The Senate should consider who Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “today,” even if allegations that he attempted to rape a woman in high school are found to be credible, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Monday.
“If that was true, I think it would be hard for senators to not consider who the judge is today,” Hatch told reporters at the Capitol. “That’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.”
Hatch spoke to reporters Monday after a phone call with Kavanaugh. During the call, Hatch said Kavanaugh told him he was not at the party where his accuser, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, now 51, said Kavanaugh attempted to rape her.
It is not clear what party Kavanaugh is referring to, as Ford told the Washington Post she doesn’t remember the details of the party, including the exact date, though she believes it occurred in early 1982.
“There’s some question whether she’s mixed up,” Hatch told reporters.
Asked whether it was possible Kavanaugh was the one who was mixed up, Hatch said, “How do I know? All I know is that he’s a very smart guy. A good guy. He has an excellent reputation.”
Hatch was also asked if it was possible Kavanaugh was simply too drunk to remember the party, as Ford claimed Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk” at the time of the alleged attack. Hatch said Monday that Kavanaugh had claimed that was not true.
Do you allow for the possibility that he was so inebriated that he didn't remember being at the party?
"He said that's not true," Hatch says of Kavanaugh
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) September 17, 2018
Additionally, Hatch said Monday that he felt badly for Kavanaugh.
“All I can say is he’s denied this, and I feel bad that this is happening to him,” the senator said. “He said this did not happen. He’s naturally very upset about it.”
Hatch would not state whether he believed the vote should be delayed, saying that was up to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). As of Monday afternoon, four Republican senators — Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) — have said they believe the vote should be delayed.
Ford first spoke publicly about her alleged experience with Kavanaugh in an interview with the Washington Post Monday. She said Kavanaugh and a friend, both in high school at the time, corralled her into a bedroom, and Kavanaugh forced himself on her. He then tried to remove her clothing and put his hand over her mouth when she started to scream, she told the Post.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she said in the interview.
Hatch, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, is retiring at the end of this term. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is currently on the ballot in Utah to replace him.