations in the same way as a criminal proceeding, we have an obligation to weigh these accusations carefully and seriously as we consider Judge Kavanaugh's fitness to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. 

I, for one--after reviewing all the information we have, and after listening to the testimony last week before the Judiciary Committee--have to say, clearly and forcefully, that I believe Dr. Ford.

When a victim of sexual assault comes forward to make a harrowing allegation like this, it takes tremendous courage and needs to be taken seriously. 

Under incredible duress, and at great personal cost, Dr. Ford came forward to share the painful details of how Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her while she was in high school.

I don't know how anybody watching her testimony could question her sincerity and the seriousness of her experience.

But Republicans seem to be following President Trump's lead and are choosing to jeer and dismiss Dr. Ford rather than take her testimony seriously.

As I have said before, all of the sexual assault allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh deserve a thorough, professional investigation by the FBI before proceeding with any vote on his nomination to the highest court in the land.

So I was relieved when my good friend, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona spoke up to call for a delay to seek an FBI investigation.

Unfortunately, once again, the rush to get to a predetermined outcome has undermined the integrity of this process.

Dr. Ford told us that she was absolutely willing to participate in an FBI investigation to get to the bottom of Judge Kavanaugh's alleged assault.

But, according to her, she was not even interviewed by the FBI as part of the reopened investigation.

The FBI did interview another accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who has alleged that Judge Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during their freshman year at Yale.

However, dozens of others sought to bring evidence forward, and the FBI ignored their willingness to offer testimony.

Again, key witnesses-including Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford-were not even interviewed.

The FBI was so constrained by the White House in this matter that I would not call this an investigation.

This is unjust.

This sends a harrowing message to women and girls all around the nation who have been victims of sexual violence.

We must not toss aside a fair and impartial process in favor a hurried political endgame.

Before we take one of the most consequential votes any of us will ever take, shouldn't we all want to get to the bottom of this?

Even beyond what we could learn from a real investigation, there is already reason to doubt Judge Kavanaugh's credibility and his candor.

Despite the fact that the White House tried to limit the scope of the FBI's work -- so drastically that I wouldn't even characterize it an investigation -- the FBI's report still manages to raise very serious questions about Judge Kavanaugh's truthfulness.

During his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh began by misleading the Senate on small things.

He misled the Senate on consequential questions about his time in the Bush White House.

And last week, when faced with serious questions about the sexual assault allegations and questions about his character, Judge Kavanaugh dodged, dismissed, and ranted.

He was not able to refute the serious accusations leveled against him, and neither did the FBI report.

And based on what we have heard since from people who knew him at the time, there is substantial reason to believe he was not being truthful about his conduct.

If Dr. Ford's testimony is the truth--and I believe it is--then Judge Kavanaugh should be disqualified from serving on the Supreme Court.

Once again, I fully acknowledge the stakes of this nomination.

I understand how much my Republican colleagues want to appoint someone they agree with on important issues that may come before the Court.

But we cannot--and we should not--rush to confirm a man to a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land under such a dark cloud of credible allegations.

Not to such a critical seat at such a critical time.

Last week's hearing should have been the beginning of looking into this serious allegation, not the end.

If there is nothing to hide, and if there is information that would exonerate Judge Kavanaugh from the accusations that have been leveled against him, and cleared his name, then a real, in-depth investigation would help us reach those conclusions.

Instead, Republicans continue to rush this process and press forward with a predetermined set of conclusions.

It makes one wonder if my Republican colleagues actually want to know the truth.

We cannot allow these allegations to be swept under the rug.

The message that would send to victims of sexual assault and abuse would be devastating.

It would say to them that even if they come forward, there will be no justice...that they will be ignored...or worse yet mocked.

All people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background should have the same right to live free from domestic and sexual violence. 

I am truly stunned that we are moving forward with this confirmation vote.

If we can't press pause to make sure we get this right, the institution of the Supreme Court will lose the public's faith as an embodiment of justice.

So I will ask one more time, what are we doing here?

Can't we do better than this?

I believe we must.

The integrity of the highest court in the land hangs in the balance.

What we stand for as a nation hangs in the balance.